I can attest. I'm not a pleasant person to be around if food isn't involved.
My mom would have to bribe me with Burger King chicken fries and Wendy’s frosties when I was younger. She knew there was no way I’d run errands with her if I didn’t have a snack of some sort.
Did I take advantage of the situation? Yep.
Thankfully, fast food trips aren’t on my agenda these days.
Let’s be real. Hangriness brings out the worst in us. It causes us to fade away, say things we don’t mean, and reach for foods we wouldn’t otherwise have.
It’s not entirely our fault. Cooking is a preference… processed goods are scientifically addictive… and convenience stores are purposefully convenient.
Even on your most hectic days, you can apply these simple tactics during your clear aligner program.
Solution #1: Keep Inventory of What’s in Your Food Cabinets and Replenish Often
Stock up on high-protein, high-fiber staple pantry items. Think: Raw cashews, almond butter or sunflower seed butter, granola, and roasted chickpeas. Avoid overly sugary and salty combinations as they won’t curb your hunger for long. Such as dried fruit, dehydrated jerky, microwavable popcorn, and pudding cups.
If you want to have some fun in the kitchen, try your hand at making DIY snack boxes.
I like to make my own spin on a dairy-free parfait with cashewmilk yogurt, fruit (such as banana, blueberries, and strawberries), cacao nibs, unsweetened shredded coconut, and granola. Sweet, salty, savory. Play around with the flavors and textures that appeal to your taste buds. Also, know your limits. Your teeth are moving and will therefore be sore at times.
Two 48-count packs of these 2-compartment Tupperware sets from BJ’s cost less than $20. That would only buy you two assorted snack trays from Starbucks. Meaning you’ll be spending less and saving more.
Solution #2: Spot the Gaps in Your Day When Meals and Snacks Aren’t Accounted For
Do you know what you’re having for breakfast? What about dinner? Letting moods and feelings dictate your food choices provides wiggle room for to-go orders and drive-thru desperation.
Start off by keeping meal prep notes on a sticky note or develop your own log using an old journal. I’ve been keeping a log in my phone since the beginning of COVID-19!
Screenshot of meal prep notes in my phone — one week out.
Solution #3: Anticipate the Unexpected and Always Overpack
I would rather have indecisiveness about what I want to eat, than be left without any options for several hours.
Whether I’m at a coffee shop or remote office space, I always carry around what I like to call my “reserve” snacks. All of these products are dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and tolerable on days when my teeth are aching from the aligners.
They can be stored in tiny mason jars and small containers for easy access when you’re in a rush to get out of the house. The cashewmilk yogurt is the only product which needs to be refrigerated.
Solution #4: Reserve Snacks - Alyssa’s Healthy Oatmeal Bites
Soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and refined-sugar free. It amazes me that these bad boys meet all of my dietary restrictions.
Solution #5: Reserve Snacks - Catalina Crunch Keto Cereal
A wonderful snack with or without milk. Their maple waffle flavor tastes exactly like a stack of pancakes.
Solution #6: Reserve Snacks - Forager Project Cashewmilk Yogurt
Add raw honey and cinnamon to their unsweetened plain or vanilla bean flavors for a healthy (yet indulgent) treat.
Solution #7: Reserve Snacks - Purely Elizabeth Granola
So far, I haven't met a Purely Elizabeth granola cluster that I didn't like.
Solution #8: Reserve Snacks - That's It Mini Fruit Bars
Have to give credit to my husband for the great find. We're always on the hunt for low-sugar, all-natural bars.
When it comes to food, clear aligners should in no way prevent you from enjoying what’s in front of you. Planning ahead IS achievable. I personally think I’ve become more organized and resourceful as a result of having clear aligners.
Remember, you’ve got this.