I am a food snob: I learned my lesson at the theme park... plan ahead and bring a cooler!
This past Labor Day weekend was beautiful here in the Midwest, 80 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in the sky in fact. It was truly a perfect weekend. So what do us Midwesterners do on such a weekend at the close of summer?We go to Cedar Point of course! I myself am a thrill seeker. I love roller coasters, scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing, and I would even be open to considering sky diving too. I don’t get that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach while waiting in line to get on the latest and greatest, tallest and fastest coasters. Going from 0 to 120 mph in 4 seconds, soaring 420 feet into the sky and back down, twisting and turning, never knowing which way you are headed next... call me nuts, but that is so freaking exciting. My family makes fun of me though, because I may be daring and fearless when it comes to roller coasters and extreme sports, but I HATE scary movies because they give me nightmares. So... go figure. Anyway, we had a great day at the park, the lines were not too long, we got in a lot of Non-exercise Thermogenesis (NEAT), but I made one big mistake. I decided to fly by the seat of my pants for my meals. Now, this goes against my very existence. I am a planner at heart, and am normally pretty good with bringing along my own food. I know better. You know I know better. My husband, Ryan, and I talked about bringing a cooler with our own goodies for lunch and snacks, but decided against it because we thought it would be too difficult to lug a cooler around with us all day. Plus we wanted to be able to join in on the “fun” with the rest of the group and enjoy the summertime amusement park fare. Two words. Bad idea. Our first clue was that we saw quite a few people in line for rides with the small, soft coolers, which could be placed in a holding bin while you are on a ride, where you then pick it up afterward. There were also lockers throughout the park where we could have stashed it until our tummies told us it was time to eat. What the heck were we thinking? It couldn’t have been more convenient! So lunchtime rolls around and we stand in the concession line, along with everyone else in the park, waiting 30 minutes for our $15 each burger and fry basket...the standard for most of the food stations throughout the park. Before getting in line we decided, this is not so bad, we are getting in a lot of activity today, and we haven’t had a burger and fries in a long time, so it’s not a big deal for us to splurge today and have one. I am all about allowing yourself treats once in a while. I mean, there is no harm in having a burger and fries every now and then, especially when in maintenance. I get my burger basket and my Diet Pepsi (I love the irony of getting a diet soda along side an 800 calorie basket of grease), sit down at a nice shaded picnic table and take a look at the sustenance that lies before me. The wafer thin, grayish colored burger sits haphazardly atop a mound of drippy sticks of what I would like to believe are potatoes. I try to pick up the bun, to adjust it on the not even melted processed square of cheese, and half of it comes off in between my fingers because its so dry and stale. I take my first bite, and begin to chew, noticing little morsels of fat, rubbery and tasteless bouncing around in my mouth. This is supposed to be a treat??? Blah. We were so disappointed. I found myself fantasizing about a big turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, with fresh lettuce, juicy ripe tomatoes from the garden, my favorite Crunchy Gherkins (pickles), a little mayo and mustard...mmm mmm. I mean how hard would it have been to whip up two sandwiches, put them in tin foil, throw in a couple of apples with peanut butter, maybe some homemade trail mix, protein bars, and yogurt? My mouth is watering just thinking of this delicious satchel of goodness and I am seriously considering tossing this basket of greasy cardboard so-called food in the trash, but the only thing stopping me is the fact that I just spent $15 on this crap and I don’t foresee many other options for food in my near future. What was I thinking? Lesson learned. Recently I have realized something about myself, now that I am starting to incorporate restaurant food back into my meal plans here and there. I have become... a food snob. I don’t care for restaurant food anymore. Its not appetizing to me. I go out, eat at restaurants that I used to like and think were really good, but now I visit them, and the meal is ok, but its nowhere near knock-my-socks-off good. I find myself leaving disappointed, thinking that was NOT worth the calories it just cost me. I would much rather stay home and make a fabulously healthy recipe like deep dish pizza with chicken sausage, mushrooms, and green peppers (watch for this recipe soon) or loaded potato wedges. In fact, I can only think of 2-3 meals over the past 6 months that I have had at a restaurant which, in my mind, were of the knock-my-socks-off caliber. That is it! The same goes for cocktails. I ama cocktail snob as well. If I am going to spend 500 calories on a margarita, it better be the best damn margarita I have ever had in my life! Again I find myself thinking, hmm, well this is ok, but if I were at home I would have used fresh squeezed lime juice, and etc etc.... It is so much more rewarding to eat food that I know is good for me and tastes good too. I think sometimes we fall into the trap of eating for the sake of eating something fast and convenient and think we have limited options when really, we are just being silly because we do have healthy options, we just think we don’t. I am not the fly by the seat of my pants girl that I used to be. I am a food snob and I am proud of it! And so I have learned my lesson once and for all. PLAN. AHEAD. Bring the darn cooler and don’t be so closed minded about my options.