Happy Saturday everyone! A lot of my friends are at PAX South right now and I'm a bit bummed I missed out on getting a badge before they sold out (I didn't know they would! I'm so used to be able to get a badge up to the day of). In my previous post about tips for having a smooth convention experience, I mentioned the importance of eating well and bringing snacks. I highly recommend doing a grocery store run before going to the convention - this saves a lot of money from having to eat out for every meal. Now, when I first started going to cons when I was 18/19, I had my share of existing three days off of Red Bull, ramune and pocky - got old really fast! So, I've compiled a list of cheap and healthy snacks to stock your con room up with so you can spend more time (and money!) getting your nerd on.
A bit of nutritional food science here - protein and fiber take longer to digest, so they keep you feeling full. Carbs are easy to break down for quick energy. Well, it's more complicated than that, but my point being - try to focus more on protein snacks! Feeling sluggish while you wait for a panel to start is a lousy way to spend the day.
Generic Snacks (No Fridge Needed!)
1. Peanut Butter Sandwiches - our group loves to do this for cons because it's so cheap and will feed everyone! One person buys the peanut butter, one person gets the bread, ect. Try not to eat too many of them, but it's awesome to eat when you're taking a hotel room break to unwind before getting back to the con floor
2. Trail Mix - I should point out that not all trail mix is the same! You want to find mixes that are mostly nuts and seeds and less chocolate and candy. Dried fruit is sweet enough! This can be high in calories if you're not careful, but I've seen packs of mini-bags at the store before. Or you can always make your own!
3. Protein Bars/Drinks - These may run a bit more expensive but they really help in keeping you full for a few hours before you're able to have a real meal! Make sure there is a low sugar:high protein ratio to whatever you're getting. ThinkThin and Pure Protein are my favorite brands - I love Luna bars, but they're barely any better than candy bars nutrition wise.
4. Instant Oatmeal - a classic part of cons is using the coffee machine to make yourself a cup of ramen. You can do the same with instant oatmeal! All you need is hot water, which a coffee machine in your hotel room is able to do.
Snacks For Fridges/Coolers
5. String Cheese and Veggie Plates - your body will feel better if you have some sort of a vegetable at least once through the weekend. These are easy to find in any store and easy to pack.
6. Carrots/Crackers & Hummus - hummus is full of protein and go great with that veggie plate you already have!
7. Greek Yogurt - another protein classic. You can get these in all sorts of flavors and are relatively cheap. Just be sure to bring some silverware with you!
8. Fruit - I love bringing apples and grapes to cons! If I know we have a fridge, I always try to grab some.
A final note - be sure to grab some bottled water and (if you're drinking) some electrolytes to replace any you might lose over the weekend. Bottled water can be pricey at hotels, and unless you have a water bottle, you'll have to use the one water fountain in the whole hotel (which is probably disgusting).
I still love getting a box of pocky when I visit a con (which is really the only time I HAVE pocky!) so don't think that you can't get some Japanese snacks in the dealer's room. Let it be a part of your convention experience! And as my friend Joss commented on in my Tips post, split dinner with your friends! Especially if you're getting delivery to your room (and please, tip well and treat any delivery drivers well. They're probably confused and overworked because yeah, EVERYONE is ordering from the same Domino's this weekend).
So there's my list of food to grab on the way to the con! Have anything else you normally bring? Let me know in the comments!