Snacks During Times Of High Emotion

My friend Carrie often deals with people during dual periods of high emotional stress.  She helps women who are about to go through, are going through, or just went though a divorce – often with kids involved.  Furthermore, she helps them with their finances during these periods; and she helps them better understand what is needed and what their options are depending on the specifics of each situation.

Needless to say, discussing the gritty details of divorce and finances can expose some high levels of emotion!

One way she helps deal with the stress she takes on is to have healthy snacks available, especially when she can’t sit down and have a more complete lunch during the day.  We discussed some of the options she likes.  Some of the choices include:

  • Picking up a healthier style of sandwich from the grocery store’s deli counter across the street
  • Bringing leftovers from home which were made with organic foods
  • Drinking vegetable juices and lower-sugar/lower-sodium natural fruit juices
  • Protein bars which have specific ingredients and ratios that she needs
  • Certain snack foods in the non-American sections of the grocery store
  • Nuts and seeds that aren’t too high in calories

Her work as a CDFA in Dallas requires her to be on top of her game all day long, so she can’t have periods where her energy plummets during the day.  She suggested that I talk with my doctor, who then could point me in the right direction to a nutritionist or other professional, to figure out what macro and micro nutrients I would need to keep my energy levels high all day long.

Mediterranean Snacks

When most people think of snacks in the Dallas area, they think of typical American styles of food.  These can range from chips to cookies to candies to fruit to vegetables to nuts & seeds, etc.  There are dozens of categories of snacks which have the American orientation, so it is not often considered that there are other snacking styles.

One such difference would be eating “Mediterranean” types of snacks.  Whether they are snacks or small portions of leftovers, the “Mediterranean” style of food may mix things up and offer a unique snacking style.  The issue is that “Mediterranean” can reference so many regional styles from countries around that body of water, including:

  • Italian
  • Greek
  • Egyptian
  • Lebanese
  • Turkish
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Moroccan
  • Croatian
  • many more

Each has a unique style of foods and food combinations that can be converted into tasty snacks.  Just because they are not widely popular in the Dallas Fort Worth area doesn’t mean that you have to skip on some tasty (and possibly healthy!) snacks.  One such snack, from a couple whose family members run local restaurants, is to take some delicious leftover meats and chicken, rice and bread and make small sandwiches (or wraps) from those individual items.  Even though the couple is busy (one is a family counselor in Frisco), they find time to make healthy and delicious snacks.  They make these in bulk and have them when needed.

There are so many wonderful snack ideas from the Mediterranean style of cooking.  You can blend any/all of these in unique combinations to suit your body’s chemistry as well as your taste styles:

  • chicken and meat
  • rice (different kinds like regular, brown, saffron, etc.)
  • olive oil
  • vegetables like peppers, mushrooms and more
  • fruit/vegetables like tomoatoes
  • humus
  • pita
  • vinegars
  • so much more

Feel free to leave your thoughts and suggestions for more healthy Mediterranean-style snacks as we would enjoy your ideas on how to eat healthier while satisfying hunger during the day.

Snacking Late At Night For Work

I was talking about food with my friend Jim the other day.  He is a plumber and often works on emergency jobs late at night.  These can range from someone’s pipes bursting at their home all the way to a water line leak for a retail store location to doing drain cleaning and sewer cleaning late at night.

The problem is that he runs a business which serves regular customers who want to place their non-emergency calls from 9 to 5.  This means that his sleep schedule is way off.  Additionally, late at night he has to stay fueled while on the job; and sometimes those jobs can be grueling.  He has to have some sort of snacks that:

  • He can carry on his body
  • Have some sort of packaging to stay clean/preserved as he will be around dirt and contaminants during the course of his job
  • Can be consumed quickly
  • Are easy to dispose of the packaging
  • Won’t hinder his movement while crawling and reaching in tight, out-of-the way spaces
  • Have some sort of health benefit to them
  • Won’t be so laden with sugar and/or caffeine that he can’t sleep (even for just a few hours) before getting ready for the upcoming batch of calls during the 9 to 5 time period

What are your thoughts and suggestions that you would give a plumber in Dallas who has to deal with extremes in temperatures (and not just due to the seasons either)?  He can find himself outside in the winter, in the rain during the spring, next to a hot furnace or radiator anytime during the year, or he can be working on a sewer line during the hot summer.  Any suggestions you have to help him find snacks that meet what was listed earlier would be terrific.

Snacks When Working All Day On The Road

My friend Nick repairs garage doors in the Dallas and Collin County area, so he is always in his truck going between jobs.  Especially during the hot summer months – or the windy and cold winters – he has to eat on the road a lot.  We talked about different ways to stay fueled and at high levels while away from home so long everyday.

I talked with him about staying at a comfortable body temperature during the temperature extremes(summer or winter) and which snacks to eat during the afternoon when energy levels typically drop.  We talked about:

  • cooking foods like a bodybuilder and packing food in a cooler (chicken, rice, vegetables, etc.)
  • meat based snacks like jerky
  • healthier snacks like you can get at a health food store
  • fruit
  • vegetable trays
  • using coupons for fast food, including the “healthier” options
  • Protein bars or pre-packaged protein shakes

What about you?  What do you recommend for someone working out in the cold during the winter or during the heat of the summer to stay at a high level of energy on the road most of the day and working at people’s houses or commercial facilities?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Snacks For When Visiting Dallas Industrial Area Clients

Bringing snacks to offices is a longtime tactic to keep clients (or prospective clients) happy.  Some industries have rules about this, but many industries have no regulations against doing so.  There are different types of appropriate snacks to bring to clients in higher-end industries.  They can include:

  • chocolates or other candies
  • fruit
  • vegetable trays

Medical offices often have people bring food for the entire staff, again pending regulations and corporate policies.

What are your opinions on dealing with Dallas-based industrial clients, especially for guys on work with machine shop equipment and those who work in plants?  Is it better to have individually-wrapped snacks like candies, unique wrapped snacks like custom toffee, open snacks like fruits or cookies, or something else?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Mid-Morning North Dallas Snack

Cookies.

That word seems to bring a smile to many faces!  It also is a fun “snack” to have in the middle of a tough morning.  Yes, cookies are not anywhere near the pinnacle of healthy eating; but during a rough morning a tasty cookie can make all the difference in terms of getting through the day with a smile on your face even in the face of high stress.

Such a morning was happening the other day when I was in the North Dallas/Addison/Farmers Branch area.  I was working on a stressful client project when my friend Ruben showed up at the same location.  He, too, was having a challenging morning.  His career is working with Houston, San Antonio and Dallas real estate hard money lenders.  He was having one of “those days” that morning, so we decided to have a coffee and a mid-morning snack.

We were at one of the restaurant/bakery locations which offers 2-for-1 cookies, even in the mornings.  We each chose an oatmeal raisin cookie, and the best part was that the cookie was bigger than we had anticipated.  For two guys who appreciate good portion sizes when we go out for any type of food, we were pleased.  Even better was that the cookies actually tasted great!

Again, eating cookies in the middle of the morning is probably not best for long-term health (!!), but it sure made the difference.  Later in the day we compared notes and realized that our days got much better after that.  We joked that it wasn’t the company or the jokes we shared, but the day’s improvement was directly attributable to the cookies.  Ha!

Hopefully this gives you a fun idea of how to get a “pick me up” mid-morning in a low-cost manner anytime you need one in the DFW area.

Snacks During The Hot Weather

One thing that North Texas is known for nationwide is the hot summer!  Most people who live in cooler climates, especially those where the temperature usually is under 85 degrees during the summer, cannot fathom dealing with such intense heat for three-plus straight months.  They feel as if they would “wilt” from the heat and humidity.

Of even greater discrepancy is when those people talk with someone who works outside during the day in the Texas summers.  There often is minimal shade and, combined with physical exertion, many don’t believe that their bodies could handle the rigors of the summer.  Obviously, staying hydrated is a major piece of being able to function outside at a high level, day after day in the Texas heat.  Having proper nutrition also helps as well.

One of my friends is a concrete contractor in the DFW area.  He deals with heat radiating from pavement, asphalt, concrete and other hot surfaces during the summer.  This doesn’t even factor in dealing with concrete mixers and other machinery which generates even more heat.  He told me some of his ways of staying hydrated plus loading up on quality nutrition each day that he is out on the job.  In addition to the main meals, he uses snacks to keep him going on particularly grueling days.

Some of them, for his body type, including using honey.  He sometimes also makes homemade snacks to handle the caloric and nutritional needs.  He usually stays away from high-caffeine drinks, particularly the energy drinks which don’t sit well with him.  He looks for easy-to-absorb calories plus those which don’t cause the “sugar crash”.  Sometimes he may snack on almonds & walnuts, sometimes he has more nutrient dense crackers, and sometimes he may have a meal replacement shake… but only certain types which he can tolerate.  Be sure to look at the food labels if you go that route. Otherwise try to go with the more natural, calorie-dense – yet easy to digest – foods as your in-between meal snacks on those hot days.  Talk with your doctor about what works best for your blood chemistry and how much water you should consume on those extra hot days during the Dallas Fort Worth summers.

Local Rewards Cards For Snacks

If you do a lot of driving and/or have meetings out at places where you grab a quick snack then there are some options to save you money.  Many of the DFW food discount methods involve more formal meals, such as Groupon offers and Restaurant.com coupons + coupons from the entertainment guide.  Others are more supermarket or convenience store coupon rewards for things like candy bars, etc.

In the middle is the quick snack, sit-down/self-serve style of eateries.  The ability to save money here isn’t always readily apparent, so one way is to frequent places which have low-cost, healthier alternative snacks (e.g. soups, salads, and low-calorie breakfasts) which offer the use of a rewards card.  These are like the “frequent flyer” cards for certain restaurants.  Sometimes they offer a free coffee after every 6-8 purchases.  Others offer random discounts or a free beverage after a certain number of dollars have been spent.

In combination with coupons, these reward savings can help you save money during the times you want a snack but would like to sit down and/or access wi-fi internet service such as during a mid-afternoon meeting.  Thanks to my friend Mo for this tip since she has to be out on the road quite a lot in the North Dallas and Collin County area.

Learning About Meat Snacks From A Meat By Mail Provider

I always find it fun to learn about the inside secrets of the food industry from industry niche insiders.  One such example took place a few weeks ago in the Allen/Plano area where a specialty retailer of meats gave me some insight on how to choose healthy meat snacks around DFW.

Instead of being overly healthy while driving around, I sometimes want to eat meat.  This can vary as to whether I have a coupon for a fast food restaurant or sometimes a special on typical meat snacks like beef jerky.  Some friends, who are longtime veterans of the specialty meats business, gave me some insights on how to read the food labels to choose some of the healthier versions.  Here is one of the USDA links they recommended.

From there, they gave me some insight into meat food labeling including the various preservatives and how to know what I am eating.  I trusted their recommendations since they sell bacon and ham by mail all over the country.  They gave me ideas on how to shop for particular brands of meat and not necessarily be swayed by the “organic” labeling if I stop by a market which has “healthier” meat alternatives.  It was very insightful, so start with the USDA link recommended and then comparison shop online for specific brands.  Keep the list with you in the car or on your smart phone so that you know which brands offer the healthier alternatives for the price when you are driving around the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Snacks For High End Customers

When most people think about snacks they think about what they want and like.  If you are selling to high end customers or clients, and you have a waiting room, you have to think about what they want instead.  This is because something as simple as a gesture of kindness (e.g. placing a snack for them while waiting) could be misconstrued and you could lose business or worse.  Here are some of the things you might wish to consider:

  • Posting if a snack, such as mixed nuts, may pose the risk of allergies to those allergic to foods like peanuts.  Be sure to have multiple postings for compliance purposes
  • Keep the presentation of any such snacks to be professional
  • Should you use a tray, such as to serve mixed nuts or candies, then keep the tray/bowl/plate clean
  • If you serve drinks, attempt to serve in bottles if appropriate.  This is done more now for compliance and health safety reasons; but if you must serve drinks in open glasses or cups then be sure to follow all health codes and local ordinances
  • If possible, have a mixture of snack types.  For example, one tray has mixed nuts and the other tray has individually-wrapped chocolates

Since the risk of losing a high end customer, over something so trite as the presentation and array of choices when it comes to snacks, is so high you should take a few minutes to make sure that whatever you present is compliant, clean, safe and appropriate for the prospect or current customer/client.  Thanks for these tips to my friend in the area of Farmers Branch and Addison.

Learning About Snacks From A Restaurant Owner

Have you ever had a good discussion about quality, low price snacks with someone who understands the food retailing business?  I finally had such a conversation with a friend the other day who used to own several Italian restaurants.  Apart from learning about delicious Italian food (yum!) it was fun to learn about various topics that would affect my snacking choices when out in public.

We covered a lot of topics including:

  • food safety
  • asking the right questions of any wait/service staff, even at fast food places
  • the types of stickers and other signs of legitimate food inspection at public eating establishments
  • reading food labels if picking up snacks in a package
  • health considerations
  • what to watch out for
  • types of restaurant kitchen equipment and how a repair may affect food quality going forward
  • what is deemed a fair price
  • coupons/discounts and if they are worth it
  • much more

To me, part of the memory of the conversation is funny because he now helps finance commercial real estate development, even though his original passion is Italian food.  The lessons he picked up and shared, however, are very valuable because of the topics being so relevant:  people want safe food that tastes great, at great prices, delivered quickly with great service at a professional establishment that is compliant with all regulations.  While that doesn’t seem like much to ask for, it can be a difficult equation for many establishments to achieve.  This is because of so many factors coming into play, not the least of which is that the audience can be fickle and change its taste buds quickly.

Quick “snack” places are tougher as well, especially in Dallas Fort Worth, because of so much competition and people always looking for bargains.  In many DFW towns there is only so much one can spend on food budget, so competition sometimes forces establishment owners to take shortcuts or sometimes just not care about certain aspects of the business.  Hopefully you get to have as eye-opening a conversation as I did and use the lessons to help you filter down your food choice locations.

Grabbing A Quick Snack During DFW Traffic

Have you ever gotten stuck in traffic on one of the major highways in DFW when you thought that you had left early enough to beat the rush?  If so, then you know how frustrating it can be!

The worst part is that, should you consider yourself to be someone who plans ahead, that you don’t get to prepare something to eat and take with you in the car.  Especially during the hot summer months, you likely aren’t bringing food with you in the car due to the heat.  This means that if you start to get hungry and/or need food for health (e.g. blood sugar) reasons then your drive home or to the next destination risks being miserable.

If you get a report that the traffic you are in is going to be fairly nasty, such as during a recent accident a few miles ahead of you on the highway, then you have a couple of choices:

  • try to make the best of it
  • try to fight your way off the highway onto an alternate route and work your way around the traffic
  • or…. pull off the highway and find someplace fun to eat!

If your downtime to get something to eat, ultimately, would cost you no more than an extra 15-20 minutes then consider relaxing and getting the food.  I have to thank my friend Carrie for that suggestion.  She deals everyday with two high-emotion (read “stressful”!!) topics:  divorce and personal finances.  She understands the value of relaxing and enjoying something to eat which calms the nerves!

My friend David, who goes all over the northern section of Collin County for residential and commercial landscaping, also had some good suggestions for snacks.  Since he often goes from job to to job, taking back roads with lots of equipment, he has to be careful where he drives and parks his vehicle.  This means that he sometimes needs food which doesn’t require much, if any, downtime to eat; but it also must keep him awake and replenished with energy to work in the hot Texas summers.  He gave me some good suggestions for stopping by health food stores/supermarkets to get things like sprouts, certain vegetables, seeds, and other foods which – if purchased properly – could be the same price as a less-nutritious snack.  I took his suggestions one day and found out that he was right.

Obviously you have to mix-match what is best for you.  Nonetheless, if the budget and time constraints permit doing so, consider pulling off the highway during heavy periods of traffic and finding places to park where there is security, healthy food and possibly a very respectable price.  If you do find such a place, consider getting a cooler or other container which can safely store the type of snacks which can withstand being inside the container (in the car) and load up on the healthy snacks.