‘Cause I’m the Wanderer…

No matter what part of the world you live in, everyone experiences bouts of yucky weather. Maybe it’s somewhere very seasonal where the winters freeze you to your core and the summers turn you in to a walking puddle or maybe it’s just three, solid months of unceasing rain. No matter what Mother Nature throws your way, that weather witch has a knack for messing with your diet. Snowstorms keep us holed up for days with nothing but snack to keep us company, sudden rain showers have us dashing in to coffee shops to keep dry and even sunshine lures you out for picnics in the park. A wonderfully welcome sweep of springtime has hit NYC and this blast of nice weather has led to the unfortunate phenomenon I’d like to share with you now: “The Wander”. You may not have realized it has a name, but I’m sure you have all fallen prey to this diet dooming habit. “The Wander” refers to any time you’re aimlessly meandering about, somehow aquiring food at every little pit stop you make – and the pit stops are plentiful. “Wanders” can sneak up on you in many forms, so be prepared! They’ve been known to take the shape of… The Street Fair Lured by intoxicating scents and an aura of merriment, street fairs are the siren song for the avid wanderer. These jubilees usually make their appearance right around the time temperatures start heating up. The masses gleefully fly the coop and hit the streets, but this roadway is paved with hidden dangers. A fried dough stand here, an ice cream truck there, they’re like little land mines lurking within the concrete jungle! But there’s no need to stay home, just show up with a plan of attack. Head to the fair around meal-time. If you go during lunch or dinner, you’re not tacking on a myriad of snacks and treats on top of your daily bread. By building the munchies in to your day, even if you sample the most sinful of the fair’s offerings, you’ve only created an “eff it” meal, and not set fire to your entire day. Also, make your way through the entire fair once before purchasing any goodies. Not only does this make your walking route longer, it also lets you survey your options and find a few better choices. Corn-on-the-cob is a good find (but hold the gobs and gobs of butter), even a chicken gyro (just skip the fries on the side) with lots of cool lettuce and veggies. The Shopping Trip   Most know not to head out food shopping while hungry and that’s a fairly safe practice when you can simply play supermarket sweep, snatch all the goods you need and be done with it. But with more and more shops offering snacks and tastes and nibbles and treats, it can become harder to resist. The easiest way to tackle this trip is by heading out in the wee hours of the morning. The simple explanation for this is we just tend to be more disciplined in the morning, it’s a new day and most of us aren’t ravenous when we’re still shaking off sleep. Lots of the offerings are also more savory and heavier – more likely options for lunch or dinner, not things you want to nosh on in the morning. It’ll be easier to avoid them but also the stores might be less likely to have them out that early on in the day. The Commute Of all the wanders, this is the one that is most influenced by the ebb and flow of the seasons. In the slush, snow, rain and even heat – there’s nary a soul who wants to do anything but race to and from the office, braving the elements at the bare minimum. But along comes those first precious warm and breezy days. Suddenly, it’s any excuse to soak up the sun and relish your lack of layers for the first time in months. Suddenly, you’re too good for the break room coffee pot and venture blocks out of your way to the good Starbucks, the one that always seems to have the espresso brownie in stock. Or, at quitting time you meander down the street stopping first in the convenience store, then in grocery… then in the yogurt shop… picking up snacks and tastes at every turn. To battle the morning munchie mania, it’s pretty straightforward – let yourself wake up! Resist the urge to “grab and go”, instead get to your desk before you start thinking about breakfast.  Even if it means coming in a little early, setting your stuff down and then popping back out to your favorite breakfast spot, it’ll help you have a clearer head. Sip coffee or tea on the commute if that helps, or grab an apple if you’re ravenous. Maybe save your afternoon snack for the commute back. With a breath of fresh air, you’ll get a clearer head and will be able to actually enjoy that snack and it’ll be a controlled portion. This way, you’ll actually stop and smell the flowers, instead of stopping and smelling the fresh baked cookies.
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