Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Food That Isn't Frugal

Things are going to be real quiet around Fighting Foreclosure for a few days as I am working a second job most of this week. This particular job hires me for 3 weeks out of the year, and this is one of them. The job is from 5:00 pm - midnight, so I am taking some extra time off from my regular day-to-day job to prevent burn out. I figure I have plenty of vacation time, so why not? It isn't like I am planning any traveling anytime soon! Anyway, what this means is that I won't be around a computer much this week. Don't worry, I have a notebook with me at all times and will be jotting down ideas for future posts.

Here's a little financial (and health) thing that I noticed while at second job, though:

This job is one of those "30 minutes of boredom followed by 30 seconds of chaos" kind of jobs. When I am needed, I am absolutely flying and working hard, but there are long stretches in between when I end up sitting on my fanny with a book, waiting to be called. Because I know these are going to be long nights, I make sure to eat a good, healthy meal before I go. Last night I had some wonderful leftover chicken, beans with sage, whole wheat bread and olive oil and a cherry tomato salad. Not bad, eh? And high in protein to boot. I figured it would easily last me until I got home, but at about 8:00 pm I found myself starving. I wasn't just craving anything though, I wanted something very specific...

Junk food. I kept having visions of wet burritos and cheeseburgers in my head. I wanted something hot, cheesy and greasy and I wanted it now. Then, as the night progressed, I started contemplating potato chips as an easy substitute instead. When a gal walked by with a bag of Fritos, my stomach started growling.

It took me a little while to realize what was going on. It wasn't just a craving - it was hunger from boredom. Sitting and waiting for your call can be kind of boring, even with a books and an occasional conversation with the fun people wandering by. My brain (and my stomach) wanted entertainment. It almost resulted in an impulse run to the vending machine - which is not only bad for my pocketbook, but my waistline!

I wasn't alone. I saw a number of vending machine goodies being consumed. Someone else mentioned to me that they were also hungry and would "have to see what was open on the way home." This type of work, with long hours and late nights, is prime for really expensive and unhealthy eating. Fast food is rarely cheap and it certainly isn't good for you. I don't even like it, but I found myself hearing that statement and considering a container of French fries.

I'm happy to say that I realized what was going on before I gave into any impulses. I kept my change in my pocket and my car out of the drive through. Instead I waited to get home and raid my own 'fridge for tasty, healthy snacks that were already in my budget!

Tonight I am going to be smarter though. I will pack along a few things that I know are good for me and will also satisfy those cravings. I know that anytime I buy something from a vending machine or a fast food establishment I am paying a premium for low quality food. That just goes against my frugal ways!

Photo by: The Eggplant


Miss M said...

I always keep a container of nuts in my desk for snacking and I usually bring some pretzels, carrots and a yogurt each day. I am always hungry and need my food! You've got some strong willpower there, I would have broken down. I hope your second job goes well this week!

Saver Queen said...

You have some excellent willpower! Bringing your own snacks will help. Also bring a water bottle - and if you have a kettle, bring a tea bag - this will help to keep you full. The tea will feel calming and satisfying, too.

I've been craving serious junk good too, lately!

Kristy @ Master Your Card said...

I find that a lot of my eating does come from boredom, or because I didn't get enough rest and I'm trying to stay awake. It's interesting, though. I've decided to give Nutrisystem a go and I'm waiting on the food to come in. I figured it would only be a few days as that's what they said when I ordered, so I wouldn't bother with shopping other than some fruits and salad stuff since that will be included with my meals. At any rate, I placed my order either Friday or Saturday, so I assume I'll have it tomorrow. But, in the meantime, it's been a lot of eating out and I have to say, my body is sort of TIRED of the fast food stuff. I think my brain has already clicked over to the healthier food mode, so this fast food is making me feel gross...not to mention being expensive.

Good for you on holding out though! I think the night shift tends to be harder to resist the boredom eating, but bringing your own snacks is definitely a great idea!

Dawn said...

Thank you Miss M! I try to keep some healthy snacks at work too. There is definitely the vending machine temptation here too!

Saver Queen - Interesting you mention that! I had a bottle of Honest Tea in peppermint and I brought that one night. It was delicious! But, it was also $2.50 a bottle. That's fine for an indulgence once and awhile, but if I did that every night I'd be spending $12.50 in tea!! Instead, the next night I brewed up my own peppermint tea in my diffuser tea pot and added a little cane sugar - it was wonderful and a fraction of the cost!

Kristy - I would be really interested in hearing how that goes. I have always been curious about Nutrisystem.