I commute an hour each way back and forth to work, which gives me time to enjoy my favorite passion – in-car dining. The two center cup holders, plus the cup holder on the driver’s side are always filled with water, tea, coffee, or an apple. The landing spot between the driver’s side and the passenger’s side has something spread out with the main course, and the passenger side seat is sometimes sporting another side dish. The system works beautifully, especially when I remember to brush the crumbs off my chest before entering my office building. If I had my way, the car would be equipped with a little snack tray that pulls out from the steering wheel. The radio knob would be a coffee spigot. And the floor mats would do automatic composting.
On a good day, I’ll pack a nice breakfast to go – a fruit, a peanut butter sandwich on Weight Watcher bread, some fat-free cheese sticks and crackers, or a baggie of high-fiber cereal, with half a cup of almond milk on the side (have not mastered the cereal-with-milk-in-a-bowl maneuver on the parkway).
Sometimes I’m caught short and have to stop at one of the Merritt Parkway Mobil Marts. The hidden cameras have, I’m sure, captured thousands of hours of footage of me wandering through the mart, scrutinizing every last “nutrition” bar, nut package and Danish-y dessert. I keep hoping for the impossibly high fat/carb/calorie numbers to change. Everything seems to be truck-driver sized and yet, no trucks are allowed on the parkway. It was at the Mobil Mart that I discovered a 90-calorie Fiber One Brownie, sitting there on the bottom shelf like a chocolate diamond in the rough. I’ve since seen the 90-calorie Fiber One Brownie carton empty each time—other people have caught on. I’ve considered “pulling a Loehmann’s” and hiding the brownies behind the pork rinds. The Mobil Mart will often have part-skim cheese sticks – not a bad alternative, though a few times, the packages were a little dusty. Then there are times when I’ll buy almonds, count out 10 of them, twist the bag closed, and hide it in the trunk with the spare tire, so I won’t be tempted to overindulge.
If I have to travel between office buildings, I’ll often grab lunch to go, and occasionally, I have an after-work meeting and will grab dinner for the car ride home. I know where the fruits, veggies, and low-point sandwiches are at every exit. I can eat a salad while driving and keeping my eyes on the road the entire time. Yes, I know this is an unhealthy, unsafe, and icky habit. I am supposed to relax and sit down to a mindful meal with people I care about three times a day. But hey, at least I’m not picking my nose. What about you?