Eat Well, Nerd Out Better
Today's post is in honor of Dragon Con in Atlanta!
D*Con is the southeast's biggest conference dedicated to all things pop culture, science fiction, fandoms, comics, literature and so much more. It not only showcases Atlanta beautifully but serves as a wonderful welcome to all people who are looking for their nerdy tribe. My husband stays on site in the conference hotels because this event means a ton to him but I travel in daily to experience the fun (I need a bit more space and quiet than he does). Staying at home also means I have more food options and a whole kitchen - fueling is really important to me (surprise, surprise). Eating well during these long events can make the difference between enjoying them and causing a crabby meltdown for even the most seasoned attendee. Here are a few pointers for those who are staying in the hotels and want to maximize their nutrition.
Y'all, the food courts and mini-shops in the hotels are PACKED - and pricey! And while there are some good options (especially in the Hyatt Starbucks Market), a lot of the stuff is sugary and fat laden. Eating sugar or fat bombs can leave you feeling sluggish and heavy - not a great option for all that walking and costuming you have planned. Throw some balanced options into your bag or pack a small cooler (the ice machines can keep those going for days). Some easy options include:
Nut and fruit bars (I like Larabar Protein bars)
Add-water oatmeal cups (hot water comes from those coffee machines in the room!)
Bananas/apples and peanut butter packs (I like Justin's)
Triscuits and a hummus cup
Small bags of air popped popcorn
The balance of complex carbohydrates and healthy protein in these will keep you energized and feeling focused for longer.
Atlanta in August/September means hot and humid weather - a recipe for dehydration. Add in heavy costuming and day-drinking and it's no surprise heat stroke and dehydration related fainting are common in the med tents. Stay hydrated throughout the day with water and consider small amounts of a sports drink every hour if you are in a very heavy costume and outside. Lots of sweat = electrolyte losses.
If you aren't on the water train yet, try unsweetened tea, bubbly or soda water (I like Spindrift!), no calorie drinks like Bai, or light sports drinks.
If possible, also consider holding off on alcohol until night time when it's cooler and the families have gone home for the day. Besides, drinking all day can mean poor cosplay in the evening. Keep that costume game strong, y'all.
With limited options and crowds, it feels like eating snacks all day is a better option than a sit-down meal but I encourage you to take some time to rest and re-fuel! Eating quality meals will help with your energy throughout the long day and make things a lot more enjoyable. Plus, sitting down, removing that mask or headpiece can give you much needed rest and breathing room.
For lunch or dinner, aim to get some veggies in (this is like taking a small multivitamin!), choose a lean protein (baked or grilled instead of fried), and some complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, whole grain toast. And make sure the dressing or condiments you add are healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, guacamole, peanut butter, etc.) to avoid that post-meal slug.
Dragon Con and cosplay are endurance sports and you've got to start fueling like an athlete to perform well.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Starting a long day without some fuel is a rookie mistake. Breakfast can be relaxing if you brought some food along, or you can check out the early vibes at the hotel cafes. If packing things, aim for something substantial like a whole wheat bagel and peanut butter or boiled eggs (yes, those come packaged!). If opting to dine out, make sure your carbs are complex (whole wheat toast, baked potatoes, or bagel, but avoid the muffins and biscuits), add some fruit (like taking another mini multivitamin), and get some quality protein (scrambled eggs, black beans, tofu, chickpeas, peanut butter, etc.).
Whether you're a fledgling cosplayer or an experienced *Con pro, take care of yourself and enjoy! Party on!