September 6th, 2012 Last Updated on: September 6th, 2012
As a mom of two and a grandmother of four, it’s an eternal challenge to eat reasonably at powwows!
Especially when you’re not camping with a full kitchen for all the cooking. First there’s the nutritional and healthy challenge. Next there’s the financial challenge. And then there’s the time and convenience challenge. Plus there’s the challenge of offering something appealing to the kids. Lastly, it has to work for my slowing middle-aged metabolism, the physical demands of one daughter’s fancy shawl and the other daughter’s jingle, and four growing kids.
How can we put it all together with some measure of success?
Most powwows offer the standard fare of burgers, Indian tacos, stew, chili, and the inevitable frybread. Don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff too. But high-calorie, high-fat, and low-fiber just aren’t the best things for an entire weekend several times a month or several months a year. You don’t have to be an expert to know that obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are becoming serious issues in Indian country. It’s ironic that powwow participants, especially dancers, should have to worry because dancing is great exercise and can be enjoyed by all ages and physical ability levels. But several hours of dancing can be rapidly undone by an Indian taco, several sugary drinks, and various snacks. And that’s just one session of a weekend event.
If you’re remembering how you noshed at the last powwow, you’re thinking, “uh oh, here comes the lecture!” Fear not. I understand that eating habits are difficult to change. So I’m offering suggestions for making small changes.
Just try one. Later, try another. It adds up.
1. Substitute water for soda and juice. I know, I know, pop tastes good and it’s really cheap especially when you buy the jumbo sizes. But water can’t be beat for being the best for hydration. To wean yourself from pop if that’s your vice, try individual packets of ice tea (I like Crystal Light) and other flavorings to mix in. Best of all, water can be stored in any kind and size of container. Be eco-friendly and use thermos jugs or stainless steel containers and they will take up no more room than a case or two of bottled water. Even better try a hydration backpack like the Camelbak Hydration Pack. Carry your water for the day with you all the time!
2. Think “finger food” that you can eat without bowls, plates, or utensils. Get your sweet fix with fruit. Freeze your fruit before the trip. Frozen grapes are like candy and can help keep your cooler chilled. I make my own by buying fresh strawberries, blueberries, etc., and freeze them in quart-size bags. Soothe your craving for crunch with some fresh veggies like baby carrots, celery sticks, and snap peas. We’ve been trying all different kinds of hummus for dipping the veggies.
3. When it’s available, pack along dry meat or smoked or dried salmon. Beef jerky, nuts (pinon and pistachio are the best), and low-fat string cheese are also good protein sources.
4. Try different kinds of tortillas (wheat, herb, and corn) for making wraps with slices of turkey or ham, lettuce and tomatoes.
If you eat sensibly on Friday and Saturday, on Sunday you can treat yourself to a burger or Indian taco, because the occasional splurge is okay. Happy eating!
How do you eat well at Pow Wows? Send us your best tips!
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