Believe it or not, eating when you're running for office isn't as easy as you'd think. While you'll likely attend many a function with passed hors d'oeuvres and nice buffets, you'll be busy talking to constituents, and might find yourself hard pressed to find time to eat. And even if you have the time, it's a bit of a risk to eat when you're on campaign duty...no one wants to spend all night making inroads with voters only to find they've been doing so with fresh stains on their shirts or food in their teeth. It's a bit of a conundrum.
As former candidates, we recommend eating before and/or after events, both to make the most of your public time for talking to the community, and to be able to relax and enjoy your food.
With that said, we've known plenty of candidates who have experienced some serious weight fluctuations while running for office, both in terms of losses and gains. Midnight bowls of pasta and cereal can put your body through the ringer. And unless that's part of your plan, (i.e. you're on a weight management program), it's fairly unhealthy to fluctuate a lot as adults.
The solution? A little bit of planning with some tried-and-true food prep hacks. Here, some of our favorite tips for food prep as a candidate.
1. Order Your Groceries.
Whether you're buying from a meal delivery service or your local grocery store, ordering your meals is a giant, GIANT timesaver and saves you from having to rely on pizza and Chinese delivery seven days a week. The first time ordering is always the most time intensive, but after that, the ease you'll experience ordering your groceries from your bed at midnight versus maneuvering a trip to the grocery store during peak campaign hours will be totally worth it.
There is nothing worse than a day running long and having to come home and figure out what to make for dinner, even if you have the ingredients (and even worse if you don't). One of the best ways to circumvent this problem is by using a cooking apparatus like an Instant Pot or a Slow Cooker. What's the difference? As we understand it, a Slow Cooker simmers a bunch of stuff you throw in a pot early in the morning. Easy peasy. Instant Pots are a little bit more complicated because they do so much more, from acting as a slow cooker to steaming to making homemade yogurt. Below are two of our favorites as well as some recipe links for each.
Sometimes, the best way to have some healthy food options at your fingertips is to spend one chunk of time—literally, one few hour period just one day a week—and do some prepping. Think bulk preparing...everything can be made ahead of time from a batch of soup to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for your kids to ready-made breakfasts. Here are some tried and true ideas.
If you've ever had a child, a surgery, an unexpected catastrophe, then you know how kind people can be...they are often coming to your house in droves bringing...food. Believe it or not, people may offer to cook for you as a candidate as well. Our advice? Say yes! It's a great opportunity for volunteers who aren't comfortable with canvassing or phone banking...some just want to help take care of you so that their candidate has everything they need to WIN!
To make it easy, we recommend using MealTrain, which lets users create an online schedule of who is cooking when as well as dates you would need something cooked. For example, you likely don't need someone to make you dinner every night. But if you have three nights of events coming up and they are all high-pressure, a dinner delivered to your family could make all the difference in the world (or at least your stress level). We don't recommend setting this up yourself, but asking your Campaign Manager or Volunteer Coordinator to get it set up for you.
5. Fix it and Forget it. Part Two.
Lest we forget the thing that gets a good portion of us moving in the morning, we cannot recommend having an automatic coffee maker any more.