If there’s anything I love more than books, it’s food. Wait–don’t make me choose. So it’s no surprise that I look forward to Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon every April and October: a event that celebrates snacking almost as much as it celebrates reading. I’ve already written about why you should participate in the readathon and how to last through a 24 hour readathon, but I feel I haven’t quite emphasized the snacking portion as much as I could. If you’re looking for readathon reading suggestions, we have those too, but this post is about spotlighting the unsung heroes of readathons: the munchables.
It may not seem intuitive to nosh on healthy things during the readathon. For one thing, you’re already treating yourself to a binge of something you love–why moderate your food? And I agree with you! But the readathon is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you intend to last a long time, you need to intersperse your processed sugar and caffeine with healthy snacks. Fruits and veggies make for great one-handed snacks (crucial, so you can hold your book at the same time), and allow you to comfortably read and graze without getting a stomach ache by hour 4.
But let’s be real, you’re not going to be sustaining yourself on blueberries alone. Caffeine has its place in a 24 hour readathon. (I have personally gotten pretty reliant on chocolate-covered espresso beans for my readathon snack hoard.) The trick is to limit your intake, vary your sources of caffeine, and lean harder on the green tea side of the spectrum than energy drinks. (Please don’t knock back a bunch of energy drinks during the readathon. That scares me.)
It is tradition that every readathon, I stock up on snacks the day before, and salty snacks have a special place in my heart. It’s so hard to choose! Which chips will be just what I’m looking for at 3 in the morning? How many bags can I grab before it’s gotten obscene? (No, person checking me through at the grocery store, I am not having a party. Or, I am. With my books. And the internet.)
It’s so easy to graze on various snacks throughout the day without realizing that you haven’t actually eaten a meal in the last 14 hours. That way leads to regrets. Make sure that between snacks, you fit in at least one Actual Meal. Lots of readathoners have traditions of making a certain meal the night before, so it’s all ready to go when the readathon starts! I’m not that prepared, so I tend to go with a microwaveable meal (obviously I won’t be making food during the readathon–that requires my page-flipping hands!)
This may just be my own issues, but I tend to get nauseated when sleep deprived. So there’s always a point during the readathon that I want to eat something that will settle my stomach–or at least not make it worse. I’m a fan of popcorn twists at this point: they’re like eating lightly-salted air. But toast, popcorn (hold the butter), unseasoned nuts, plain rice, and even yogurt can be a good way to get your stomach back on solid ground.
Whichever category it falls under, try to get at least one snack (or meal) that you’re really excited about. It can be an old favourite recipe you made the night before, a special treat you rarely let yourself indulge in, or some snack that looks amazing but you’ve never tried before. Now here’s the tricky part: try not to eat it right away. If your goal is to make it to a certain hour of the readathon (all 24, or 18, or 12, or 2), you can make a snack hour that’s a closer goal that that, especially if you know there’s a certain time that’s going to be harder to get through than the others. Maybe you want to let yourself eat that tart at the time you usually fall asleep. Or maybe you’ll go grab some fancy coffee with extra whipped cream at the 16 hour mark. (Or both!) That can also help regulate your snacking, because you won’t want to be completely full by the time you can eat your extra special snack.
So those are my readathon snack suggestions! Obviously, you should tailor it according to your snacking needs. What are some of your favourite readathon snacks?