MagicFest London is almost upon us, and the excitement levels are rising. With all the hubbub and hype around the event, it’s easy to forget to stay stocked up on snacks and supplies if you want to make it through the day – and trust me, the days are gonna be long. It’s all too easy to end up eating convention food and sugary snacks, but if you’re planning on keeping your head in the zone long enough to make it to day 2 and beyond, you’ll need to keep a clear head.
Today I’ll be running through my top 5 nutritious ways to stay energised at a MagicFest. This list might also be helpful if you have particular dietary requirements (like me), or suffer from chronic pain (again – I’m no stranger). Keeping inflammation and brain fog low is critical to playing good magic – it took me a while to figure that one out!
1. Healthy Fat & Protein-rich Breakfast
Whilst it may be tempting to stock up on toast, waffles, and pancakes, consider subbing out carb-heavy options (and the hash browns!) for some healthy fats and proteins. If you’re a meat eater and/or you’re gluten-free, this should be fairly easy – most hotels can sort out bacon and eggs no problem. If your hotel doesn’t do hot breakfasts, consider popping to a local store or supermarket and grabbing some of the pots of boiled eggs on offer. These won’t last the whole day if it’s particularly warm, but they should make a good snack for most of the morning.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, it can be a little trickier to fuel up on the ideal breakfast away from home, especially if you’re aiming for a more keto-based diet. Peanut Butter or Almond Butter is usually a good shout, so if in doubt bring some with you and add it to the more carb-heavy breakfast options available – most hotels will have bagels or bread made without milk or eggs, and if they don’t you can easily buy said baked goods and apply your chosen nut-based butters yourself. Avocados are a thing too, but I didn’t want to presume your millennial status. How are you affording to go to a MagicFest with all of those avocados, anyway?
If you’re struggling for good breakfast options, or your hotel doesn’t do breakfast, you could always skip it entirely. There is a decent chunk of scientific evidence out there arguing both for and against eating breakfast, but in my own experience, I work out at the gym far better on an empty stomach, and as far as pain levels and inflammation go, I tend to be able to manage them better while fasting. This is definitely a ‘your mileage may vary’ kinda thing, but skipping breakfast and just packing snacks is definitely not the worst option and may even work better for some people.
2. A Light Lunch
When eating lunch, try your best to make it a light one. If you’re playing in the main event, chances are you might not even have time to grab something larger and more complex anyways. If you need to eat carbs, stick to a small amount – bread in a sandwich is probably maxing it out. Too many carbs and you’ll feel sleepy and probably misplay! The best thing to do is to scout out the available vendors (if you’re going to MagicFest London, you can check them out here: https://www.excel.london/visitor/food-drink) and make a plan. If they don’t have what you need, bring it with you if possible.
3. Healthy Snacks
Healthy snacks are a must. It’s likely you’ll get hungry at some point during the day, even if you eat breakfast and lunch and especially when you’ve got your brainpower turned up to the max playing Magic. Sugary high-carb snacks are tempting, but try to avoid them if at all possible. This is down to your own preference, of course – if you’re just playing side events and having fun, you’re probably less concerned. Snacks I would recommend, though, are:
- Nuts – pistachios are my favourite and are objectively the best variety, but pick the ones you like. I like to get mine salted, as salt is actually good for you in moderation and is damn tasty to boot.
- Beef jerky – beef jerky is great. It’s pretty new to the UK and it’s become one of my top snacks on the go. A lot of brands do have sugar in, which is annoying, but if you’re aiming for a protein-rich snack that’s easy to digest, jerky is a good choice.
- Bananas – Bananas don’t spoil quickly, but be careful not to squish them under your Commander decks. They are easy to digest and offer a good energy boost.
- Apples – Apples, similar to Bananas, are a great healthy snack, but are less squishy.
- Eggs – like I mentioned earlier, a boiled egg won’t last all day, but it’s a nice option in a trying time (if that time is before lunch-ish).
- Dark Chocolate – as much as I aim to keep my sugar intake as low as possible, there is every expectation that at some point sugar levels will dip, and having an option available to provide a quick boost is always good. Try and stick to dark chocolate if possible, as milk chocolate is the greater sin (and arguably less tasty, but again your mileage may vary).
4. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty. Humans operate best when they’ve drunk enough water, so you should aim to stay hydrated. Bring a refillable bottle if possible and keep it stocked up to reduce waste. One thing to note is that drinking too much water is also a bad thing – make sure that you keep your electrolyte levels steady. Most of the branded electrolyte drinks are designed for sports and contain sugar in one form or another, which is something to keep in mind if you’re trying to avoid it. Alternatively, you can get little sachets or tablets of electrolytes that you can dissolve in water. You can also make sure your electrolyte levels stay high by including at least some salt in your diet, which can go a long way to making sure you don’t over-hydrate.
Admittedly, stretching isn’t particularly nutritious, but there’s nothing worse than sitting at a desk all day for work, and sitting and playing magic is not much different. You’ll be sat down for long periods of time, so when there is an opportunity to have a break from sitting, take it. Go for a walk around the hall, check out the vendors, and maybe get some fresh air if you have time. There are some good ways to keep calm and reduce your stiffness through meditation and yoga, but the easiest one for me is practicing some Tai-chi. The basics are good to keep your neck, back, and shoulders supple, and engaging the diaphragm using ‘three-dimensional breathing’ is solidly underrated. Sure, it can look a little goofy, but it looks a lot less goofy than you will with a cricked neck at the end of the weekend!
Hopefully you found these tips useful. Eating at large events can be a lot more complicated for some people, and I in particular find I have to do a lot of dietary planning. Vendors are getting better at being more inclusive, but they still have a ways to go. Stock up on non-perishable snacks and keep hydrated – that’s half the battle!
Enjoy your time at your next big event, and look out for me at MagicFest London. I’ll happily play some Commander with you!
Hit me up on Twitter, @TheKristenEmily, and clue me in on the best snacks you like to bring to an event – food is the best.