In the SLR Lounge (and Lin and Jirsa Photography) studios, we’ve just embarked on a company-wide, 6-week fitness challenge, just in time for the wedding season to commence. All week, the teams have been doing group workouts, discussing nutrition, and of course, teasing the other teams with pictures of delicious-looking and fattening foods.
One question that has been asked a few times in our group is “what healthy snacks can I pack for my wedding this weekend?” As wedding photographers, you know that shooting a wedding means hours of walking, standing, bending and moving with little or no time to eat or even drink water. It’s not uncommon that you could be without food for 10+ hour days, only to sit down for five minutes to scarf down a vendor meal before having to jump up and shoot another important moment.
Everyone is different, and every body has different needs. Some people can go the entire length of the wedding day without eating; others must eat every few hours. I happen to fall into the latter category – my body needs fuel throughout the day, and when I shoot weddings, these are some of my go-to snacks that I pack to help me get through long shooting days.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist (though some of these ideas are from my own certified nutritionist). Consult your professional medical doctor/nutritionist for ideas that may be specific to your own needs.
Healthy Snacks to Pack For Wedding Photographers
1. Protein Bars
Protein bars are a quick, easy and portable option for wedding photographers. They don’t take up much room in the bag and can be eaten quickly. Use some discernment when selecting from the myriad of options, though, as protein bars can have a lot of sugar in them, making them not so great if you are trying to lose weight or are in a fitness challenge.
My personal favorite are Quest Bars (try the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, yum!). They are packed with protein, only have five ingredients in them and 1 gram of sugar. Although they cannot be considered a healthy real food as they are processed, they are better than many bars out there and much better for you than going too many hours without eating a thing. Another bar I like are Larabars (the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips are good), which are made with fruits and nuts and Kind bars. Just be aware that the sugar content on these are high.
2. Raw Almonds
Raw almonds are also a quick and fuss-free snack for a wedding photographer on the go. Chock full of healthy fats, raw almonds are convenient and small enough to toss into a bag and carried around all day. Be sure to get the raw kind – the salted, roasted kind aren’t as good for you. Trader Joes has raw almonds and all kinds of other types of nuts in tiny, pre-packaged bags, making it super easy to just grab a few and go.
3. Nut Butters
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? It’s not only delicious but nutritious and best of all, filling. It also has lots of fiber and protein, antioxidants and good fats. Justin’s Nut Butter is my personal favorite; they have a variety of natural nut butters – almond, peanut, etc. – in one serving on-the-go packs. When picking a peanut butter (or any other nut butter) be sure to check the label for sugar content and sodium content.
4. Celery or Carrot Sticks
I typically don’t like to carry fresh food with me without a cooler of some sort, but for carrot and celery sticks, I make an exception. They are tough so they won’t get squished on the bottom of my bag. (I don’t have a cooler in my car – since there really isn’t time to run to the car when you’re shooting a wedding).
Combining the nut butter with your celery makes a delicious treat. And carrots are high in natural sugar (so be aware of that if you are limiting your intake).
5. Trail Mix Packs
Use a lot of caution when choosing a trail mix for snacking on a wedding day. The kind with the chocolate in them obviously aren’t the best option, but if you’ve ever left a bag of trail mix in the car on a summer day, you come back to a melty, sticky mess, which is definitely NOT what you want in your camera bag. Look for Trail Mix sans the chocolate, and full of raw nuts and dried fruits. Dried fruits also have a load of sugar in them so check the label and get the kinds that are mostly nuts. Trader Joes also has great and healthy trail mix options in mini packs.
Apples can be a good wedding day snack if you have the time to eat it. Or you can slice them beforehand and soak them in some salt water so they won’t brown (but seal them in a leak-proof bag – or three!). I don’t recommend bananas because they get bruised and squished easily or oranges because they are messy!
Dried fruit is another option, but they do contain a ton of sugar, which is good for fast energy but not for a fitness challenge.
7. Beef Jerky
If you have the time or inclination, carnivores should research making your own beef jerky (Pye makes his own, and it’s amazing)! Store bought jerky usually has – you guessed it – a high sugar content, so check the labels. If you bring jerky, though, I’d also bring floss (and mints) as it can get stuck in your teeth.
8. Protein Shake
I have a small shaker cup like this one that I prefill with my protein powder and a teaspoon of chia seeds. Then all I need to do is add in some water. The shake usually fills me up, and the chia seeds expand so I feel full longer. It’s a quick and easy snack, but as usual, be aware of sugar content in certain protein powders. If you are a vegetarian, there are some delicious planted-based protein powders on the market. I like the Sun Warrior brand for a raw vegan protein. For you meat-eaters, look for a whey isolate as opposed to a whey blend. The latter contains fillers and is not easily absorbed.
When Do You Have Time To Eat a Healthy Snack When Shooting a Wedding?
You may be thinking, that’s all great, Hanssie, but when do you even have the time to stop and eat a snack in the middle of a wedding day? My advice is to start looking for pockets of lull during the day. You may be in fear of missing important moments if your eye isn’t behind the viewfinder and your finger isn’t on the shutter every second of the day. First of all, let me remind you that you are not a robot. You need to fuel up. It’s important. If you don’t eat for long periods of time, you run the risk of low blood sugar and possibly fainting. Nobody wants that.
On a typical wedding day, I try to have a large breakfast of oatmeal or toast; something that is filling. I usually arrive 30-60 minutes before my start time and will eat a quick snack/small lunch before I begin shooting. Midway, though, I will eat a snack. This usually happens after the bridal prep portraits and pre-wedding photos/first look photos and before the ceremony. In the wedding day schedule, I always build in 10-15 minutes before the start of the ceremony for the bride and groom and wedding party to freshen up before walking down the aisle. As I make my way to the ceremony site, I usually grab a quick protein bar. This will usually tide me over until dinner is served, but if it doesn’t, there’s usually a small break after the ceremony and family and romantic portraits and the reception. Not always, though.
Other pockets of time that you could squeeze in a snack break could be when you’re shooting details, when you are photographing the reception area before any of the guests enter, when guests are being served dinner (and you won’t be for a while). The point is, there are brief downtimes during a wedding day. Don’t feel like you are slacking if you take a quick 3-minute break to eat a protein bar. Just don’t do it during a major moment. If you are that concerned about missing a spontaneous moment, get your second shooter to cover for you for those few minutes. If I’m shooting alone, I might grab one of the bridesmaids, and jokingly say, “I need to take a quick potty break. Be back in less than 5 minutes. Don’t let anything aww-worthy happen in that time.” No one has ever said, “NO. You cannot go.” They know we are human.
Not starving yourself and choosing healthy snacks on a wedding day is not impossible. It just takes a little pre-planning and some effort. Do you have a favorite healthy snack to pack when shooting a wedding? Comment with your favorite snack below.