For years, I’ve struggled with managing my blood sugar levels. At 19, I was diagnosed with having pre-diabetes, and it completely changed the way I think about and approach food. I can no longer go half a day without eating, I always have to have a game plan about when and where my next meal is coming from. I have to pay attention to the amount of carbs and proteins I take in and how well they are balanced. At first, it was overwhelming but the longer I’ve lived with it, the better I’ve been able to handle it.
To me, one of the worst feelings in the world, one of the scariest and most out of control feelings is a sugar crash, so I do everything in my power to prevent them. I would never want one of these episodes to happen on a wedding day. On my client’s wedding days, I am committed to serving my brides, grooms, and their families to the best of my ability, and to ensure that happens I have to first take care of myself physically.
Photographers: You wouldn’t show up to a wedding without charging your camera batteries, so why would you show up without having eaten a good meal before either?
Over the last two years, I’ve gotten better about preparation and have learned what type of snacks help stabilize my sugar, give me energy, and allow me to eat quickly and discretely throughout a busy wedding day. These are items you can keep in your camera bag and grab when you have a moment of down time (I know-on a wedding day those moments are few, so you have to be really smart about them!).
Naked Smoothies: I usually try to get one of these down before the ceremony starts. I choose the ones with added protein so my carbs and protein is more balanced, and I will be able to have a sustainable energy boost that will get me through the family formals.
Kind Bars: I love these! They are loaded with nuts that are full of protein and fruits which are a natural source of carbs. These are a great snack in the car in between locations. *Edited to add, Clif bars are great too and I often have those in my bag as well because they’re high in protein!*
Bananas: I like bananas because they don’t crunch like an apple, they aren’t messy to eat like an orange, and they are a good source of natural carbs.
Fruit Squeeze Pouches, like this one by Peter Rabbit Organics: I know what you’re thinking, these things were made for children. What I like most about them is how quickly I can consume one. On a busy wedding day, you aren’t eating for enjoyment, you’re eating to sustain your energy so you can serve your clients. These are great if you’re out shooting portraits and start to feel your sugar crash. You can grab one conveniently and keep moving!
I also keep Starbursts in my bag all the time. While I know they aren’t nutritious, I prefer to have a fast acting sugar in the event my sugar starts dropping in the middle of a pertinent time during the day, like the ceremony. I can unwrap and eat a Starburst discretely, and it gives me the boost I need to make it until my next protein snack.
Starting your day with a balanced breakfast may sound like a commercial advertisement, but it’s actually the best thing you can do for yourself so you have energy to make it through a physically demanding wedding day! Eggs, fruit, greek yogurt, and whole grain toast is a great combination because it gives you good carbs and protein.
For photographers with health concerns similar to mine: My advice to you first and foremost is to always communicate with your clients about things like this PRIOR to booking. I set the expectation with my clients as far as my pre-diabetes is concerned from the very beginning (there is even a portion in my contract that mentions the vendor meal…because of my blood sugar I physically can’t shoot a wedding without one!). From my experience, as long as you’re honest, your clients will understand because they aren’t just a bride and groom, they are real people who care about your well being!