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Black Friday Survival Guide: Tips on Staying Full While Shopping

Photo: a_namenko / Getty

With so many stores opening as early as midnight on the day after Thanksgiving, you’ll need more than sales ads and coupons to get through Black Friday. The key to surviving the biggest shopping day of the year is starting the day with breakfast and eating enough healthy snacks to keep you going strong all day long. Our Black Friday eating guide will help you to stay energized and rack up on all the great deals, while the competition is stuck fueling up on food court fare.

If you’ve ever shopped on Black Friday, then you know it’s practically like the retail version of The Hunger Games, with the aisles of Wal-Mart and Target reflecting some sort of post-apocalyptic life without electronics, clothing, toys, and home goods. And every year we step up as tributes, all for the sake of scoring a stellar deal on a flat screen TV or cookware set. No wonder people decide to skip the shopping marathon to stay at home in their pajamas and eat Thanksgiving leftovers. Hey, there’s always Cyber Monday to help us check off our holiday checklist, right?

But if you’re brave enough to risk a coffee pot being ripped from your hands or possibly being trampled over in the rush to a discounted slow cooker, you have to approach Black Friday for the sport that it truly is. Like with any sport, it’s all about the survival of the fittest, and the only way to survive Black Friday is to avoid shopping on an empty stomach. Hunger plus long lines and large crowds equals a dangerous mix. To push those heavy carts filled with goodies and to keep from crashing by mid-morning, here are some healthy tips to stay full, focused, and most importantly, awake on Black Friday. May the odds be ever in your favor. You’ll need it!

Eat Breakfast

Photo: Randy Mayor
  • Eating a protein-filled breakfast shouldn’t be hard considering the fact that Black Friday falls on the day after the feast of the year—Thanksgiving. Make use of leftover turkey or ham by mixing it with eggs and cheese in a satisfying omelet or have a turkey breakfast sandwich on an English muffin for the ultimate protein boost.
  • If you overdid it the day before and think you’re better served by skipping breakfast, think again. Even if you don’t feel up to it, try to eat clean breakfast foods and ditch the sugary, processed pastries and cereals to avoid a carb crash and blood sugar spikes later in the day. A balanced breakfast will help you to resist temptation from the food court when hunger pangs start.

Drink Up

  • If the intense crowds don’t stop you in your tracks on Black Friday, then dehydration and hunger surely will. So put down the pumpkin spice lattes and drink water throughout the day to keep your joints loose and headaches at bay. For all-day shopping adventures, make sure you bring a water bottle to refill, as most malls and some stores have water fountains. Of course, you can always buy a bottle of water or pick up a free cup of water from the food court.

Snack on High-Fiber Foods

Photo: Jennifer Causey
  • Eating plenty of fiber will keep you full and energized, ensuring you’ll eat much less throughout the day. By packing these dry snacks into your bag the night before, or grabbing some of these foods on your way out the door in the morning, you won’t be caught off guard when your stomach starts growling while waiting in the checkout line.
  1. Energy or Snack Bars - Not all protein bars are created equally, but our homemade snack bars have less sugar and artificial ingredients than the store-bought versions.
  2. Apple and Cheese Sticks - Apples and cheese sticks are not only packed with a lot of nutrients, but they're also easy to carry and a convenient on-the-go snack.
  3. Trail Mix or Granola - A sweet and salty snack mix made with pretzels, crackers, cereal, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, nuts, chocolate chips, or popcorn makes for a healthier alternative than buying greasy chips from the mall’s vending machines. You can also store homemade granola in a zip-top bag for a plain crunchy snack.
  4. Vegetables and Hummus - While vegetables and hummus aren’t necessarily purse-friendly on their own, you can pack celery, carrots, or cucumbers in a small plastic container or resealable bags with hummus.
100-Calorie Chocolate Snacks

Remember, surviving Black Friday is all about eating a balanced breakfast before you hit the mall, staying hydrated throughout the day, and refueling on snacks as you fight off the crowds for those must-have items.