Food as Fuel for an all-nighter driving.
I have found enough wisdom with age to know that I am officially too old to pull this off easily anymore!
However, once in a while it happens...
I try to eat light meals so I won't get groggy.
Foods which seem to revive and increase alertness and energy for me are sweets. The sugars kick in faster than caffeine in this situation.
My standby is a trail mix from Trader Joe's which has nuts, dried fruit, butterscotch chips and chocolate wafer chips. Tastes great and really gives me a second wind fast.
Last night I dug into the box of Ikea cinnamon rolls my SO had requested I bring home. It did the trick and I dragged in at 4 a.m.
What do you count on?
Note: I'm most interested in foods as opposed to beverages.
Sunflower seeds. Something about the low-level but constant brain activity involved in cracking the shells in your mouth to get at the seeds works fantastically well for keeping me awake. Better than coffee.
It's also really hard to fill up on them, so I can just keep at em as long as I need to.
Mints...peppermint has been shown to increase alertness. When I'm feeling stale, a couple of strong mints give me a boost.
I use gummy candy's. They take longer to chew than other candys and they have some (not much) juice in them. The different flavors help as well.
I always like fresh or dried fruit. They take a little longer to digest than refined sugar like those in candy, but you sufffer less of a come down from them. They also provide moisture in a more measured dose eliminated the annoying bathroom stops. I also find salty nuts especially sunflower seeds keep my emotionally and mentally aware....I've never nodded off with a mouth full of sunflower seeds!
As an over-the-road trucker for 15 years, I've had a lot of chances to experiment. I found that chocolate covered espresso beans work well. Just chomp 5-6 for a little boost and when they start to wear off, chomp a few more.