Most of us spend a lot of time at work or away from our homes and packing a lunch may not be enough to keep us from straying from our commitment to eating better. I bring a bag of food with me to work and eat several small meals throughout the day to keep my blood sugar in check and myself away from the vending machine or the cookies someone else has brought in (although I have to confess, sometimes I also eat the cookies).
I also carry apples, pears, bananas, peanuts, almonds, low fat cheese and other portable healthy food with me wherever I go so I’m not tempted by all junk food out on the road. Eating well requires some planning but once you make it part of your routine it becomes very easy. I still need to learn how to cook but in the meantime, here are a few quick, easy & nutritious snack ideas that'll fill you up like a meal and require no cooking skills.
Breakfast, the healthiest meal of the day!
I don’t have time in the mornings to sit down and have a healthy breakfast so I take some Shakeology, mix it with 8oz of water (you can also use milk, almond milk, soy milk etc.) frozen fruit, coconut oil and some flax seed, and continue getting ready for work. I end up drinking most of it on my way to work. Already, I have started my day with tons of vitamins & antioxidants, protein, prebiotics and 10 or more grams of fiber. (The average person should consume 25g of fiber a day.)
I mix it up in a few minutes in my Magic Bullet but if you don’t have one, you can make enough for two days in a blender and keep it in the fridge. I can’t think of a faster and more effective way to power up in the mornings.
- You can also mix the chocolate flavor Shakeology with 6-8oz of cold coffee for a healthy version of café mocha!
- One of my favorite variations is mixing the chocolate flavor with 1 tbsp of peanut butter, ½ a banana and 1 cup of blue berries. I especially like this one on days when I train heavy with weights. I know I’ve fed my muscles with everything they need for a speedy recovery.
- TIP: To freeze bananas without the peel hassle, I take off the peel and wrap them in plastic wrap. Once they’re frozen it’s a breeze to unwrap them!
Oatmeal & peanut butter
My new favorite snack is steel cut oatmeal & peanut butter. You can also add about ½ tbsp of Nutela. I use a chocolate almond spread that has less sugar than Nutela but still tastes oooohhhhh sooooo gooooood!! In a pinch, you could use instant oatmeal but it just doesn’t have all the fiber, protein & nutrients of steel cut. It might take a few more minutes to cook over a stove top (you can also nuke it but I’ve had better results boiling it) but it’s still super easy to make. Right after its done simmering, I add a scoop of any flavor of Shakeology, second best could be chocolate or vanilla protein powder, to amp up the nutritional value and protein count even more. Make enough for a few days and keep it in the fridge. Then, when you’re ready to eat it, add a tbsp of peanut butter, chocolate spread, and microwave it for about 20 secs. to indulge guilt free!
- When buying the choc. spread, make sure it doesn’t have a lot of saturated fat or sugar. I buy MaraNath Dark Chocolate Almond which has 9g of sugar per preserving, (2 tbsp) and since I use less than 1 tbsp, I don’t add a lot of empty calories to my snack and still get plenty of yumminess.
Greek yogurt, granola & almonds
Take 1cup of plain low fat Greek yogurt, about ½ cup of granola or a cereal high in fiber (I like Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin FlaxPlus), ¼ cup of almonds (I chop mine in my Magic Bullet super quick) and mix it up. You can also add vanilla or a chocolate spread for additional flavor. If you take it to work like I do, you might want to keep the almonds & cereal in a separate container so they don’t get soggy. I usually eat this late in the afternoon and it fills me up the rest of the day. Stops me from going through the gazillion drive-thrus I see on my way home from work.
Apples & Peanut butter
Cut up an apple in 4 halves, trying to make the wedges as flat as possible so you can spread some peanut butter on them. It tastes great and is very filling. You can also try it with a banana.
Cucumber & tomato salad
Chop 1 cucumber, 2-3 tomatoes (depends on the size of the tomatoes and how you want your cucumber to tomato ratio) green onions, garlic, cilantro, sesame or olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and mix together in a large bowl then refrigerate. I try to always keep some of this salad in my fridge, so I can quickly add other ingredients to it throughout the week. For example, you could add:
- Low fat feta cheese, kalamatta olives and salmon. I’ve even used canned salmon and it tastes great.
- Canned tuna packed in water. I looove Costco’s white albacore canned tuna.
- Garbanzo beans (chick peas) and/or quinoa. Extra fiber & protein
- Obviously, you can also use this salad as a side dish.
I don’t have a lot of time in the mornings or at night so I make a lot of this stuff during the weekend. These “meals” or snacks are super fast and easy to make and require no talent in the kitchen whatsoever. I hope this helps you get through your busy week without sabotaging your commitment to clean healthy eating. What other quick meals keep you going? Can you think of any variations on the above? I’d love to continue adding to this list so it becomes a good resource to all of us. As we say in Puerto Rico, “buen provecho!”