Sure, you want to reach for a healthy snack—but if you forgot to pack cut-up veggies and the vending machine is right there, then odds are you're going to go with the bag of pretzels. If you find yourself in this type of situation more often than you’d like (by the way, I'd like to meet the superhuman who has never been in this situation), then keep reading. Here's what I do to keep my nutrition game on (as much as humanly possible) each week. Clear your schedule for just one short half hour on Sunday to prep these foods—and eat healthy all week long.
This one is so easy, you could probably do it in your sleep. Just place two cups of quinoa and four cups of water in a pot over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and let sit for seven to 10 minutes, or until the quinoa looks like it's sprouted a mini tail. Let cool, and place in container in the refrigerator. You can use this all week in all different ways: with almond milk and chopped walnuts for breakfast, on top of a kale salad for lunch, or heated up with frozen veggies and veggie broth for a side dish at dinnertime.
Iced Green Tea
What's better than an iced treat on a hot summer day? I'm a huge fan of making a pitcher of iced green tea with lemon and mint and sticking it in a beautiful pitcher in the fridge. Sometimes, when you think you're hungry and look into the refrigerator for something to eat, you'll see this tall pitcher and realize that's all you really need. No more mistaking hunger for thirst. Bonus: The catechins in the tea help protect your skin from the sun and slim your waistline.
When snack time comes around and you're sick of the plain-old apple and peanut butter combo, have an egg with some carrot sticks instead. Hardboiled eggs are beyond easy to prep and are super-portable. I like to leave a few in the fridge at work for midday or afternoon munchies. Not only are they convenient, but they're also a low-cal, satisfying protein choice.
Raw Veggie Snacks
Slice up carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, and so on, and place them in a big bowl. Before work, pack some veggies in the bag with an individual pack of hummus or guac. After work, snack on raw veggies with salsa to keep your hunger at bay pre-dinnertime. Whenever and however you eat raw veggies, they're super-nutritious.
Soak 1/4 cup oats in almond milk overnight in the fridge. In the morning, toss in half a banana, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a dash of cinnamon for a nutrient-dense (and delicious!) breakfast. I usually make three or four of these in to-go ramekins to have all week long (I'll switch up the fruit and seed choice on different days). The fibre and protein keep you energised and satisfied, and you feel so good knowing you've started the day without processed foods.
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Take Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and any other veggies, sprinkle with olive oil and fresh herbs, and roast at 180° C until slightly burnt. You can toss them into an omelette in the morning, place them in an airtight container and bring them to work to pair with nuts for an afternoon snack, or have them ready for a side for dinner.
No-Lettuce Chopped Salad
Plain old green salads can get boring, so mix things up with a lettuce-free salad base. Chopped celery, jicama, carrots, and green peppers make a solid foundation for toppings like feta and chickpeas and corn. Keep this base on-hand, and you’ve got yourself 75% of the way to a variety of lunches.
Go schedule that half hour for food prep in your smartphone now—it'll buy you a whole week of healthy breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Totally worth the time investment!