Tag Archives: gluten free

10 Healthy Snacks for Busy People

So we all ideally want to eat healthier (right?) but sometimes don’t have the time to make healthy snacks  so we reach for what comes easy… like hitting up the vending machine or reaching for some unhealthy snack that takes 3 seconds to open and stick in your mouth for instant gratification. Been there! While working in corporate America, it become a cycle to fuel myself with crap just to get through the day, i.e. I didn’t get enough sleep at night leaving me more hungry throughout the day, more irritable and more likely to make small mistakes in my work. This was very stressful on my body (even if I brought a healthy salad for lunch) because in order to fuel myself I drank sugary coffee-like substances, ate sugary office treats or grabbed a bag of salty chips to shut my hunger up. I was working out  4-5 days a week but wasn’t losing weight, still getting acne, wasn’t sleeping better and was still stressed! All the while, I brought very healthy lunches with me to work thinking because I had at least 1  or 2 healthy meals a day would be enough to keep me healthy. Not the case, this cycle of mine was not a good one.

Here are 10 healthy snacks that you can prep at work or at home so you can easily grab something and satiate yourself in a normal 5-10 break at work. Most of these healthy snacks require you to bring things with you to work or better yet store them at work so they are always available in a pinch. I used to store my healthy snack ingredients (that didn’t need refrigeration) in my desk: Extra Virgin Olive OIl (EVOO), sea salt, pepper, seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower), healthy crackers, apple cider vinegar (ACV), nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut), and fresh seasonal produce that doesn’t need refrigeration such as tomatoes/avocados/ peaches/ nectarines/apricots/lemons/oranges/grapefruits/etc. Don’t forget a bowl, plate, fork, spoon, knife, etc if your place of work doesn’t supply these items to you.

  1. Photo cred: Leonie Wise

    Photo cred: Leonie Wise

    Avocado & Tomatoes with Olive oil, salt and pepper (Prep at work)- bring your avocado to work (feel free to use tomatoes too!) cut it up in a bowl, add EVOO, salt and pepper, mix with fork and enjoy.

  2. Bell Peppers (Prep at home or work)- Cut them up the night before and put into a ziplock or bring the peppers to work whole and cut them on your break, or bite into them like an apple… the green ones are not as sweet so beware!
  3. Photo cred: Juan José Valencia Antía

    Photo cred: Juan José Valencia Antía

    Handful of nuts (Prep at home or work)- If buying raw nuts in bulk, you should soak your nuts to remove some phytic acid, Here is a great example of how to soak your nuts (hehe) and why it is beneficial (shout out to the blog author, Kayla!) and also how to dehydrate them. Soaking nuts will make the process more time-consuming but when buying in bulk, it is much easier because they save well. Make sure not to eat too many, they are high in fat (good fat) but still have quite a few calories.

  4. Berries (Prep at home or work)- buy fresh or frozen but make sure they are ORGANIC Frozen berries- put a handful or two of frozen berries in a tupperware at night and take to work next day, use a fork or spoon and enjoy with all their juices. Fresh berries- wash and put in tupperware or bowl and eat.
  5. egg-869300_1280Hard-boiled eggs (Prep at home)- try to find eggs from chickens that are raised on pasture, hard boil the eggs the night before (I set a timer for 10 minutes because i really despised over-cooked hard-boiled eggs). Then after the 10 minutes, I pour the boiling hot water out, add really cold water, and let them cool a little. I then peel them and put them in a tupperware, rough-cut them in the tupperware, add salt, pepper, sometimes nutritional yeast for extra nutrients, and EVOO then put the lid on and stick it in the fridge to bring to work the next day, eat at any time for a protein boost.
  6. Cream cheese on crackers with salad greens on top (Prep at home or work)- spread your cream cheese (This is my favorite cream cheese) on cracker of your choice, add a little salt, pepper and some fresh salad greens like arugula, spinach, mixed greens and drizzle some EVOO on top. I sometimes add my soaked and dehydrated sunflower seeds, turkey lunch meat, tomatoes, etc and it can even become a full meal. It can get oily and drippy with the EVOO but it is totally work it!
  7. Cucumbers and Salt (Prep at home or work)- At home, cut up cucumbers and place in tupperware and add salt then put in fridge and bring to work the next day. Or cut up at  work, add a pinch of salt and perhaps even a spritz of lemon, then eat it up.
  8. IMG_3121Homemade no-bake chocolate-rice crispy treat (Prep at home)- I just threw some stuff together with no real measurements here, SO in a bowl mix up coconut oil, nut butter of your choice, brown rice syrup, raw cacao powder, cinnamon, vanilla powder, vanilla extract, pinch of salt then throw in some chocolate rice cereal (I used this one), then once you mix in the rice cereal with all the wet ingredients listed first, just pour it all into a pan, even the top and put in the freezer for an hour. Take out, cut up and enjoy, then store leftovers (if any!) in fridge.
  9. Apple, celery or banana and nut butter (Prep at home or work)- cut up fruit of your choice and add some nut butter (cashew, almond, peanut, etc)
  10. Photo cred: Alex Munsell

    Photo cred: Alex Munsell

    Homemade popcorn (prep at home)- buy USDA Organic or nonGMO corn only and no I do not condone microwave popcorn, even if it has “healthier” ingredients than the others. This is where I learned how to make my own without burning any kernels, thanks Elise! I make a big batch (3/4 cup or 1 cup un-popped kernels), season with nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and then put the popcorn in to-go bags to take as a snack.

Now I realize these are all not instant snacks but they are really not too time-consuming and will bring you back into consciously thinking about your snacks and how you are fueling yourself daily. After all, we all could stand to benefit from taking better care of ourselves. What do you crave while you are at work? Leave a comment and let me know…

Zucchini Lasagna (Gluten Free)

Hey there ZUCCHINI and/orIMG_3092 LASAGNA lovers, here is a hearty recipe for the Italian in each of us, still full of flavor and sans the pasta! My husband loooooooves lasagna and has been a bit bitter that I have never made it for him. Homemade lasagna takes a lot of time and effort (making and cutting the pasta dough, sauce, etc) so to cut down on time, gluten and starch, I used strips of zucchini instead of pasta/lasagna noodles and my own tomato-based pasta sauce that I make in large batches and freeze.

So, at the local farmer’s market, zucchini are CHEAP right now and cheap, organic produce is how I roll! Zucchini are really good for you too, here are some health benefits of zucchini (shout out to OrganicFacts.net)! So I bought a bunch of seriously large zucchini in the hopes of making some really yummy and healthy dishes.

Zucchini Lasagna (serves 4-6, prep time: 15-20 min, cook time: 50 min)

Ingredients (non-dairy and non-meat-eaters substitute with the appropriate non-dairy and/or non-meat items and let me know in the comments how it turned out!):

1 extra-large zucchini** (mine was HUGE, like the size of my inner forearm from the inside of my elbow to the top of my palm right where my fingers start (13-15 inches) and about as wide as the same palm (3-4 inches)… ( )= I’m ballparking here :)

1 lb ground beef, turkey or other protein substance

2.5-3 cups seasoned pasta sauce (mine was previously made with organic diced tomatoes which I simmered with basil, salt, garlic, onion, and a dash of balsamic) but any jar of tomato-based sauce will do

8 oz Mozzarella cheese (it will need to be shredded)

15 oz Ricotta cheese (I only needed about 12 oz. though)

1 T garlic powder

1/2 T onion powder

1-2 T salt (some for meat and some for zucchini)

1 T avocado oil

1 9×9 in pan for baking

1 sauce pan (enough to hold 1 lb protein and 3 cups of pasta sauce)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*F, brown meat/protein on low-medium temp in a sauce pan and add some salt, the garlic powder and onion powder while its cooking. Once it is browned, add your 3 cups of pasta sauce to the meat and simmer, I will refer to this meaty sauce as “meat sauce”

While meat is browning, cut up your zucchini into thin, long strips. I tried to cut mine really thin because I personally like several thin layers vs a few thick layers but i ended up cutting them thicker anyways (Doh!). It doesn’t have to be perfect, you can cover any thinness of your zucchini layer with another piece of zucchini anyway :)

Once you cut up your zucchini, grate your mozzarella so it is ready. While you’re at it, take the lid of your ricotta (assuming it comes with a lid) and make sure that is ready to go as well and have your salt on deck because you’ll need to sprinkle salt on each layer of raw zucchini.

OK, so once you are prepped and ready, coat 9×9 in pan with 1 T avocado oil (if you don’t have avocado oil, use a high smoke point oil that is not hydrogenated and don’t use extra virgin olive oil because the heat in the oven might be too hot for your olive oil). Then add a ladle full of “meat sauce” to your 9×9 pan and move it all around the pan like you did with the oil. Now you are ready for your first layer of zucchini. Place your first layer of strips to cover the whole pan, I recommend 1 layer only but if you do it any differently, let me know how it turns out in the comments!

Once you see no more meat sauce and only zucchini, add a sprinkle of salt on the zucchini (this will help its flavor (as long as your meat sauce isn’t too salty). After the salt, add another ladle or two of meat sauce. Next is the ricotta, I grad it with my hands and sprinkle blobs onto my lasagna, you can also spread and even layer if you like as well. After the ricotta, grab a handful of mozzarella and sprinkle on top (don’t neglect the corners of your pan because they need love too). Now you are ready for your 2nd layer of zucchini…

So it goes… oil to coat pan, then meat sauce, then zucchini layer (salt), then meat sauce, then ricotta, then mozzarella, then start over with zucchini layer (salt), meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, etc. until you get to the top of the pan. You’ll want to end the last layer of zucchini with meat sauce, ricotta and mozzarella and not just plain zucchini. Don’t fill past the top of the pan! If you have extra of everything, make a second zucchini lasagna in a separate pan. Lastly, you’ll want to use a fork to stab the top of the unbaked lasagna all over, as far as the fork will go to the bottom of the pan (this will help the juices move all around and distribute more even cooking). Then cover with foil or a lid and put in the the oven to bake.

Bake your zucchini lasagna for 50 minutes

**Please be aware that zucchini has a lot of water in it and that when this lasagna bakes, it will develop its own little pool of watery meat sauce (tasty sauce but not attractive on a plate), my husband and I didn’t mind it at all but if you do mind or are making it for guests, you can always scoop out the watery sauce after it is done cooking (or during) and use it in another dish or toss it out

Have you made any healthy takes on old favorites? Leave a comment below, I’d love to read about it!