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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…

Turn Leftover Rice Into Delicious “Risotto” in under 20 min

My Mushroom And Pea "Risotto"

My Mushroom And Pea “Risotto”

I’m a big fan of getting the most use out of what I cook. Since I am the only “chef” between my husband and I, it is way easier to make rice in bulk (2 cups dry rice) so we can use it for a couple of meals during the week instead of only making what I need for 1 or 2 meals. Since rice is so handy and versatile as far as what you can make with it, its perfect to make in bulk!

So who doesn’t love a good risotto? Being Italian, I know it is a delicacy because mom rarely made it at our house… it is labor and time intensive (about 1 hour constant stirring, not including prep) so when she did, it was savored. If there is a risotto on a restaurant menu, I will usually order it because of this! Now while I love the flavor and all of the love that goes into a homemade risotto, it’s just not practical for those of us who don’t have the kind of time to cook, so tonight I came up with a faster, tastier version. Now while it’s not a real risotto, my husband can’t tell the difference and loved it. I almost forgot to take a picture so I made him stop eating so I could combine our rice on a new plate (to look prettier). We had a larger portion than this but I had to get a pic, hehe!

Bare with me here, I NEVER measure the amount of ingredients I add to a dish (unless following a strict recipe while baking) so be sure to play around with the measurements until you feel comfortable. For now, since this is my first recipe post, I will err on the side of caution and probably make sure the measurements are on the lower side. Moving forward, I will start to think about figuring out my exact measurements, to make following recipes easier. But as with any recipe, add flavor to your own taste!

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (I used wild rice which is why the pictured rice is darker)

1/2 cup white wine

2 cubes chicken stock (I make a large pot of broth and freeze half of it in large containers and the rest I freeze in normal ice-cube trays for when I need a little at a time while cooking) I bet you would be fine using between 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup chicken broth

1-2 cups frozen mushrooms (depending on how much mush flavor you like, I used shiitake for this but any edible mushrooms will work)

3/4 cup frozen peas (or more, again depending on your preference)

2 T oil  Use enough to lightly coat the bottom of your pan if food sticks to it!

Butter (optional) I used 2T after I turned off the heat

Salt (to taste) I used about 1T I believe for the whole dish

Directions:

On Low/Medium heat (I used a mixture of Avocado and Extra Virgin Olive because the heat remained  #3 out of 10 on my electric coil stove), heat the oil then add the leftover rice. Add the 2 cubes of chicken stock and wine, stir and let simmer with top on for a minute or 2 then add your frozen mushrooms and let simmer a few minutes, staying careful of keeping the liquid in the pan and not letting your “risotto” dry out because it needs to be moist and creamy, keep stirring every time you add something. If you think it’s looking dry, add more stock or wine and let simmer another couple of minutes. Add some salt then taste it. Peas don’t take long at all so those should be the last to go in unless you like them mushy haha. Once you are satisfied with the flavor and texture, turn off the stove and you can add in some butter if you like, then plate and enjoy!

This recipe will work with several different variants and additions of proteins, veggies and flavors- I happened to use what was in my kitchen.

If you try it yourself, let me know how it turns out and how the measurements played out for you… What would you add to make yours unique? Have you tried your own “risotto” recipe? I’d love to hear your comments :)