As a dietitian working in a hospital setting, I am constantly exposed to treats and sweets. Whether it’s the weekly Tuesday doughnuts brought by volunteers, or the cannolis and cake at a coworker’s baby shower, they are everywhere…just staring at me.
From what I have heard, this is the case for many people in their workplace. Despite not buying junk food or sweets, and eating healthy at home 98% of the time, temptations at the workplace always seem to get in the way. So what can we do about it? Plan ahead!
In an effort to avoid noming on sweets or afternoon trips to the cafeteria when I’m craving a snack or feeling extra hungry, I have started to keep a few simple, strategic items at my desk. Let me share:
Tea bags or instant coffee: Hot tea or coffee is a terrific way to stave off cravings and maintain focus. One brand of instant coffee I particularly like is Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee (no, it doesn’t taste like mushrooms) as it has half the amount of caffeine, but it does wonders for focus without the jitters! I like to leave a reusable coffee cup at my desk so I always have one on hand.
Prunes: Yes, I keep prunes at my desk. They are super filling and perfect when you are craving something sweet!
Peanut or almond butter: When I am running late in the morning, I will grab a banana or apple to go. Having some type of nut butter at my desk makes it more convenient, and adding the healthy fats and protein will keep you full much longer than eating the fruit alone.
Skinny Pop popcorn (or similar brand): This popcorn does not contain any artificial ingredients, is non-GMO, and high in fiber.
Trail mix: Most store bough trail mix is high in added sugar, expensive, and may contain undesirable additives. For this reason, I have started to make my own by adding a variety of nuts, gogi berries (or some type of dried fruit containing no added sugar), a sprinkle of cacao powder, and perhaps a drizzle of honey — mix it together and vwa-la! I keep mine in a mason jar at my desk.
70% or Higher Dark Chocolate: For the days those doughnuts are staring at you.
What healthy snacks do you keep at your desk? Share below!
Although the ingredients found in store-bought pesto tend to be fairly clean, nothing beats a homemade batch of the fresh stuff! I love being able to customize my pesto recipe as far as the types of nuts and seasonings I use. Basil is also an herb that is very easy to grow (even I haven’t killed mine) so I love making large batches when the basil is ready for harvest and freezing it for later use. This year we have multiple plants that have really flourished, so I have been using it in my salads, omelets and stir-frys as well.
Health Benefits of Basil
It contains powerful antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Two particular antioxidants it contains, orientin and viceninare, help protect white blood cells responsible for immune function, as well as cellular structures where DNA is stored.
Studies have demonstrated its ability to prevent and fight cancer by increasing antioxidant activity, positively changing gene expression, and inducing cancer cell death.
The gloomy weather over the past week has got me sipping all kinds of warming beverages, from hot water with lemon to an old favorite, matcha tea. In addition to its soothing taste, this beautiful green powder is a total powerhouse superfood. In fact, Japanese tea farmers have been growing it for over 1,000 years to obtain its health benefits! This type of tea is unusual in that the whole leaf is ground and consumed, as opposed to conventional green tea where the plant is simply seeped in water.
METABOLISM BOOSTING. It contains a powerful antioxidant, EGCG, which is known to boost metabolism. One cup of matcha has 137 times the amount as a conventional cup of green tea.
ANTI-CANCER. One bowl of matcha contains as many antioxidants as 10 cups of green tea.
STRESS RELIEF. It is high in L-theanine, an amino acid helpful in reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
DETOXIFYING. For several weeks before the matcha plant is harvested it is shaded from the sun. This forces the plant to compensate for the lack of light by producing extra chlorophyll, a potent detoxifying compound that binds to toxins in the blood.
In addition to these incredible benefits, I also love matcha because it gives me steady energy without the jitters and, when prepared such as below, it’s filling and will help satisfy sugar cravings!
Collagen Matcha Latte Recipe
1 cup water
1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 scoop collagen (optional)
1 tbsp coconut butter
1 tsp matcha
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey
Heat the water and milk together in a pot
Blend, sip, enjoy!
*To make an iced matcha latte, add a cup of ice instead of heating up the water and milk.
Have you tried matcha before? How was it prepared?
Over the years, as I started paying more attention to food labels and limiting processed foods, pancakes were on of the foods I started making homemade rather than buying a mix. Unfortunately, top brands are most often made with highly processed white flour, sugar, dextrose (aka more sugar), unhealthy oils (soybean, palm, canola), and have very little, if any, fiber.
My favorite part about these pancakes is that they only have two main ingredients and can be made in a matter of minutes! They are also very easy to customize by adding blueberries, chia seeds, nuts, cinnamon, cacao powder or dried coconut. Additionally, since the banana gives them a natural sweetness, minimal syrup is needed.
-2 eggs – 1 banana (I typically make this recipe when my bananas are about to go bad as that is when they are the most sweet!) – Optional ingredients to add to batter: cinnamon, cacao powder, coconut flakes, chia seeds.
– Top with: berries, nuts – Drizzle with: honey, pure maple syrup
Mash banana in a bowl using a fork.
Add 2 eggs and scramble together with the banana.
Add optional ingredients and mix together.
Cook pancakes on preheated griddle or large pan for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles form.
Flip and cook and additional 2-3 minutes until they are done in the center.
NOTE: I prefer to use coconut oil on the pan as it is stable at high temperatures and adds great flavor to the pancakes.
In an effort to save time and keep my meals nutritious during my busy workweek, I am constantly planning ahead. I pack my lunch the night before and place it, ready to go in my lunchbox, in the fridge. As for breakfast – although I prefer to cook breakfast, early morning alarms and a long work commute make cooking chaotic and time consuming.
This recipe has been one of my favorites for years. I make it all the time as part of my regular meal prepping and mix up the ingredients to get a variety. These are not only great for adults, but are perfect for little hands too!
The eggs serve as a great source of protein and healthy fats* to stabilize your blood sugar and help keep you full all morning. The vegetables are a great source of fiber and micronutrients. This is also a great way to get an additional serving (or two) of vegetables in each day!
*Eggs from organic, free-range chickens have TWICE the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in them compared to conventional eggs.
Here is the recipe:
8 organic, free-range eggs 1 zucchini (green or yellow) 1 sweet onion grape tomatoes sea salt oregano or seasonings of choice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Scramble 6 eggs in a medium size bowl.
Dice 1/2 the sweet onion and 7-10 tomatoes. Add to the scramble.
Spiralize then lightly chop OR grate the zucchini then add to the mixture.
Using a muffin tin, grease 8-10 cups or line with paper cups. Spoon mixture into tins and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.
Avocados have gained massive popularity in recent years, and for good reason! They are unique in that they are virtually the only fruit (yes, they are a fruit!) that is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also extremely nutrient dense as one serving, or 1/3 of an avocado, contains 20 different vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. One serving also contains 3 grams of fiber which, along with fat, helps stabilize blood sugar and keep you full for longer.