Guide to Eating Well at Work

The workweek is hectic for most and in the mad scramble to keep up with life’s dizzying pace, finding time to prepare healthy meals and snacks can be challenging. And even if you do carve out time to make meals and snacks in advance, it can be difficult to come up with new ideas and feel inspired when it comes to packing that lunch bag. Here are some ideas to help spice up your workweek meal routine.

Time-Saver All-In-One Caffeine Smoothie

An ideal morning usually includes a nutritious breakfast and probably a little caffeine to help get us going. But what if there was a delicious way to combine those elements in one easy, on-the-go meal? A breakfast smoothie with a shot (or two) of coffee does just that. There are many different riffs on the caffeine-laced smoothie, but one of the quickest and easiest to whip up includes one banana, one to two ounces of chilled coffee, a scoop of chocolate protein powder, one cup of milk (almond or coconut milk are good dairy alternatives) and some ice, blended until smooth. Not keen on protein powder? This recipe for The Jumpin’ Monkey substitutes cocoa powder instead.

Best Takeout Breakfast Options

Left the house without eating breakfast? Don’t wait until lunch to fuel up. Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day as it restores energy and blood glucose levels, helping us perform better both mentally and physically. There’s no doubt that convenience tends to come at the expense of nutrition when faced with fast food options. When your morning meal is coming from a drive thru, it helps to have a game plan to help make better choices.

For breakfast items, look for things that are lower in sugar and sodium, contain protein and ideally some fibre. Another good rule of thumb is if you’re grabbing fast food, forego the syrupy sweet coffee beverage on the side and opt for a fruit juice, regular coffee, or some milk. Some decent breakfast options include:

Starbucks – Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap (290 calories, 19g protein, 830mg sodium)

McDonalds – Egg McMuffin (290 calories, 16g protein, 760mg sodium) -or- Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (290 calories, 5g protein, 90mg sodium)

Tim Hortons – Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich (350 calories, 20g protein, 960mg sodium)

Fresh Spin on Lunchtime Sandwiches

According to a survey conducted by Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter, Americans will consume close to 3,000 PB&J sandwiches in their lifetime. It makes sense. The mighty sandwich has been a lunchtime mainstay since our earliest days as schoolkids. What it lacks in creativity, it makes up for in ease of preparation and transport. But if you’re looking to break out of a PB&J rut, consider trying one of these:

  • The cheddar and apple sandwich wins major points for simplicity and originality – fruit in a sandwich? Revolutionary! Thin crisps of granny smith apple are reminiscent of the classic cucumber sandwich and are complemented by slices of aged cheddar and some grainy mustard. The best part is that, on any given day, you’re likely to have these ingredients on hand, making it an easy throw-together option if the fridge or pantry is looking a little empty.
  • Another great twist on a classic is the PLAT . Consider it the slightly more elegant cousin to the BLT. The PLAT features pancetta, lettuce, avocado and tomato. If you’ve got a little extra time for preparation, whip up the accompanying romano aioli. If not, a simple base of mayonnaise and/or grainy mustard works too.

Awesome Make-Ahead Snacks to Grab and Go

The appeal of preparing meals or snacks in advance is the extra time you save for when you need it the most. And when those make-ahead snacks also happen to be quick and easy, it’s a total win-win. These two options are great because quantities are easily scaled so that you’re covered for snacks all week long.

  • Mason jar yogurt parfaits not only look great because you get to see those pretty layers of yogurt, granola and fresh fruit, but are also super easy to put together and travel well in your lunch bag.
  • No-bake protein bites, like these ones just might be the most life-changing snack option ever. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but honestly, it doesn’t get much better than mixing some oats, peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips or raisins, coconut, and whatever else your heart desires in a bowl, rolling into balls, and chilling in the fridge. The hardest part is not eating them all in one sitting.

Go-To Snacks to Stash in Your Desk

On those days you couldn’t pack some snacks in advance, it can be particularly tempting to make some poor spontaneous choices – 25 Timbits is equivalent to just one doughnut, right?

Having a stash of quick and easy snack foods at your desk is the perfect solution to help get you through the mid-morning or afternoon slump. A resealable container of mixed nuts and dried fruit is great when you find yourself snackish during a particularly tedious or absorbing task and want something that requires zero thought or effort. Try and mix it up when it comes to mixed nuts and include cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts.

Having instant oatmeal packets on hand will ensure you always have a hearty, satisfying snack or breakfast option on hand. Need a little sweetness to make those oats more palatable? David’s Tea sells perfectly sized single servings of agave syrup .

There isn’t much extra time during the workweek so it can be easy to let office lunches and snacks take a backseat to more pressing priorities. Having a few simple, timesaving ideas can make eating well at work more feasible.

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