Imagine this. You get to work with your hot cup of coffee. Maybe you drink a basic Starbucks PSL or perhaps you are more of a Dunkin Donuts black coffee kind of guy or gal. Your store opens at 8:00 AM sharp and you already have four voicemails from clients, five people already waiting at pick-up and your coworker is late. Again! More work for you! An hour later, you pick up your coffee which is now cold. Welcome to your Monday!
You pick your head up at 12:00 PM only to realize you haven’t had anything to eat or drink in the last four hours of your 13 hour shift! Then you hear your stomach let out a grumble…You give a quick, longing glance at your packed lunch and know that even if you try to take a bite, your name will be called to answer a question or take a client call. If only there was a way to hook up an IV bag to get our food delivered to us automatically!
While we can’t give ourselves a food IV bag, there are some quick, portable snacks that can help carry you through the day!
Here are The Top 5 Portable Snacks for the Busy Professional:
1. Greek yogurt. Yogurt is a great snack for work. It’s quick to eat and it won’t go bad if left on the counter for a short period while you take a call or help a customer. Greek yogurt has about 23 grams of protein per cup and will help keep you full in between meals. A note of caution: there are a lot of yogurt brands that have added sugar, granola and other higher calorie add-ins. Steer clear of those! If you need some flavor, choose a plain greek yogurt and top it with berries, a small amount of honey or slivered almonds. If you hate yogurt, try low-fat cottage cheese!
2. Homemade Protein Smoothies. You can literally drink your food. Maybe that doesn’t sound too appetizing, but remember, you want simple and easy to consume. You’ll need four things: a base (almond milk, soy), greens (spinach, kale), fruit (peaches, banana, blueberries) and any boosters or supplements. Start with two cups of the base and add in two cups of greens. Blend. Then add in two cups of sliced fruit and continue to blend. As an option to increase your protein intake, add in chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp, cacao, and acai powder. Protein powders add extra nutritional benefits to your green smoothie. You can also add one tbsp of your favorite nut butter to add some fat, which helps keep you full. Very important!
This type of smoothie is super easy to prepare and takes less than 5 minutes to make. There are plenty of blenders that can get the job done!
3. Oatmeal with berries. Oatmeal is packed with fiber, which will help satiate you and keep you full. It also has beta-glucan, which has been shown to support reduction in cholesterol levels. Like yogurt, you can add your favorite toppings to the plain version. Some ideas would be blue-berries, dried cranberries, cinnamon powder or a drizzle of honey. You can also add protein powder to oatmeal to pack some added nutrition.
4. Sweet Potato Puree or Pumpkin Puree. I know it sounds like it belongs on a Thanksgiving table, but it is actually delicious and a quick way to get in some fiber, B vitamins and vitamin A. Add some cinnamon powder or nutmeg with chopped nuts for some healthy fats and to balance blood sugar. If you are choosing the pumpkin puree, make sure it is the pumpkin PUREE not the pumpkin pie MIX. The containers look the same and it is an easy mistake to make if you are in a rush.
5. DIY Iced Coffee Protein Shake. We all need coffee. Why not add in some protein and shake up your morning java? Try this simple recipe: two cups ice, one cup cold brew coffee, one scoop vanilla or chocolate protein, one small frozen banana and ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk. Stay caffeinated my friends!
Some other handy tips:
1. Plan your snacks the night before or the morning of before your shift starts. You can weigh out and pack the yogurt or sweet potato the night before. However, the smoothies may be better off being made right before you leave for work.
2. Select a day to go grocery shopping and make a list using the items you’d like to make for that week. The last thing you need is to run out to the grocery store the night before your 13 hour shift. Writing a list will also minimize trips during the week.
3. Make it fun! Add in your favorite ingredients to make work just a little bit more enjoyable.
The next time you hear your stomach grumble at work, reach for one of your ready-made snacks and smile! You aren’t going to starve today!
Top Five Portable Snacks for the Busy Professional By Dr. Christina Tarantola—Cranberry Chapter
Dr. Christina is a pharmacist, health coach and certified hypno-therapist empowering her clients to reclaim their health and create sustainable lifestyle changes.