Need new ideas for quick, portable and healthy meal options? We take a look inside nutritionist Theresa Albert's lunch bag to see what nutritious food she packs for a busy day.
1. Breakfast: Muesli in a Cone
This is a great make-ahead problem solver that has nothing but superfoods in it: probiotic yogurt, blueberries, chia and hemp, cinnamon, and grated apple.
Magic Muesli stays in the fridge all week and is a one-handed perfect set up for the whole day.
½ cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 apple, grated*
1 tbsp uncooked oatmeal
1 tbsp slivered almonds
1 tbsp white chia seeds
½ cup frozen blueberries
¼ cup hulled hemp seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
* or ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
Mix all of the ingredients together and you will have the right amount of protein (about 10 grams), fibre and nutrients to set you up for the day. Serve immediately or cover and keep remaining portion(s) in fridge up to 3 days.
2. Morning Snack: Feta-Stuffed Dates
Slice dates in half and stuff with a small piece of feta, for some fruit with protein.
When snacking, Theresa recommends taking 10 minutes to slow down and actually focus on your food. Doing so has been shown to increase satiety compared to eating while doing something else.
3. Lunch on the Go: Shrimp and Veggie Vietnamese Rice Wraps
Last night's "salade fatigue" (as the French call the salad that has been dressed and left to wilt in the fridge) is perfect for this easy lunch solution. Toss a few pieces of shrimp or fish or even cooked chicken or pork into this, and create a healthy rice wrap.
Theresa is personally as vegetarian as possible for lunch, and focuses on loading up on veggies to maintain her energy and get her 8 - 10 veggie servings a day. This lets her save carbs for later in the day.
4. Afternoon Snack: Sleep Nut Cookies
At this point in the day, the brain is slowing down and calling for carbs. We need carbohydrates to build serotonin to keep the brain working. Your body also wants a slow, steady stream of glucose to keep going at this time of day.
The trick here is to treat this as a small 100 calorie treat. These are not cookies to be eaten in stacks: you get one. And maybe a cup of green tea or an espresso.
Magnesium is the nutrient that muscles need to relax. This cookie can be eaten two or three hours before bed and can increase your magnesium level in the tastiest way possible, soothing you into slumber. Two cookies and one cup of milk is an excellent high-magnesium snack that's less than 300 calories.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies (2 cookies per serving)
2 cups any combo of all-natural nut butters (try almond, peanut, sunflower seed...)
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup honey
3-6 tbsp whole-wheat flour, divided
Combine all ingredients except flour in a bowl and mix with a spatula. Sprinkle in 1 tbsp of flour at a time until dough comes together and is quite thick and less sticky.
Use your hands to roll into 36 small balls and place onto a baking sheet. Press with a fork. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes.
The cookies should be a little soft in the middle; they will harden as they cool.