Meal Prep Ideas: Easy to Bring to Work or School

Hi guys!!! Here are some easy meal prep ideas that I love to bring to work with me. When I make these meals in advance, I don’t need to go buy something unhealthy and waste money on food that doesn’t have much nutritional benefit. Meal prepping is a great idea if you have a very busy schedule, but still want to eat a healthy diet. I have a part-time job where I get a short 30 minute lunch break during my six hour shift. This doesn’t leave me a lot of time to go somewhere and order lunch, so bringing food with me is the best option. Here are some of my favorite meal prep ideas:

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

This first recipe makes a quick, easy and delicious breakfast for on the go.

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Chia pudding is a great meal prep idea because you can make it the night before, and  grab it in the morning on your way to work. You will need:

  • 2 cups coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or any sweetener of choice!)
  1. Combine all the ingredients into a mason jar
  2. Make sure to mix up the chia seeds at the bottom because they tend to get stuck
  3. Screw on the cap and shake it up!
  4. Place it in the refrigerator. Stir after 30 minutes, and then leave overnight.

That’s it! You can grab your chia pudding in the morning. I personally love to add fresh fruit in the morning!

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Pan Roasted Sweet Potato Fries and Veggies

This second idea is pretty simple, but it is so easy to play with and super convenient to take with you to work or school.

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  1. Chop up favorite veggies! I used brussel sprouts, carrots, yellow zucchini and sweet potatoes.
  2. Coat them in oil of choice (I love coconut oil)
  3. Season them as you please (I used Himalayan salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
  4. Place them evenly on a coated pan and pop them in a 400 degree preheated oven
  5. The sweet potatoes take a little longer, but the other veggies should be done in about twenty minutes

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It is great to have a ton of roasted vegetables ready to go because they are so versatile. I sprinkled the sweet potatoes with hemp seeds and green goddess dressing, and found this to be very filling for lunch. You could also pick up a salad somewhere, and add vegetables to them to boost the nutritional content. Another idea is to cook up an egg, chicken, or some fish and add it on top the veggies for an easy, quick meal.

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Green Smoothies

It is a great idea to blend up a green smoothie the night before work, and then keep it in a mason jar in the fridge before grabbing in the morning. Green smoothies are perfect to sip on for breakfast on your way to work, or you can pop them in the fridge at work for a snack or lunch. Smoothies are awesome because you can customize them and add whatever you want based on your nutritional and fitness goals. For example, to make a green smoothie more filling and suitable for a meal, add half of an avocado, a full scoop of high quality protein powder, nut butter, or even a tablespoon of coconut oil. More fat and protein in the smoothie will keep you fuller for longer. If you plan on having the smoothie for a snack, and then something else for lunch, keep it simple by blending up frozen bananas, spinach or kale, some chia or flax seed, with a liquid like coconut water or almond milk. The smoothie pictured below is blended banana, mango, spinach, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed, and coconut water. This made a perfect afternoon snack.

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Preparation is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. I realize work can make things much more stressful, but you should always commit time to prepare healthy food for yourself in advance. Eating better at work will help you feel more focused, driven, and motivated, so in the long run, you are investing in both your health and workplace.


Spirulina Banana Smoothie for Glowing Skin

This is a smoothie I have been loving recently, because it has so many nutrients that support glowing, healthy skin.

The main superfood star of this smoothie is Spirulina, which is rich in chlorophyll, giving it the incredible dark green color. Chlorophyll has many healing effects, such as hormonal balance and detoxification. Spirulina is also great if you don’t eat lots of meat because it is very high in iron and protein. It is also good to consume instead of dairy because it is high in calcium. I like having this smoothie post exercise because spirulina supports muscle growth and endurance due to the antioxidants and high protein content.

Here is what you will need to make this smoothie:

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  • 1 tablespoon spirulina
  • 1 tablespoon collagen peptides
  • 1 frozen banana (if you use an unfrozen banana, add some ice cubes)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or almond, soy etc)
  • 1-2 drops vanilla stevia drops
  • 1 big handful of spinach or kale (or both!)

Blend everything together until smooth. This smoothie has over twenty grams of high-quality protein which is amazing. This smoothie is creamy, delicious and perfect for post-workout. The collagen and spirulina combined give it tons of protein to refuel and rebuild tired muscles, and it also contains tons of antioxidants and minerals. I strive to have at least one big green smoothie every single because it is an easy and convenient way to get a ton of nutrients in one meal.

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How to make the BEST Spaghetti Squash…every time

Spaghetti squash is my new favorite vegetable.

Cooked spaghetti squash

This veggie is perfect for replacing carb-heavy dishes, like your favorite pasta dish. All you have to do is simply replace the pasta in the dish with spaghetti squash, add your favorite sauce and toppings, and you’re done! It’s that easy, and by making this swap, the meal now contains fewer empty calories, along with added fiber and vitamins from the squash. Spaghetti squash is rich in b vitamins and folate. Folate is especially important for women to consume because it prevents birth defects. Spaghetti squash is also high in potassium which is crucial for muscle function and recovery. This means it’s a great awesome for athletes. The calorie comparison is shocking. There are 38 calories in 1/2 cup cooked spaghetti squash, and 100 calories in 1/2 cup cooked white pasta. Most people don’t only eat 1/2 cup of pasta, but more like 1-2 cups. This means you could be saving hundreds of calories by choosing spaghetti squash over regular pasta. It is also incredibly easy to prepare.

Here’s what you will need to make this delicious squash.

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Coconut oil (or any other oil of choice)
  • Seasonings of choice
  • Aluminum foil

Spaghetti squash with coconut oil

  1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the innards, including all the seeds
  2. Place spaghetti squash facing up on a greased or sprayed baking sheet
  3. Get some oil (I used coconut) melted in your hands and spread it all over the squash (this is the fun part…make sure you get all of the squash covered up including the top or it won’t cook nicely)
  4. Season the squash halves with your favorite seasonings (I used a mixture of garlic, Himalayan salt, black pepper, and other herbs)
  5. Put some water on the pan (just some splashes to ensure the squash stays most)
  6. Cover the squash with aluminum foil
  7. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit

When the squash comes out, you should be able to poke a fork through it easily. Let them cool for a few minutes, and then you can use the fork to begin scraping at the inside to make the spaghetti strands.

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Just add your favorite sauce to the squash noodles and you have yourself a healthy delicious meal. Yay!

 

 


Rethink that Juice Cleanse

You’ve probably heard someone in your life before say, “I’m going on a 10 day juice detox.”

Green juice, watermelon juice, beet juice

Or cleanse. Or diet. Whatever it may be called, these regimens are dangerous, and often leave people in a worse position than before they even started. Drinking only juice for 5 or more days is dangerous and a starvation diet. Juices are naturally low in calories, so someone who is consuming only juice all day long will only be able to take in about 600-800 calories for the whole day. And on top of being active and working out? Not a good combination. Doing something like this is more likely to lead you to binge on unhealthy junk food, because you’re starving to the point of not caring anymore about the diet. And trust me, it will happen. So what’s my opinion on juicing? Should you avoid it at all costs? No, absolutely not!

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Freshly made juices can be a very healthy addition to a balanced diet…

but the key words here are addition and balanced. You should not be trying to survive on juices alone because your body will go into starvation mode and actually cling to fat. You will also end up being very moody and irritable simply because not enough calories are entering your body. I think it is fine to consume juices and smoothies and lots of fruits and veggies for up to 3 days (if for example, someone wants to “reset” their diet) but after that point, more hearty foods need to be added back in, so that you can maintain your muscle and well, your sanity. With all of that being said, I love to juice, especially from home. Investing in a juicer and making juice from home is actually going to be cheaper in the long run, so I highly recommend investing in a high quality juicer. This is the one I use. I usually will spend one day making all my juices (just because it is kind of a hassle and lots of clean up) and then store them in glass bottles to drink over the next few days. I highly recommend this method because you won’t have to deal with cleaning pulp out of a machine everyday (which can get very annoying and tedious). 


Here are the recipes:

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Green Beauty Juice (middle)

I like to call this my beauty juice because the spinach, carrots, oranges and mango are all very high in vitamin A, which is amazing for healthy glowing skin. Lemons are high in vitamin C, great for immunity, and turmeric is anti-inflammatory.

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 4-5 carrots
  • Large navel orange (with skin cut off)
  • Large yellow mango (with skin cut off)
  • 1 inch turmeric root (or 1 teaspoon ground)
  • Squeeze of lemon (you can also juice half of 1 whole lemon)

Watermelon Refresher Juice (left)

This juice is perfect if you just got out of yoga class or a long cardio session, and you need lots of hydration. Watermelon is 92 percent water (hence the name), so it is the best fruit to eat to replenish after you have lost a lot of water through sweating. Strawberries are also very high in water, and the lime adds a citrusy delicious touch to this juice.

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup watermelon (cut into cubes)
  • Squeeze of lime (you can also juice half of 1 whole lime)

Beet Detox Juice (right)

Beets are one of my favorite foods. I love their color and the benefits are endless. Beets are high in iron, which is critical for healthy blood circulation through the body. They are also known to increase endurance in athletes. Ginger is considered the best “detox” spice because it can help your gastrointestinal health by stimulating digestion and circulation which can cleanse waste-build up in the colon and liver.

  • 1-2 beets (peeled)
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • Large navel orange (can substitute with 2 small apples)
  • Squeeze of lemon

Instructions:

  1. Wash and prep all veggies and fruits
  2. Cut the fruits and veggies into pieces that will fit into the juicer
  3. Add them in one by one to make each juice and watch the magic happen!

All of these are delicious and nutrient filled elixirs. Drink up!!!


Easy Marinated Salmon Recipe

This salmon is so easy to do, and very delicious. Salmon is excellent to include in a balanced diet, and is one of my favorite fish. Salmon is high in unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids, which many of us are lacking. Omega 3’s reduce inflammation in the body and can prevent chronic disease. It is so important to eat Omega 3’s because the typical diet is very high in Omega 6’s (thanks to those nasty vegetable oils that is in all our food). Salmon is also high in vitamin B12, protein, selenium and potassium. It is very important that you pick wild caught salmon over farmed. Wild caught salmon, like the name indicates, are caught fresh, while farmed salmon are stuffed into tiny living spaces and fed antibiotics (similar to factory farming with cows and chickens). Not only do you not want to support these terrible industries, but you want to be eating fish that were in healthy living conditions before being caught.

To be honest, I don’t really have the exact measurements for this marinade because I tossed a bunch of ingredients together in a Ziploc bag, but it ended up tasting amazing. If you do not have coconut aminos, soy sauce or teriyaki sauce would also work. Apple cider vinegar can be substituted for any other vinegar substitute, or you can forgo it and just use olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • Wild caught salmon fillet
  • 1-2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons high quality olive oil (or avocado/coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Add all the marinade ingredients into a Ziploc bag and add the salmon in after the ingredients are mixed together

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2. Ensure the salmon is covered equally by the marinade (mix it around in the bag)

3. Allow the salmon to soak in the marinade for a few hours, then place it on a lined baking sheet with some more oil.

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4. Bake the salmon for ten minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I also like to broil it for three to five minutes after to get the crispy skin.

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I had this over a bed of greens with a baked sweet potato on the side. Simple, but very balanced and healthy. This meal contains antioxidants, protein, complex carbohydrates and is the best meal to replenish your body. Enjoy!

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Homemade Acai Bowls: Better than Store Bought!!!

This is a step by step instruction on how I make an amazing acai bowl right from home. All you will need are a few basic ingredients, and you can dress up the bowl however you like! Acai bowls are so nutritious because acai is a superfood. Acai is known for its high antioxidant content, which promote skin health and anti-aging. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, so it is very detoxifying. Lastly, it is an immune system booster because of all the excellent vitamins and minerals. Sounds great right? Not only are acai bowls delicious, but they are customizable and so healthy. You don’t have to go to a shop or expensive vegan restaurant to enjoy an acai bowl. It’s better for your wallet to make acai bowls from home, and they also taste better because you put your and care love into making it.

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Here’s what you will need to make the base.

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  • Acai packet (you can also use powdered acai if you cannot find the packets)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut milk (or almond, coconut water, or plain water)
  • 1 banana
  • Optional: Coconut flavor drops, Cacao powder, Maca powder
  1. Add the acai, banana and coconut milk into a blender
  2. If you want it slightly runnier, add more milk. If you like it thicker, add more fruit or acai
  3. Add 1-2 Stevia drops if you bought the unsweetened type of acaiAcai

Once the acai base is blended up, scoop it into a bowl and then you can add whatever toppings you like. I personally love adding fruit, cacao nibs, and then some seeds like chia, flax or hemp. Now is your chance to make it look pretty for Instagram 🙂

Acai bowl

Acai bowls are perfect for breakfast, post-workout, or whenever you desire a sweet, delicious, satisfying snack.


Grain-free Paleo Oatmeal

Why go grain free?

I recently decided to see if cutting out grains from my diet would help improve my skin, and it has helped dramatically. I no longer have the itchy bumps around my mouth that I had before. I was vegan for many months and as a vegan, you naturally consume lots of grains, legumes, and beans in order to get an adequate amount of protein because you cannot eat any animal products. Although I am not positive, I do not think this had a good effect on my skin because I constantly suffered from dermatitis. One reasons why grains can be irritating to the skin can be because of trace gluten. I have a gluten allergy, and therefore even if a grain is technically “gluten free” it can still irritate my skin due to trace residues of gluten.

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Still a bit of discoloration, but no where near as bad as it used to be.

Grains in the modern day diet are heavily processed and do not contain as many nutrients as they did thousands of years ago. For example, milling the wheat gets rid of a lot of the best nutrients and minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium (Source: PaleoLeap). In addition, many grains are synthetically engineered and have multiple chemicals added to them to prevent insects. Grains also contain Lectins which can damage the gut lining over time, and this is a problem if you already have gut issues which I have.

So, for some of us who enjoyed things like oatmeal, what are the alternatives? Luckily, there are hundreds and they are just as delicious.

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I got the recipe inspiration from this page

Here is what you need.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxmeal
  • 3tbsp unsweetened almondmilk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: Almond butter, sweetner of choice
  1. First, cut up the banana and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds
  2. Next, add the two eggs and beat them with the banana
  3. Add in the ground flax, almond milk, and cinnamon
  4. Beat the mixture
  5. Add it onto a pan coated with coconut oil
  6. Break up the mixture and mix it around until it resembles the consistency of scrambled eggs
  7. Put the mixture in a bowl and top with whatever you like.

*Lil tip: This is optional but I usually fry up the bananas in a pan with the leftover coconut oil to make them caramelized. I then add them on top of the “oatmeal” with some honey and almond butter and it’s seriously so good.

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I find that personally I do much better on a more paleo-based diet, but everyone is different!


Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods because they are delicious, and also extremely healthy for you. Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese and copper. They also are extremely anti-inflammatory, so they can be beneficial for skin conditions, and joint pain which are inflammatory problems.

Here’s how you make delicious sweet potato fries, right from home!

What you will need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (organic preferable)
  • Avocado oil (or any oil of choice, such as olive or coconut)
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Other seasonings of choice

That’s it!

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (yes it’s hot, but it makes the fries crispy)
  2. Poke holes in the sweet potatoes, and place them in the microwave for 7-8 minutes
  3. After they are microwaved, carefully remove them (they will be hot) and chop them into medium sized slices (You can remove the skin, but I like to keep it on)
  4. Coat the wedges in salt, pepper, avocado oil and other seasonings if desired (I used garlic powder, red chili flakes and dill)
  5. Put oil on the pan so that they do not stick, and arrange them evenly
  6. They should be equally spread apart so that they all can crisp upIMG_5860.JPG
  7. Put them in the oven to bake for ten minutes
  8. After ten minutes, take them out and flip them over
  9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until they are crispy

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Done!

I like them when they are a little burnt around the edges, but you can adjust the time depending on your personal preference.

Sweet potato fries

These are SO good and so healthy. You never have to feel guilty about eating fries again!

 

 


Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowls!

Smoothie bowls are an excellent way to get in tons of nutrients, and it feels like you’re eating dessert. I recently have been using Bone Broth Protein from Dr.Axe which I love, and it also tastes delicious!

Protein I use to make my smoothie bowls:bone-broth-protein-chocolate-178-oz-504-grams-by-ancient-nutrition

I like this protein because it is made from chicken broth, and only has a few added natural sweeteners such as stevia, and cocoa powder. The ingredients are very minimal, and best of all, this protein is soy free, dairy free, and grain free. I have recently cut out grains from my diet to see if it would have any improvement on my skin, and it has helped my perioral dermatitis dramatically. I will do a separate post, but I am still transitioning from a vegan diet to a paleo diet.

Here is what you will need to make this amazing smoothie bowl:

  • 1-2 Frozen, chopped up bananas
  • 1 scoop Protein powder of choice
  • Coconut milk or almond milk (to blend)
  • 1 tbsp Maca powder
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Cacao powder (if you want it chocolate!)
  • Toppings of choice!
  1. Add the bananas, protein powder, maca powder, vanilla extract and cacao powder to a high-speed blender
  2. The bananas must be frozen to make the ice cream consistency, if they are not frozen, add a few ice cubes
  3. Add a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk such as coconut milk or almond milk. If you like your ice cream thicker, use less milk. If you want it more runny, use more.
  4. Blend!

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After the icecream is blended, scoop it into a bowl, and now is the fun part. You can add a ton of toppings of your choosing to make it even more delicious.

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I added fresh mango, freeze-dried raspberries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and almond butter.

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So delicious and so many nutrients! I like having this for breakfast post-workout, and also as dessert if I am craving ice cream.


Sweet Potato Protein Pancakes

Pancakes anyone?

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Snowstorm Stella hit the Boston area pretty hard today, so I had time to make a delicious breakfast. I decided to give these sweet potato protein pancakes a try. Traditional pancakes are full of enriched wheat flour and sugar, both of which are not beneficial for your health. These pancakes are totally revamped to give you plenty of nutrition, while also being delicious. Sweet potatoes are known as a beauty food, because they contain lots of Vitamin A, which can help repair cell damage. In addition, sweet potatoes contain Vitamin C, making them great for boosting the immune system as well. I got this recipe from the Hungry Hobby Blog. I ended up modifying the recipe a little, but used the same basic ingredients.

You will need:

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  • 1 large sweet potato (I kept the skin on because it adds extra fiber)
  • 1 cup of egg whites (I used eggs that are organic and cage free)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I used Sunwarrior vanilla)
  • ¼ cup of flax seed
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Coconut oil for cooking
  • Splash of non-dairy milk (if you want the batter to be a little runnier)

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I also added 1 tablespoon of Vital Proteins Unflavored Collagen Peptides. I have been absolutely loving this stuff recently, and I try to incorporate it whenever I have the chance. Collagen is said to be the best anti-aging treatment you can do for your skin without any fancy creams or harsh surgeries. In addition, collagen has 9 grams of protein per one scoop (Source: PrimallyInspired). This means you will stay fuller longer and have less cravings. Instead of taking Advil for joint pain or muscle aches, take collagen! It contains amino acids, which aids in reducing inflammation and repairing tissue.

Instructions:

  1. Toss all ingredients into a blender (I used a Vitamix, which are the best blenders in my opinion), and blend the mixture until completely smooth
  2. Coat the pan in coconut oil, or any other oil of choice, but do not forget this step! Otherwise, you will make a huge mess
  3. Use a ladle to spoon the mixture onto the pan (they should be medium sized, but not too thick or they will not cook through) Flip after about 30-45 seconds

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This recipe makes about three pancakes, which is plenty because they are so filling! These are great for a post-workout meal because they contain so much protein, or as a healthy breakfast substitute for regular pancakes. I topped mine with maple syrup, strawberries and bananas. I also dusted them with more cinnamon, because you can never have enough cinnamon! It has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties (Source:Organicauthority). You could also add some nut butter or chocolate chips!

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