Life can be hectic. Gone are the days where the men were the primary bread-winners of the home and the women stayed back to spend their days cooking, cleaning, and looking after their army of kids. Statistics are now showing a sharp rise in families with children having both parents working too (60%), which is more than double what it was only a generation ago. It’s become the norm for couples to start (much) smaller families later in life, and along with the crummy economy, it means women have become accustomed to also bringing home their own share of the bacon.
This of course means busier lifestyles for everyone. Mornings generally are a race against the clock as everyone rushes to get out the door for work or school, and it can be quite the struggle to pack a healthy lunch in a hurry.
The office I work in currently is full of people who scoff at my homemade snacks and lunches, and would much prefer to spend their hard-earned cash at pubs or at a drive-thru. Their thin wallets and expanding waistlines reflect their poor eating habits though, so I don’t take offence when they laugh at my jumbo salads or breakfast shakes!
Commuters and those with more demanding jobs may even turn to food to help them cope with their higher stress levels, which combined with a lack of exercise can further wreak havoc on their health. It doesn’t help that so many companies are banking on these people by shelling out “on-the-go” snacks and “minute meals” that are ready after a quick pop in the microwave but are laden with preservatives, chemicals, artificial nutrients and next to no nutritional value. The convenience is exchanged for poorer quality of food.
The simplest solution is to go back to our roots. Only a few decades ago, ready-made snacks weren’t available, and the only thing that existed were homemade meals, or fruits & veg for snacks! Not only will home-prepared meals help you save a bundle of money, but you’ll be eating foods that you know are good for your body. The more nutrient-dense your foods are, the more your body will benefit from those energy sources. It’s as simple as that.
I like to always have a variety of fruits and vegetables readily available for those moments where I’m running out the door and know I’ll get hungry later in the day. As soon as you return from the farmer’s market, orchard, garden or grocery store, wash and cut up your fruits and vegetables (if necessary). Put each serving in individual containers and then place in the fridge so that you can easily grab-and-go. 5 minutes of prep time can result in stress-free mornings and a happier digestive system and body.
Here are a few of my favourite fruits & veggies to ALWAYS have on hand:
- pears (seasonal)
- peaches (seasonal)
- cherry tomatoes
- cauliflower & broccoli
Fruits are sweet enough on their own, but if you need some extra flavour with your veggies, I like to add a homemade guacamole dip or homemade hummus.
Along with the typical snacks from mother nature, there are lots of other options you can quickly whip together when you’re strapped for time:
- fruity yogurt parfait
- hearty superfoods oatmeal
- whole grain toast topped with avocado & spices, or rice cake with nut butter & sliced bananas
- granola with homemade almond milk (packed separately to avoid sogginess)
- trail mix
- homemade musli bars
- Ants & Birds on a log (celery topped with nut butter, almonds & raisins)
- leftovers from last night’s dinner
- Homemade Superfood Breakfast Cookies
- deviled egg or hard-boiled egg
- Homemade Crispy Kale Chips
- super smoothie
- chia pudding
- Mediterranean Grains Salad
There are tonnes of other great snack ideas too, you just have to be creative. Meal prepping helps immensely, but remember that if you always keep good, healthy food in your kitchen, that’s what you’re forced to eat.
Keep it healthy!