Long commute? Before you head home, grab a drink. Staying hydrated helps us feel refreshed and fight fatigue. Here are a few drinks you can pack ahead or pick up while on your way home or back to work:
- Water is always a good option, plain or fizzy. Bring a reusable bottle to work daily and refill it with fresh water before you leave.
- Latte made with plain and low fat milk, without sugary syrups or whipped cream. The decaf option will help you cut down on caffeine intake.
- If you like tea, ask for green, black or herbal tea. Skip the sugar; enjoy the taste of the tea itself.
For more hydrating tips, visit: http://www.dietitians.ca/Nutrition-Resources-A-Z/Factsheets/Miscellaneous/Why-is-water-soimportant-for-my-body—Know-when-.aspx
Rushing home to a chaotic kitchen? Try the following Dietitians indorsed simple ideas that will have dinner on the table in a flash:
- Got vegetables? Stir fry veggies and chicken to serve over brown rice, quinoa or couscous.
- Got eggs? Make a Mediterranean omelette with black olives, roasted red peppers and feta cheese.
- Got pasta? Sauté cooked linguine with tomatoes, mushrooms and browned lean ground beef or turkey.
- Got cheese? Grill a yummy quesadilla with cheese, corn, cilantro and black beans.
- Got lentils? Make a flavourful curry or soup filled with red lentils and diced potatoes, carrots and tomatoes.
For more simple meal ideas, visit Cookspiration: http://cookspiration.com/
Avoid pre-dinner munchies. Pack healthy snacks for the commute home.
Need a snack to enjoy on the commute home so you don’t eat your way through dinner preparation? Here are five portable, flavourful snacks that will last in your lunch bag until the end of your workday:
- Fruit and veggies – an apple, a pear, a small bunch of grapes or cherry tomatoes.
- Small portions of trail mix with whole grain cereal, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
- Homemade whole grain muffins.
- Spicy roasted chickpeas mixed with popcorn.
- Plain, high-fibre, lower-sugar cereal, granola or nut bars.
Scrambling for supper at the end of a busy workday? Recruit your family to help!
Planning and preparing meals as a team can help you feel less stressed about feeding your family during the mealtime rush:
- Connect on the weekend and plan meals for the week.
- Choose simple options that everyone enjoys such as fajitas or pasta with veggie-filled sauce.
- Get everyone to help prepare ingredients for the next day’s meal the night before.
- Assign meal prep tasks your family can begin when they get home at the end of the day. Less experienced helpers can set the table or get ingredients from the pantry.
For tasty meal ideas that everyone in the family can enjoy, visit Cookspiration: http://cookspiration.com/
It is always healthier to prepare meals from scratch with natural ingredients; and this is everyone’s wish. Life can be busier than this standard recommendation in some cases. Convenient foods have become popular in the busy lives of people who work and or have families to cook meals for. Healthier convenience foods, combined with fresh ingredients, can help you make tasty meals in minutes. Choose items with less sodium, fat and sugar. Here are 10 convenience foods that make great healthier shortcuts:
- Light canned tuna or canned salmon
- Pre-cut butternut squash
- Canned legumes such as chickpeas or lentils
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Shredded cheese
- Plain frozen fish fillets
- Frozen vegetables and fruit
- Fresh or frozen whole wheat tortellini
- Whole grain pizza crusts
Feeling short on time? Enjoy a sandwich for supper. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Sandwiches made with whole grain bread, tortillas or flatbread and filled with delicious, good-for-you ingredients make for a perfect casual supper. Try these tasty sandwiches, served with a side of crisp raw veggies:
- Fresh roasted turkey breast, avocado, tomato and lettuce
- Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced pear and spicy red pepper jelly
- Fresh roast beef, roasted red peppers and red onion
- Hummus, thinly sliced cucumber, shredded carrot and lettuce
Make a no-fuss meal with just six simple ingredients! You don’t need a long list of ingredients to make a healthy, delicious meal. Get inspired with these ideas, which use just six main ingredients:
- Cheesy Frittata – eggs, spinach, diced potato, red onion, milk and old cheddar cheese baked together into a fabulous frittata
- Lemony Pasta – whole grain pasta tossed with grilled zucchini, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, chickpeas and freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Loaded Sweet Potato – baked sweet potato topped with black beans, green onion, tomato, cilantro and a spoonful of plain yogurt
- Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetables – This one-pan meal is a true weeknight wonder. Let the chicken roast for 15 minutes while you chop potatoes, radishes and scallions. Then add the veggies and return the pan to the oven for 20 more minutes, and dinner is ready.
Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetables
Mid-Day-Slump Its mid-afternoon and you’re feeling like a little something to eat. Before you bite, stop and ask yourself if you’re hungry, bored or stressed. If you’re bored or stressed, take a break, do some stretches or go for a walk. If you truly are hungry, eat a small, nutrient-rich snack, but don’t dine at your desk while you work. It’s easy to eat more than you need when you’re distracted. Instead, take a break away from your work. Pay attention and enjoy what you’re eating. Stop when you feel satisfied. Mid-day slump sinking in? No need for caffeine! Energize with a walk, some water or a small snack. Try these three healthy habits to help yourself skip the slump:
- Move it! Stand up during phone calls, walk to deliver messages instead of emailing, or do a few stretches at your desk.
- Grab a small snack. If you’re hungry, have a snack with carbs to fuel your brain and protein for longer lasting energy like: Dipping carrot sticks in nut butter, or enjoy cottage cheese with fruit.
- Drink water. Staying hydrated helps you avoid that sleepy feeling. Add cucumber, lemon and mint to perk up your cup. Replenish often so you can keep on sipping before a slump sets in.
The primary reasons for choice of snack are enjoyment, indulgence and convenience. Snacking may help moderate appetite and lower energy intake at subsequent meals; however, increased snacking frequency (not associated with hunger) and poor food choices may actually contribute to poor health. Unhealthy snacking has also been associated with poor cognitive functioning at work. Snacking is on the rise in Canada. We’re typically twice-a-day snackers with more than 34% of Canadians reaching for afternoon snacks to bridge the hunger gap. Snacking can be healthy if you’re hungry between meals however, there’s a difference between a treat and a snack. Treats, such as cookies, chips or chocolate, are low in nutrients and best saved for occasional enjoyment. Choose small portions of nutrient-rich foods to stay energized and satisfied. Did you know!!!
- The top 5 snacking choices of Canadians are: fresh fruit, gum, yogurt, potato chips and chocolate candies.
- 52% of snack foods are purchased at the grocery store; more people are making/ assembling snacks at home to take with them than purchasing from outlets such as convenience stores.
- Smoothies have been the fastest growing trend on the Canadian restaurant scene; they are most popular as an afternoon snack. Coffee is the second most popular beverage in Canada (after water); the average Canadian drinks 3.2 cups of coffee a day.
Here’s the bitter truth about the sugar content of popular sweet drinks:
- A large (473 mL) specialty coffee with syrup and whipped cream has the equivalent of 17 sugar cubes.
- A large (541 mL) fast-food smoothie made with juice concentrate has as much sugar as 20 cream-filled chocolate cookies.
- A big (500 mL) sweetened bubble tea has the same amount of sugar as two cans of pop.
- A large (563 mL) coffee shop “double-double” has the same calories and more sugar than a chocolate glazed donut.
- Swap your sweet sips for water, small smoothies made with fruit or plain lattes, tea or coffee.
Pack smart snacks! Smart snacks are rich in nutrients, with carbohydrates to fuel your brain, fibre to fill you up and protein to help energy last longer. Ten top recommended snacks to pack in your lunch bag:
- Whole grain crackers with a hard-boiled egg
- Handful of grapes with a chunk of cheese
- Veggie sticks with hummus
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Fresh fruit added to yogurt
- Handful of nuts with dried fruit
- Edamame and mint-infused water
- Snap peas with black bean dip
- Banana with peanut butter
- Crunchy roasted lentils and green tea
Are you stressed at work? Don’t feed your feelings with food! If you reach for a sweet treat when you’re stressed at work, you’re not alone. Studies show that stress increases the desire to eat for some people. High-fat, sugary snacks are common comfort foods chosen to cope with stress. The next time you’re stressed at work and craving a treat, ask yourself, am I hungry? If the craving comes from stress rather than hunger, food won’t satisfy it. If eating to deal with stress becomes a habit, it could be bad for you. Don’t let food be your comfort. For tips to beat stress without food, visit: http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Alcohol/A-Menu-for-Good-Mental-Health.aspx#. U9aDTqhfkY8 Staying hydrated helps us feel refreshed and fight fatigue. Here are a few super sips to pack ahead or pick up while waiting for transit:
- Water, plain or fizzy, is Mother Nature’s elixir! Bring a reusable bottle to work daily and refill it with fresh water before you leave.
- Latte. Frothy and filled with nutrient-rich, hydrating milk. Go plain and low fat, without sugary syrups or whipped cream. Try decaf to cut the caffeine.
- Tea. Ask for green, black or herbal tea. Skip the sugar; enjoy the taste of the tea itself.
No time to pack lunch? Try these healthy eating ideas for eating out or eating well at work!!
If you want a salad-
- Choose dark leafy greens, colourful veggies, protein-packed legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and whole grains such as barley or quinoa. Use small amount of low fat dressing.
Do you love pizza?
Get a thin whole grain crust, load on the veggie toppings, stick to a single layer of cheese and steer clear of salty, high-fat meats.
Craving a sandwich?
- Choose whole grain bread. Double up on veggies. Skip deli meats – go grilled instead. Get spreads on the side and use just a little.
- Satisfied by stir-fries? Ask for extra veggies and less sauce with your chicken, tofu or shrimp stir-fry. Choose brown rice instead of white.
Keep these general tips in mind when you’re eating out:
• Downsize it. Ask for half-portions or save part of your meal for tomorrow’s lunch. • Choose steamed – or baked, broiled, grilled or roasted – instead of fried. • Double up on veggies. Choose leafy green salads or cooked veggies for sides. Pile veggies on your wrap, pizza or burger. • Don’t get too saucy! Salad dressings, spreads and sauces can add a lot of fat, calories and sodium. Get them on the side and use just enough for flavour.
Want a healthy homemade lunch at work but don’t have time to make it?
- You can join or start a healthy lunch club. Form a lunch club with co-workers and take turns making and bringing a nutritious lunch. Keep it simple with a salad, soup or sandwich club. You could also have fun with weekly themes, like cuisine from different cultures or dishes featuring specific nutrient-rich ingredients, such as legumes, cheese, barley or colourful vegetables. Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, a workplace lunch club lets you enjoy a healthy homemade lunch and share good eating habits with your colleagues.
- Throw in your left-over foods OR get all recipe ingredients prepared the night before (cut-up mushrooms, peppers, trim asparagus, boil lentils/beans, rice, pasta). Cook in the morning in few minutes.
The smell of spring is everywhere!!!
As we are about to say goodbye to winter and its freezing temperatures, we may want to enjoy some of our winter dishes in sweet expectation for spring. One of my favorite winter dishes is the Mexican Layered Bean Casserole. Most children like casseroles and I have a way of satisfying my children’s taste buds with my lower calorie casserole that would give about 325 calories per serving. This dish is quick and easy to make and takes less than 30 minutes of your time – can be a good leftover or freshly made food for your family’s brown bags.
Mexican Layered Bean Casserole
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Eating healthy lunches while at work can be challenging. Lunch is the most popular meal that gets eaten outside the home and the meal least likely to be prepared at home. Packed lunches assembled with a combination of prepackaged foods are popular, primarily due to time and convenience. These pre-made foods are helping consumers to skip lunch less often. Packed lunches are often eaten at a desk or workstation; bringing lunch from home and eating at a desk is done mostly to save time or money. Eating lunch at a desk likely means that the eater is distracted and this may lead to overeating.
Packing your own lunch is a healthy and budget-friendly habit. It does not have to be boring or same everyday! Turn previous day leftovers into the next day lunch, with these ideas:
- Leftover chicken or turkey, avocado, cheese, baby kale and tortilla can make a scrumptious southwestern wrap.
- Leftover barley, rice or quinoa, diced tomatoes, black beans, red onion, lime juice, hot sauce can make a yummy vegetarian lunch bowl
- Leftover roasted vegetables, feta cheese, lentils, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar can make savoury dish that’s tasty hot or cold
You’ll love these quick, simple and tasty make-and-take lunches:
- Layer black bean dip, avocado and peppery arugula on a rustic whole-grain baguette for a simple sandwich with big flavour.
- Pack hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fresh veggies, a few olives and whole-grain crackers for a super snack-like lunch.
- Mix lentils, roasted sweet potato and red peppers, quinoa and a drizzle of lemony dressing for a protein-packed salad bowl.
- Toss light tuna, snow peas and grape tomatoes with leftover whole grain pasta, basil-filled pesto and a pinch of chili flakes – this dish is great cold or heated. http://www.dietitians.ca/Nutrition-Resources-A-Z/Factsheets/Lunches/Brown-Bag-Lunches.aspx
- A Vegetable Fried Rice can make a hot lunch at work if you start a night before or use left overs in preparing food in the morning.
Recipe: Vegetable Fried Rice (serving 4)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup rice (2 cups leftover cooked rice)
- ½ cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- ½ cup thinly sliced onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup thinly sliced carrots
- ½ cup thinly sliced green pepper
- 500 grams lean beef (cut in small chunks)
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- Spice up with oregano and curry
- Salt and pepper
Boil Rice over medium heat until rice is tender. This will take about 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Set rice aside.
In a sauce pan, add beef, water, oregano, curry and salt (pinch). Boil meat at medium heat until tender (leave some broth with beef for a moist texture).
Heat oil in a large fry pan (mildly). Add celery, onion, carrots and green pepper and stir-fry until vegetables are crisp-tender (should take about 6-8 minutes).
Pour rice and beef into vegetable stir-fry. Add desired amount of curry, 2tbsp soy sauce and a small amount of oil; continue to stir until rice and vegetables are mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.