The Lazy Person’s Guide To Supermarket-Bought Healthy Snacks For Work

healthy work snacks

Whether you’re a clean eater, paleo devotee, or you eat to fit your macros, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that eating fresh fruit and vegetables or food you’ve prepared yourself with no nasties added is the best way to eat. It just makes sense to know exactly what’s in your food!

If you eat that way all the time, then kudos to you, but the reality is we all live busy lives and it’s difficult to create every snack from scratch, especially when all the washing up from your meal prep is still dirty in the bowl. The best we can do at these times is try and make the healthiest decision possible, so to help you out I’ve taken a closer look at five snacks you can buy straight from the supermarket aisles on your way to work to see if any are wise choices for quick desk snacks!

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How I Meal Prep Like A Boss

meal prep

Working in town with loads of healthy food choices (and not-so-healthy for those kind of days) meant I never really had much of a need for meal prep. Sure, sometimes when money was a little tight I’d cook a few days’ worth of meals and take them to work, but I never really enjoyed eating re-heated chicken and rice when I knew Barburrito was just around the corner.

Now I’m leaving for work at 7am and getting home after CrossFit at 9pm, and the thought of chopping vegetables makes me want to weep when all I really want to do is shower and hop into bed. I’ve been preparing meals in advance for dinner, and I think I’ve just about cracked what works for me.

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Get Your Greens In

get your greens in

Everybody knows they should be eating more vegetables, in particular leafy greens, but it can be difficult to stomach green stuff on its own. It’s worth it, though; as well as being full of iron, they also have high levels of vitamin K to prevent age-related conditions developing, can reduce cholesterol, and have more protein per gram than meat. The more bitter a green veg is, the more calcium it contains, meaning it’s perfect for keeping bones strong. The jury’s out on whether greens help to prevent cancer, but as some studies indicate yes it’s in our best interests to aim for a couple of portions a day.

Lots of green food is classed as a superfood, too – chlorella, spirulina and wheatgrass are words you’ll oft-hear in health circles, and for good reason. They contain the most concentrated levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as having their own unique benefits (did you know that studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels? Now you do!). It can be difficult – and expensive – to get enough leafy greens and green superfoods into our diets, so I thought I’d share my strategy for getting as much green is as possible.

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Trying Out Trek Bars | Flavoured Protein Flapjacks Review

You’d have to have been living under a rock to not have heard of Natural Balance Foods. Along with the wellness revolution, over the past couple of years Trek and Nakd bars have boomed in popularity with those seeking a sweet yet healthy snack – in fact, when I met the guys behind Natural Balance at Be:Fit (How good is his t-shirt? They should sell them!) I was told that for years they got away with putting Nakd bars in their kids’ lunchboxes, duping them into thinking it was chocolate!

To be honest, with goodies this tasty there’s really no need for sugary snacks. My favourites have to be Trek bars, so I was lucky that Natural Balance kindly sent me a box of mixed protein flapjacks* so I could try the full range. They were originally made as a snack for those out trekking to stick into their pockets, so they’re well-balanced with oats as a slow-released carbohydrate and 9-10g of protein each. This combination is very filling: when I work 11:30-8:30 I’ll typically have a bar just before my shift with a coffee and this keeps me going until my lunch at 3pm. The bars are naturally sweetened with dates and some have a dark chocolate coating, making them perfect for an evening snack also, quietening those late-night munchies.

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EAT: Healthy Meals Under Pressure

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One of the more frequent barriers to healthy eating I hear of is lack of time. Everyone know it’s healthier for you to make food from scratch, but it can be a burden chopping veg, cooking meat, using different pots and pans, then waiting, waiting, stirring, and waiting. Sometimes I just feel like I can’t be bothered – it would be so much easier if I could just bung something in a microwave to be done in five minutes’ time, or even nip to the chippy! Thankfully I have discovered a method of cooking that is both fast and healthy: pressure cooking. Studies show that pressure cookers can lock in up to 95% of nutrients in food that roasting or boiling can remove, and use up to 90% less energy.

Tower Housewares have been making kitchen gadgets for over 100 years, so know a thing or two about making our lives easier. I’ve been told that back in’t day pressure cookers used to be known for blowing their tops, but Tower have refined the cooker’s design so it’s safe and not scary at all. They know that Chris and I have huge appetites (gotta get them gains!) so sent the 5.5 litre aluminium pressure cooker* – meant for four people! – for us to try out.

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Friday nights are the worst food-wise for me. I do two classes at the gym, finishing up at half seven, then it’s very easy to pop to Tesco across the road for something cheap, fast, and undoubtedly unhealthy. Last week I decided to put my new pressure cooker to the test and see just how efficient I could be at making dinner for Chris and I. I began at around five, chopping potatoes, garlic, and veg, which I then left sealed in the pressure cooker along with frozen peas and sweetcorn. Everything else I needed to cook was strategically placed beside the cooker.

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Gym time. I even had time for a pre-workout peanut butter and toast before I left home! I do spinning on a Friday night followed by an Olympic lifting class.

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I finish around half seven, tired but happy, and keen to get home – even more so tonight I know dinner is going to be super simple and ready fast.

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As soon as I walk in I add fish stock and chopped tomatoes to the vegetables, and place trout fillets on top. A quick Google tells me that potatoes take around twelve minutes to cook under pressure, but I leave it for more like twenty just to be sure.

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The cooker is steaming away – it sounds like it’s going to take off! Once you’ve taken it off the heat you have to make sure the pressure knob on the top (technical term there) has lowered before you open the lid for safety.

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The finished result: a fresh, healthy dinner made in just over half an hour. This meal wasn’t quite to my tastes – though my boyfriend enjoyed it – but given it was my first crack at using the pressure cooker I was pleased. Since then I’ve made some more successful dishes (Japanese curry, acorn squash soup) and some less successful ones (turkey chilli that somehow turned to just mush) but I think as it’s such a different style of cooking it’s a case of trial and error. One thing I’ve found is that you use a lot less water than you think you’re going to need, even if you’re cooking something like rice. It’s something I will be sticking with though – anything that frees up valuable training and studying time is a winner in my eyes.