Sunday, January 20, 2013

Eating well in a rush

I'm a busy person. We're all pretty busy. It may be kids, it may be dogs, it may be our jobs, our hobbies, or other things in our life.

But, if we don't take time to eat well, we won't have the right type of energy to keep up. I have a habit of esorting to coffee to keep me going when I'm running on empty, which isn't really a healthy or sustainable choice. Coffee is great and everything, but shouldn't be what keeps you moving.

Here are some quick snacks I keep handy to eat when I'm in a rush. Having them around makes it less likely I'll reach for a cup of coffee and a cookie to push me through a low point.

Steel Cut Oats - every Sunday I cook up a pot of steel cut oats. 1 cup of oats to 4 cups of water, simmered until they are soft and tender. I keep this in the fridge and take out single portions (about a quarter of the batch) at a time. I reheat, chop some banana on it, and sprinkle some walnuts. A sprinkle of brown sugar and a splash of milk, and I have a breakfast or snack in two minutes. This keeps me going for a good three hours before I need to eat again. Oats are also a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol. Oats are also the only food source of GLA (gamma linoleic acid).

My family's yogurt muesli with berries

Yogurt muesli - My mom adapted this recipe from the Movenpick restaurant's delicious Swiss Muesli (Before they were bought out by Peachtree foods in Canada).

2 cups of plain yogurt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup of frozen berries
1 apple, grated or finely chopped
1 tbls honey

Mix all this together and store in a contained in the fridge for up to 3 days. Add a bit of milk if it is too thick for you. Makes a delicious snack, breakfast or dessert. My family also traditionally makes this on Christmas morning, so that the family can eat at their leisure while we are opening presents.

Mixed unsalted nuts - I always keep a jar of unsalted mixed nuts around. A handful of these have protein, fiber and healthy oils, everything I need to give me a mid afternoon energy boost. I'm careful not to overeat nuts, as they are also calorie dense. But, they beat a chocolate bar any day.

Banana shake - I often have a bottle of plain kefir around, which I don't like on its own but I love blended with a ripe banana and a small scoop of cocoa powder. The sweetness of the banana balances the sour of the kefir, and makes a refreshing, filling and tastey snack on the go in under 2 minutes. Have I mentioned I love probiotics, and I try to get a variety of different ones into me on a regular basis (thus the yogurt and the kefir).

All of these choices are also easy on your budget, when you compare them to what you would pay to eat a snack outside of the house. $2-3 for a toasted bagel, add another two for a coffee, and you have lightened your purse but not filled your body with much that will really help it.

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