A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from my friend Hazel, a busy social worker who lives up in Canada’s Yukon (that’s very far north).
Here’s the situation:
- Three nights a week she leaves work, drops her daughter at the pool for 5:45 and has to be in yoga class by 6.
- “Dinner” needs to be portable so she can eat around 4 at her desk. Her office has a toaster oven, fridge and microwave.
- After yoga she’s hungry and ready for a snack.
- Meals have to easy to digest, healthy, low-fat, filling and peanut-free.
Because I love Hazel, all this week I’ll be posting ideas for meals you can eat at work that are easy to digest and will fuel you through an afternoon workout. I did a 30-day Bikram challenge a few years ago that found me racing to a 4:30 class most days. That month I made sure my afternoon snack was substantial enough to carry me through 90 mins of twisting, stretching and sweating. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
Hopefully, my discoveries will be helpful for Hazel and anyone else out there in a similar situation. Today, I have three ideas for bowls that are hearty enough to keep you full for a few hours but gentle enough on your system to allow for optimal digestion.
You’ve probably all heard of vegan overnight oats
(Angela, you make this world delicious!). They are a very popular morning meal across the blogosphere. However, the recipe doesn’t actually need to come together after twilight. Instead of mixing up the ingredients before bed, you can stir it all together when you get to work and let it hang out in the communal fridge until the afternoon.
If you bring the basics with you – oats, chia and almond milk, you can add whatever stir-ins you like. If you’re not familiar with chia it is a pretty incredible ingredient. I just finished reading Born to Runand had to smile when chia was mentioned as the super fuel of the Tahamara runners. Chia seed is prized for an amazing nutrient profile that promotes endurance and hydration.
Blueberry Ginger Overnight Oats
1/3 cup rolled oats
2 TBSP chia seed
3/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup blueberries
1 TBSP grated ginger
Optional: dried fruit, nuts, coconut, fresh fruit, nut butters, agave, etc.
In a bowl combine the oats, chia and almond milk. Let sit for at least one hour and up to 10 hours. Add your favourite stir-ins. I added blueberries and grated ginger.
Next up, quinoa, protein-packed addition to any meal. This pseudograin has been referred to as the gold of the Incas, because of its ability to increase the stamina of great warriors. So, it seemed like the perfect fuel for those hoping to hold strong in warrior two.
You can prepare quinoa when you have some free time on the weekend. It will keep well in your fridge and can be added to boost the protein profile of your meals throughout the week.
In a small saucepan combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts liquid (for versatility I use water). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and allow to cool before storing in your fridge.
Just like above, this bowl provides a great base for lots of creative concoctions. Before you head to work prepare a flavourful dressing and pack up the salad ingredients. Mix them all together just before you’re ready to eat.
Lemon Tahini Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup baby arugula
2 TBSP sunflower seeds
1 TBSP tahini
2 tsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp cumin
pinch of salt
In a bowl combine the quinoa, arugula and seeds. In a small bowl or cup whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin and salt. Add warm water a spoonful at a time, while whisking, until the dressing is thinned enough to pour. Drizzle dressing over the salad ingredients.
Sometimes after a long day in the office I really want something sweet rather than savoury. A quinoa porridge studded with dried fruits really hits the spot. Pack up the quinoa, orange zest and raisins in one container. Keep the pecans separate so they will retain a crunchy texture.
Orange Quinoa Porridge
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup almond milk
zest of half an orange
1 TBSP raisins
1 TBSP pecans
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Warming the milk before adding it makes this porridge even more enjoyable.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more suggestions. I would love to hear your ideas for afternoon fuel. Please share those smoothie suggestions, energy bars, and trail mixes.