Who has time to make healthy choices?
That was the question that plagued my mind last year as I justified my daily queue at Tim Horton’s. With so much to get done between work, school, and the other items crowding out to-do lists, eating healthy rarely takes top priority.
Unfortunately, one cannot survive on double-toasted sesame seed bagels alone. And as I realized, taking the time to fuel your body with smart choices can actually make everything on that to-do list much less daunting.
For anyone stuck in the tempting trap of “quick and easy,” here are some healthy solutions for even the busiest routines.
OATS ON OATS, ON OATS
Steel cut oats are a surprisingly quick alternative to sugary cereals and instant oatmeal. Packed with protein, they will keep you feeling fuelled throughout the morning. You can top them with virtually anything, but “PB & J Oats” are one of my staples.
1 cup quick cooking steel cut oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
½ cup raspberries (fresh, or thawed if frozen)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
Optional: slivered almonds, unsweetened shredded coconut, or a drizzle of honey for additional sweetness.
1. Add oats and 2 cups of water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Let mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes or until oats reach your preferred consistency (the longer you wait, the thicker your oats will become).
2. Spoon oats into bowl and add toppings. Stir to ensure goodness in every bite and enjoy.
Steel cut oats are a great source of fibre and a good source of iron. They are also a good source of protein, helping you feel fuller longer.
Tiny hemp seeds pack a lot of punch — they are good sources of protein and contain important healthy fats, like omega-3.
Chia seeds have healthy fats and are a good source of nutrients like calcium.
Choosing a natural peanut butter means you get all the taste and benefits without the unhealthy fats and hydrogenated oils found in more processed varieties.
ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
Once the bane of my childhood dinner experience, these little vegetables have become an obsession of mine, especially roasted. Though a little elbow work is required to clean and prep the sprouts, once you have they’ll keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to a week, making them a great go to for a quick snack or dinner addition.
1 lb of brussel sprouts
2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted (or olive oil or avocado oil)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Give your sprouts a good wash. Remove the “stems” making sure to get rid of enough of the hard root that a few of the outer layer of leaves peel off. Store sprouts whole in the fridge, or halve them to roast immediately.
3. Toss sprouts in oil and sprinkle with spices.
4. Spread on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Roast sprouts for 25-30 minutes until outer leaves are becoming golden brown.
Optional: Sometimes I top my sprouts with a splash of soy sauce or a drizzle of sesame oil. I’ve been known to just eat a giant bowl of sprouts for dinner, but they are also a perfect addition to a bowl of quinoa or a kale salad.
Brussel sprouts are packed with nutrients, especially vitamin C and vitamin K. They are also a good source of fibre.
BERRY SMOOTHIE BOWL
The option of a smoothie bowl is a must have in my fridge. The best part is that the smoothie component can be prepped in bulk and will keep in the fridge for a couple days, making it perfect for a grab-and-go healthy solution.
3 stalks of kale
Handful of spinach
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
¼ cup warm water
¼ cup juice of choice (carrot and pineapple are great options)
½ cup Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
1. Toss all the ingredients into a blender and combine until smooth. If smoothie is too thick, add additional liquid.
2. To assemble your bowl, pour desired amount of smoothie base into a bowl (I usually start with a cup or so), then top with desired toppings. My personal favourites include:
- banana slices
- fresh berries
- hemp hearts
- chia seeds
- slivered almonds
- crushed walnuts
- unsweetened shredded coconut
- cacao nibs
3. Scoop up your creation with a spoon, or skip the bowl and pour your smoothie into a glass to-go.
There’s nothing about this meal solution that isn’t good for you. Hemp hearts, chia seeds, and yogurt provide good protein. Nuts provide a good source of healthy fats. Berries are a good source of fibre and anti-oxidants. The recipe is, however, high in natural sugars, which means you want to avoid eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — no matter how tempting.