Finding a healthy snack or lunch option at work can be like walking through a minefield. First you have to make it past the office candy bowl full of Halloween chocolates, sneak around the cookies in the vending machine and avoid eye contact with the cupcakes in the office kitchen. When that midday slump creeps up on us it’s hard to not reach for the nearest sugary treat to give us a jumpstart.
Once you start fueling yourself with “the white stuff” you will be on the sugar rollercoaster all day long. Not fun! One minute you feel great and totally energized, the next your energy level has left the building and you’re sneaking back to the office kitchen for “just one more cupcake.” And, once you’re on the ride it’s nearly impossible to get off.
Bringing your own snacks and lunches to work is key in not falling down the sugar rabbit hole. However, not just any snack will do! Focusing on snacks and lunches with protein and healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar stable, your energy up and your mind focused. Plus, your sugar cravings will decrease and you won’t give that vending machine a second glance.
With everything else you have to do when you get home from work there isn’t a lot of time for packing a lunch. That is why I really love making spreads that I can use on a sandwich or as a dip for crackers and veggies. Just pack them in small glass container or jars and they are ready for you to spread away! Spreads and dips are also a wonderful protein-rich after school snack for your kids instead of sugar-laden cereals, cookies, crackers and pre-packaged trail mixes.
This week I’ve included 2 recipes for my favorite spreads. They can be used on their own for a filling veggie sandwich or in addition to a meat sandwich instead of mayo. If you want to make it super quick, then use them as a dip for your favorite cracker or veggies.
White Bean and Olive Spread with Sundried Tomatoes
1 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Juice of ½ a lemon
Sea salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine the beans, olive oil, olives, tomatoes and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roughly mash the mixture with the back of a fork.
- Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
- You can use this to make a sandwich with sprouts, thinly sliced red onion and avocado. It is also a wonderful dip for crackers or veggies.
Herbed Quark Spread
Quark is a type of cheese with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt and a refreshing tangy taste. It is very popular in Europe and used as a dip, spread, in cakes and even on the skin to alleviate pain and clear blemishes. Quark is a rich source of protein, high in calcium for strong bones and teeth, vitamin A for healthy eyesight and B vitamins to support the nervous system. Try it as a savory spread or as a sweet breakfast option with your favorite berries, nuts or granola!
1 container of quark
Selection of fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano and tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine the quark, herbs and splash of lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until well combined.
- Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- This spread is perfect on a hearty multigrain bread with thinly sliced radishes. It is also a great topping for baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower.