The struggle to eat real food while surviving a crazy busy day.
I know I’m not alone in the struggle to eat real food while surviving a crazy busy day. Many of us can relate to getting up too early and staying up too late, trying to squeeze in a workout, weeding through a constantly clogged email inbox, furiously typing 100 WPM, trying not to neglect friendships and relationships, and remembering to breathe. But the most essential thing to the success of a day is fuel . . . and M&M’s, frozen mac and cheese, and endless cups of coffee aren’t sustainable forever. As I’m entering my late 20s and my metabolism is beginning to resemble a sloth’s movement, I’m more than ever attempting to find the easiest and most delicious ways to eat real food. Here are some of my ideas:
I try to eat breakfast away from a computer. It may be my only meal of the day that’s not in front of a screen. Since I’m up really early, I usually end up eating two breakfasts (one savory at 6 a.m. and one sweet around 10 a.m.).
Whole plain Greek yogurt with berries is a filling option. I love berries because they are delicious and don’t require cutting! I also love tossing puffed brown rice on top for textural contrast.
Mornings in the office are all about avocado on whole-wheat toast. If I’m at home, I’ll top a fried egg on there. In the office, sliced hard-boiled egg is another great topper.
Microwaveable oatmeal with peanut butter and banana tastes like cookies and only takes about five minutes to make.
Oh, lunch! How neglected you typically are! Though I wish I could get my sh*t together enough in the a.m. to pack a perfect mason jar salad, I just don’t. So here’s what I do instead:
Here’s what I throw in my bag: prewashed greens (I love the kind with herbs for a little somethin’ extra), a whole avocado, a lemon, and either smoked salmon or shredded chicken (that I totally buy by the cupfuls from the Whole Foods salad bar or steal the leftovers off of Sunday night’s rotisserie chicken at my parents’ house). I keep salt, pepper, and olive oil at my desk so I can quickly whip up a lemony vinaigrette. When I’m really strapped for salad fixings, I turn to the snacks at work — a mini wheel of cheese and a handful of almonds go a long way.
Microwaveable meals like this edamame rice are really easy to throw together and taste so fresh and light.
I rarely have leftovers, but when I do, it’s usually soup, like this green pea soup. It makes for a satisfying lunch; I just make sure to pack it properly and bring in some soup toppings like fresh herbs.
There are so many snacks in the office — which can totally derail my plans to eat well. I try to avert my eyes from the Oreos and chips (and the mini Snickers, which are my kryptonite) to focus on these beauties:
Radishes, persian cucumbers, and baby carrots don’t really require much prep, other than a quick rinse. I dip them in store-bought hummus or homemade hummus if it’s something I’ve recipe developed.
Freeze-dried fruit lasts a while and is nice to have on hand when a crunchy craving hits. My favorites are cherries and raspberries.
Jerky! My office has turkey jerky readily available, but when I plan ahead, I opt for Krave Chili Lime beef jerky.
I’m currently taking a nighttime coding class, so I don’t get home until 10 p.m. But even before those days, I would hit the gym and get home at 8 p.m. At that point, I’m starving and need something near immediately, so these are my go-tos:
Tolerant Red Lentil Rotini is my most favorite pantry staple. Because I’m not home often, I don’t usually keep raw meat available, and this gluten-free pasta has 21 grams of protein per serving! Ten times out of 10, I eat pasta like so: with olive oil, parmesan, and chili flakes. And if tender greens are in my fridge, I throw them in the pasta water during the last minute of cooking.
The lovely Nicole Perry introduced me to this one-pan salmon recipe. It’s chock-full of crispy cabbage and kale, it comes together in a flash, and it’s easy to clean up. I make it on my weekend nights home.
Millet-lentil salad dressed with whatever herbs and veggies I have on hand is another dinner staple. And bonus: the leftovers pack up nicely for lunch too.
March 17, 2018 by Anna Monette Roberts, PopSugar