Friday, June 27, 2014

Office Snacks: Simple and Easy Recipes for the Summer

Just because you spend most of your time in a work suit doesn't mean you should neglect the swimsuit - especially in the season for looking and feeling good! The summer is the perfect time for hitting the beach on the weekends. However, staying fit and healthy is hard with a sedentary desk gig. But never fear! Here are some of the best easy work snacks and recipes to keep you trim at the office. Enjoy!

Recipe 1: The Natural Stuff

Sometimes there's no better choice for a healthy snack than the ones that come straight from nature.  We always know that natural fruits, nuts, and veggies are good for our bodies and minds, but there are some that are better for an office life than others. Next time you're stuck in cool work cubicles without a lunch break, here's what we recommend to tide you over!

Apples: Slice 'em up, and they make a super immune booster to stave off the flu in a crowded workplace. Pair them with a bit caramel or peanut butter for something a little heartier that won't break your diet.

Blueberries: These babies are great straight out of the carton. Scientists say they're stress reducers that also turn back the clock on age-related diseases like Alzheimer's. They're killer brain foods to pop in a smoothie or toss on a salad if you've got leftovers at lunchtime too.

Mixed Nuts: Brain food. The high content of vitamin E found in most nuts and seeds helps turn back the clock on aging. Go with walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, sesame seeds, and flax. Raw and roasted are both cool, just make sure you lay off the salt to stay healthy.

Mixed Veggies: Everybody knows the benefits of veggies. They're tasty, they're healthy, they're awesome - the list goes on. Don't leave them out of your office lineup. Grab some baby carrots, tomatoes (technically a fruit, but whatever), celery, peppers, kale, or anything else you love. Eat them raw or with a light dip for a work treat that's hard to beat.

Recipe 2: Avocado Anything

You never had a better excuse to mix up some guacamole before work, and now you do! They're a little fatty, but with excellent fiber content and low calories, they make an excellent healthy snack choice for those with blood and circulation problems. WebMD credits them with good blood flow to the organs and brain, improving cognitive abilities at the office. Here's a few quick recipes that make them the perfect easy snack for the office!

Avocado Toast:

1 avocado
Pinch of salt

This recipe is simple. Hold the butter on that whole-wheat toast, and mash up a few avocado slices instead. Salt it to taste and smear it all over that bread!

Easy Guacamole:

2 Avocados
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper
1 tomato, chopped

Peel and mash them avocados and mix them in with all the goods. Season it with the lime and salt and pepper to taste. Once you get to work, store it in the office fridge next to the professional modular desks and workstations for around 30 minutes to chill until you're ready to break out the whole wheat chips and get rockin'!

Avocado Topping:

1 Sliced Avocado

Sliced avocado is perfect for almost every sandwich ever invented, but it's an ingredient that gets neglected way too often. Next time you make a salmon, chicken breast, or steak, save the leftovers and top it with avocado, tomatoes, cheese, onion, lettuce, bacon, or your other favorite toppings for a great work sandwich for lunch or snack time.

Recipe 3: Healthy Banana Pudding

1 Banana
A handful of raisins
1/4 cup of grated coconut
A bit of honey (optional)

It's hard to screw up this yummy office treat by Jack LaLanne. Just mash up that banana in a plate or bowl, and mix in the raisins, peanuts, and coconut. Top it all off with a dab of honey (or even some BelVita crackers in place of the Nilla Wafers) for a healthy version of banana pudding. It's a super simple recipe for those that spend their day at modern desks for computer use without a modern snack to match. Store it in the break room fridge and enjoy for breakfast and snack time.

Recipe 4: Mini Egg Frittatas

1 small onion, diced
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced yellow bell pepper
1 diced zucchini
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
8-10 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons of chives
Salt and pepper
Olive oil to drizzle
* Recipe makes 10 is knocking it out of the park with this recipe. While we're willing to bet that it isn't exactly low cal, smart use of the veggies, salt, and Parmesan would make this a very healthy breakfast, lunch, or snack alternative at the office.
The night or morning before, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a big skillet, heat up a small drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat, and sauté the veggies in there for around 5 minutes until they're slightly soft. Season them with the salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt, guys) and add them to individual muffin molds in a tin.
In another bowl, whisk up the eggs with some salt and pepper (again, go easy on that salt if you want to stay healthy) and add in the chopped chives. Pour the mix over the veggies in each muffin tin, then sprinkle it all with the Parmesan (Parm is a great way to get that salty taste without the added salt). Bake for 10-12 minutes.  It can be served warm or cold, and makes a great, clean companion snack for those contemporary mesh office chairs at work.

* Bonus tip: For those that don't have the oven time, college students say this recipe can be cooked in a microwave safe bowl in the mike for around 2 minutes. Also, salsa with broccoli makes a great veggie substitute if you don't have what you need. They can also be made with baby tomatoes and mushrooms.

Recipe 5: Frozen Fruit Salad

A bowlful of your favorite fruits (so easy)
Yogurt (optional)

God forbid the AC is out at the office, but it is the summer, and for those with hot corner office desks under a sunny window, we know the heat can be sweltering. Thankfully, this dish is both healthy and cool! All you've got to do is head to the store and pick out a few of your favorite fruits (and maybe even some veggies if you're feeling edgy). Buy frozen or freeze at your own risk, then take them to the office for a super frozen treat. Bananas, strawberries, mangoes, and blueberries are usually a little soft, even when cold. After allowed to thaw for a minute, they can be mashed up and thrown in some yogurt for another chilly work snack!

Bonus tip: We find bananas and grapes are spectacular when frozen. In an ice tray with your favorite juice (such as orange, watermelon, or grapefruit juice) poured over the top, they easily freeze into wonderful work sized popsicles!

Recipe 6: Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salsa

2 ears of corn, shucked
1 cup of chopped, seedless cucumber
3/4 cup black beans, rinsed
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped mint
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

This recipe from should take you no more than 35 minutes to prepare, but it keeps pretty well and makes a great snack for the next few days at the office. Over high heat in a grill pan, char the corn slightly on all sides. Let it cool a minute, then cut off the kernels into a bowl. Finally, just toss in the rest of the ingredients and cover it. By the time you get to work, you'll have a fiesta of flavor that's amazing with whole-grain chips, warm pita, baguette, or veggies. We promise you'll have everyone at the office break room tables jealous!

* Bonus tip: This salsa also makes an excellent topping for wraps and sandwiches as well. Consider throwing it in with some of that avocado from earlier! Frozen corn kernels is the easy way out, but the results are still tasty, so give it a try!

Recipe 7: Chocolate Apricot Nut Bars

1/2 Cups of dried apricots
1/2 Cup raw toasted almonds
2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded, toasted coconut
1/2 Ounce melted dark chocolate
Coarse salt

Thanks to Martha, you can finally reward yourself at the end of the week with this healthy sweet treat! Just pulse the apricots, coconut, and almonds in a food processor until they're finely ground. Then, line a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan with parchment, leaving about an inch hanging off the pan to grab later. Transfer the mixture to the pan and press it into rectangles (or squares, circles, or triangles if you like). Next, use the paper overhang you left to remove the parchment from the pan. Drizzle the mixture with the dark melted chocolate and leftover coconut shreds, and let it set in the fridge for around 15 minutes.
Altogether, this yummy snack should take around less than 25 minutes to prepare in, with ten minutes of prep. Spend the 15 minutes of chill time getting ready for the workday, and break out these treats when you hit the cool office reception area furniture to snack in style!

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