As young professionals, we are busy. Long commutes, meetings, projects and work days mean that, often, the last thing you want to dedicate your evenings or weekends to is cooking extravagant meals. These quick and versatile recipes are filling, healthy and easy to make ahead of time. Try them out!
This is a perfect recipe for the busy college student or morning commuter, and the best part about it is that it’s really like 15 recipes in one. While the base of the mixture should remain the same, you can change up the add-ins each day, making this a versatile breakfast on-the-go option. Start with rolled or old-fashioned oats, a non-dairy milk, sprinkle of cinnamon, some sea salt, vanilla and maca powder or chia seeds. It’s best to throw all these ingredients in a mason jar or empty peanut butter container so you can shake it up, infusing all the flavors and making it easy to take on the go. Let this mixture sit in the fridge overnight, allowing the oats to soak up the liquid and flavor.
The morning is the fun part—add your toppings. The options here are relatively limitless. You can do frozen or fresh mixed berries and peanut or almond butter for a classic PB&J taste. If you’re craving sweet, try adding some honey or maple syrup and topping with vanilla greek yogurt. Peanut butter and banana is one of my all-time favorites, and if you start the day craving a lighter, healthier dessert—cocoa powder and extra cinnamon should do the trick.
Grab a spoon, your jar with a lid, and hit the road. This breakfast will keep you satisfied, and doesn’t get boring.
Make-Ahead Baked Egg Bites
Here’s yet another super-versatile, quick and long-lasting recipe! Some days, there just isn’t enough time to wake up early and poach, scramble, or fry-up some eggs. To get your morning dose of protein despite the limited time, try some baked egg bites. Fill a large or medium-sized pyrex with as many scrambled eggs as you please. Throw in whatever you’d put in a fresh egg skillet: chopped bell pepper, onion, bacon or ham, shredded cheese, mushrooms, spinach, arugula—listen to the taste buds and go forth. Next, bake the mixture for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
You can also dole out the mixture into a mini-muffin tin for easier grabbing. This is a healthy and filling breakfast to prep on a Sunday or Monday and will last you through the work week.
“Healthified” Snacking Chips
Okay, lets be real—sometimes, the only chip that will satisfy that craving for salt and carbs is the real deal. Tortilla chips, flavored potato chips and salty crackers…can’t always be beat. But if you’re looking for a lighter option, try making homemade veggie chips using zucchini, sweet potatoes, regular russet potatoes, kale or squash! Slice your veggie or starch ultra-thin, either using careful and meticulous precision or, if you’re lucky, a mandoline. Line your slices up on a baking sheet or in the basket of an air fryer, and let them cook until crispy and browning at the edges.
The key is to season them heavily, with garlic, salt and pepper, chili powder or whichever spice you prefer! These are an excellent alternative to bags of chips, with less oil and processed ingredients.
Pro tip: If you want your veggie chips extra crispy, let them broil for 2-5 minutes. Be EXTRA careful when doing so, or they will burn.
Mason Jar Meals
Turns out versatility is a theme, here. Sometimes packing a Tupperware can be too clunky and crowding when you’re on the move. Instead, consider layering grains, greens, vegetables, proteins and a dressing or sauce into a mason jar. This will make your meal not only portable, but easy to pack and eat on the go!
Take this in whatever direction you like, and don’t be afraid to change that up daily. You can roast sweet potatoes with chicken and veggies, pack it into a jar and top with a tahini dressing. Or, shredded cabbage, carrots and asian noodles with a peanut sauce, for a Thai-style stir fry. You can also pick some sort of green (spinach, arugula, kale…) and grain (white/brown rice, farro, quinoa…) and make a mason-jar salad. A light and flavorful dressing is the key.
Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is a hearty and tasty snack, and with the right ingredients it will keep you satisfied throughout the work day. Of course, there is nothing wrong with buying a monster mix or your favorite combo at the grocery store, but sometimes those can get overpriced, and have unnecessary added ingredients like sugar and words you don’t even recognize. So while you’re meal prepping those egg bites on Sunday, why not whip up a quick batch of trail mix too?! Plus, you’re in control of everything that goes in—meaning, if you want some extra chocolate chips or M&M’s… go for it.
Choose a couple of filling nuts, like almonds, peanuts, walnuts or pistachios to start with and to act as the crunchy base. If you like something a little sweet, dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips will do the job, or add any variation of M&M’s (peanut-filled are my favorite…but try not to overdose on the peanuts.) For something soft and sweet, try raisins, dried cranberry or any other dried fruit. Additional add-ins: coconut chips, granola, sea salt, etc. The great thing about trail-mix is that you can keep it on you throughout the day—in the office, at your desk, on both your morning and evening commutes.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying something extra easy like a bagel, apple or a protein bar on the go, but it can be fun to get creative and have some variety in your eats throughout the week. These five recipes are a great place to start. When they get boring—switch up those add-ins! Try chia seeds as a base instead of oats. Turn your trail mix into bars. Always honor your cravings—every now and then, go ahead and reach for that bagel.
Have any more quick recipes to eat on the go? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.