I returned to work this fall. Not full-time yet, but enough hours in the week to put us into a situation where we are managing child care, extra-curriculars, 2 parents’ jobs, and keeping everything humming along smoothly. In the past, this has been a recipe for disaster in terms of nutrition.
My go-to lunch when I was teaching full-time (prior to having kids) was a can of Coca-cola and a bag of microwave popcorn. Once a week, breakfast was McDonald’s on the way to school. Nope. So many nopes.
We know better now. We have to eat real food, especially when life gets hectic. But there are a lot more moving parts to arrange these days. I needed a plan to cram as much nutrition as possible into meals that required very little thought or preparation on a busy day. Bonus points if those meals were quick to consume during a crazy morning or a working lunch.
A couple of friends are AdvoCare or Isagenix distributors. Each swears by his/her product, especially for people who need quick no-brainer meals. I can’t tell you which program is superior, but I can tell you that they have one thing in common: I cannot even imagine being able to afford either one. Again, Nope.
So I make grab and go smoothies for breakfast and lunches. I make 8-12 at a time and pop them in the freezer. Ball makes reusable plastic caps for their jars in packs of 8. They are a lot more convenient to use and easier to clean than the traditional mason jar lid and ring.
I stick one smoothie in the refrigerator each night before bed so it is thawed before the morning madness begins. A second smoothie gets set on the counter as soon as I wake up so that it is semi-thawed when it goes into my lunch box (where its semi-frozen state provides the chilling, so I don’t have to use an ice pack).
At least one of the smoothies gets a scoop of plain greek yogurt to add protein. You can shake it up after adding, so there’s no need for a spoon. I forgot the yogurt one day last week, and by the end of the work day, I was so hungry! It was a one-way ticket to Snacksville when I got into the kitchen to prep dinner. I won’t make that mistake again.
My current favorite smoothie fruit is this mix from Costco:
It has strawberries, mangoes, peaches and kiwi. One bag lasts a couple of weeks.
Ingredients: (1 batch makes 4 smoothies)
- 2 cups organic fruit juice (plus extra, in case the blender gets stuck)
- 1 cup frozen spinach
- 2 cups frozen fruit.
- Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Throw all the ingredients into the blender and hit start. Add more juice if the fruit chunks get stuck. Divide the smoothie among 4 mason jars. Pop them in the freezer.