Name a quicker, healthier, easier breakfast than overnight oats. I’m listening. No?
I have been smoothie and smoothie bowl-obsessed for the past few weeks, but sometimes I don’t have the 10 minutes it takes to blend all of my ingredients, then wash out my Vitamix (I love you but you are not as easy to wash as the demo lady at Costco told me you would be). Pulling a container of overnight oats from the refrigerator takes less than two minutes but doesn’t taste like something that efficient. I use this basic recipe from Tone It Up, but instead of coconut milk I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk and about a tablespoon and a half of whatever vanilla protein powder I have on hand. I find that a full scoop of protein powder, which is what most recipes call for, is way too much. I make the oats the night before, top them with fresh blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, then put them in the fridge to soak. In the morning, post-workout and shower-fresh, I top the oats with a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter and a little extra almond milk. I enjoy creamy, sweet spoonfuls as I get ready for the day.
Sometimes I listen to music or podcasts to distract myself at work. Not because work is boring, but because the thought of my delicious lunch in the office refrigerator is as distracting for me as a squirrel might be for a dog. Music helps the time pass until I start to get hungry again and then it’s time for… squirrel! My favorite lunch is some sort of epic salad. I’m not talking about that first course you get a restaurants before the main meal, measly piles of lettuce dotted with a few cucumbers and exactly one black olive. My lunch salads could easily become dinner-worthy with a piece of grilled bread and a glass of wine. Here’s how to make my current favorite: Take half a can of tuna (use the other half for tomorrow’s lunch), mix it with THE BEST muffuletta olive salad in the bottom of your salad container or mason jar. If you can’t find muffuletta, a flurry of chopped olives and olive oil will do. Add sundried tomatoes (my weakness) and cucumbers. Top it all off with as much lettuce as you can fit in the container, and pack a simple balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette on the side. Composing your salad ingredients from heaviest (tuna) to lightest (lettuce) ensures that nothing gets soggy or wilted by the time you get to the office. When it’s time for lunch (yes, finally!), dump the contents into a big bowl, add dressing, salt, and pepper. Sometimes I’ll eat sweet potato chips on the side, but this is pretty filling on its own.
Rx Bars have been my afternoon snack lately. I’ll eat half and (try to) save the other half for tomorrow. Have you tried the coconut chocolate flavor yet?
Midweek dinners are all about riffs on recipes that you can make without actually following any directions and using whatever produce is about to go bad in your fridge. Memorize the recipe for this stir-fry sauce and you will never go hungry again. Once you’ve got the sauce down, you can use it to perk up the last few cups of broccoli left in the bulk bag you got from Costco, brighten up red bell peppers that are just starting to dull, or reimagine the remnants of a rotisserie chicken. Stir fry may not blow your mind, but it will always taste good. It also leaves extra time after dinner to finish an episode of Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver while sinking into that cozy dent on your couch, pleasantly full.