Preparing yourself for the week ahead can be daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! There are many options available for great lunch ideas that are healthy, filling and nutritional. Obviously, my go-to is Pinterest, but I also use Nikki’s Plate. Nikki is a nurse who banks a lot of hours at the ICU in Kingston, yet finds the time to keep up her amazing
blog. She posts great recipes, snacks and meal prep ideas that I find extremely helpful when I know it’s going to be a busy week.
Here are a few ideas for the week ahead:
Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas:
Ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 1/2 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of fine grain sea salt, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of chill flakes (more or less as desired)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Drain chickpeas from the can and give them a rinse with cool water. Place them on a tea towel. Apply a second tea towel on top and roll them around with your hands allowing them to dry.
- Place chickpeas on a lined baking sheet
- Drizzle the olive oil over chickpeas. Sprinkle cumin, chili flakes and salt. Hold baking sheet and shake slightly to allow for full coating of chickpeas
- Bake for 35 minutes (make sure to give them a shake half way through), until browned and crunchy.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup (125 ml) almonds, finely chopped, 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) gluten free rolled oats, 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) gluten free rice crisp cereal, 1 teaspoon (4 ml) ground cinnamon, 1/4 cup (60 ml) hemp seeds, 1/4 (60 ml) sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) chia seeds, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup, 1/4 cup (60 ml) almond butter or peanut butter, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract, 1/4 cup (60 ml) mini non-dairy dark chocolate chips (optional)
- Line a square pan with parchment paper or other nonstick surface
- In a large bowl combine oats, almonds, rice crisp, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, chia seeds and cinnamon. Mix.
- In a small sauce pan, stir together brown rice syrup and almond butter until nicely mixed. Cook over medium heat until mixture slightly bubbles. Remove and add in vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture over dry ingredients and combine using a spatula. It is very thick and hard to stir. If your using chocolate chips, allow mixture to cool before adding them in.
- Transfer mixture to pan and spread evenly. Lightly wet your hands and push mixture into the pan evenly.
- Place pan in freezer for 10 minutes (or until completely firm)
- Lift square out of pan using the parchment paper. Place on cutting board. Using a pizza roller or knife, cut 6 rows and then slice in half to make 12 bars.
- Wrap bars individually or place them in snack ziplock bags. Store in freeze or fridge. These bars will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge and 1-2 months in the freezer.
Ingredients: 8 medium size carrots washed and cut into 1/2 inch wide slices, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon rosemary (dried or fresh), 1 tablespoon parsley (dried or fresh), salt and pepper (optional, to taste)
- Preheat oven at 400°F. Wash then cut carrots into french fry strips. In a zip lock bag, toss carrots with olive oil and herbs.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray olive oil on sheet if necessary. Dumb carrots out of zip lock bag onto the baking sheet. Spread out evenly on baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes then flip carrot fries and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Chickpea, Corn and Feta Salad:
Ingredients: 2 cans drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1 can drained and rinsed corn, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/3 cup of chopped red onion, 1/3 cup of feta cubes (either buy as cubes or cut yourself), fresh ground pepper (optional)
- Drain and rinse chickpeas and corn
- Chop red onion
- Cut feta into 1/2 inch cubes
- Blend chickpeas, corn, feta and onion in a large mixing bowl
- Add olive oil, lemon juice and fresh ground pepper and mix
Ingredients: 2 hardboiled eggs, 2 handfuls mix greens (or romaine/iceberg lettuce), 1/4 cup of crumbled Danish blue cheese, 1/3 cup of chopped red onion, 1/4 cup of ranch dressing (or 1/3 cup if you prefer more), 2-3 slices of chopped turkey bacon
- Boil eggs until completely soft (approximately 10 minutes in boiling water)
- Pan-fry turkey bacon, set aside to cool, then cut into think pieces
- Chop red onion
- Combine mixed greens (or lettuce), onion, hardboiled eggs, crumbled blue cheese, and turkey bacon slices and cover with ranch dressing
I hope these snacks and lunches are helpful for anyone who needs a little kick in the butt to get their week started (and finished) right!