Work Life: Work Lunch Box Ideas

The best time of day is always lunch time. And if you’re on the grind with only a small break during work, it’s always a time and cost efficient idea to bring a lunch box rather than spend more money on fast food or take out. Here are some of the few quick and healthy lunch box ideas I have:

Chicken Wraps
Using a whole chicken from Coles or Woolies, shred the chicken into pieces and mix them up with a dollop  of mayonnaise. Wrap the chicken mix using a tortilla and greenery of your choice (lettuce, tomato, cucumber). It’s simple, tasty and quick to make.

Tuna Sandwiches
Using wholemeal bread from Aldi ($2), lightly toasted, butter each side and using the same chicken wrap recipe, do the same mixture with whole egg mayonnaise and add to your sandwich. Layer slices of tomato, cheese and lettuce and voila!

Tuna Salad
Toss a can of tuna together with a bag of $4 Coles 4 leaf salad leaves with a salt and pepper + olive oil and lemon dressing. It’s too quick and easy to make!

Carbonara Pasta
Grab a packet of Coles $1 Fettucine pasta and create a quick white pasta sauce using the ingredients in your house (flour, garlic, olive oil, butter, milk). Sprinkle a few leaves of coriander as a garnish. It’s great for dinner and lunch.

Recipes: 8 Best Sugar-Free Desserts

We know sugar is not all sweet – while it makes desserts taste more pleasurable, it also lacks nutrients and increases risks of diseases. But good news – you can have your cake and eat it, too! There are a lot of dessert options that don’t involve sugar as a sweetener. Here are a few recipes that you can try to get the sweetest, tastiest desserts with no added sugar.

  1. No-Bake Sugar Free Peanut Butter Pie
Peanut butter pie
Source: Glue Sticks & Gumdrops

The decadence of peanut butter, without the added carbs and sugars.

  1. Flourless Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
lemon poppy seed cake
Source: The Big Man’s World

Not only is this recipe sugar free, it is also gluten and dairy free!

  1. Sugar Free, Gluten Free Brownies
Source: Drop the Sugar

The sweetness comes from cocoa ingredients rather than sugar – fudgy and succulent without the guilt!

  1. Fig and Plum Crisp
Source: Spoonful of Sugar Free

Nothing healthier than fruits and nuts for dessert. With nutrition-packed ingredients, you can’t go wrong with this one!

  1. Twix Bars
Source: Vanillacrunnch

Move aside, Snickers – these homemade chocolate candy bar is a healthier, tastier alternative to your usual chocolate fix.

  1. Watermelon Strawberry Ice Pops
Source: HEN Family

Something cool, sweet and homemade for the kids – as the recipe maker, HEN Family’s Megan said, “perfect treat to beat the heat”.

  1. Peach Sorbet
Source: Sarah / Making Thyme for Health

No need for sugar or ice cream machine for this recipe – easy and healthy!

  1. Tiramisu
Source: Unconventional Baker

Classic recipe turned into a healthy dessert fix – no gluten, dairy, eggs and refined sugar needed.

Recipes: Healthy Alternatives to Potato Chips

It’s difficult to find a snack as good as potato chips – crispy, crunchy and tasty to accompany your movie time or when you’re working to a deadline. However, we know that chips aren’t exactly good for your health. Luckily, there are a lot of alternatives to potato chips – ones as crunchy and delicious, too!

Here are the recipes for potato chips alternatives.

  1. Roasted Radish Chips
Source: She Makes a Home

With low carb and no added sugar, you couldn’t go wrong with these chips.

  1. Parmesan Wonton Crackers
Source: Jessie / Life as a Strawberry

These crackers make a great crowd-pleaser – perfect as a party snack or even just to accompany your afternoon TV time.

  1. Apple Chips
Source: The Italian Dish

With natural spices, these chips could be a great choice if you opt for something sweet instead. You can also try this recipe with pear.

  1. Zucchini Chips
Source: Maggie / Vittles and Bits

Baked instead of fried – what more could you ask for? You can also customize the spices to your liking.

  1. Kale Chips
Source: The Cookie Writer

Mixed with the goodness of coconut oil, these chips make a great snack for everyone. Cook them longer for extra crisp!

  1. Pumpkin Chips
Source: Shundara / SavyNaturalista

Don’t forget to remove the pulp before cutting the pumpkin up.

Brain Food: The Best Things to Eat for Better Memory, Focus and Brain Health

Deadlines? Cramming for exams? Whatever it is you are working on, you’ll need healthy, nutritious food to fuel your brain. Grabbing a bag of chips or lollies might be tempting, but junk food might not help you focus or do your work better. Here are the best things to snack on to help you boost your brainpower!

Avocado

The monosaturated fat in avocados help improve blood flow – and “healthy blood flow means a healthy brain,” according to Ann Kulze, MD, author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality. They could also lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the risks of hypertension or stroke that could damage the brain. So don’t hesitate – spread the fruit on your toast!

Blueberries

blueberry

Or “brainberries”, as Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls these fruits. With rich antioxidant and gallic acid, blueberries protect your brain from degeneration and stress. Studies also found that diets rich in blueberries enhanced the learning capacity and motor skills of older rats. What more could you ask for?

Eggs

Eggs have been hailed as the ultimate source of protein to build muscle, but the choline inside could also help maintain your brain functions. A research conducted at Boston University found that choline consumption correlated positively with better performance in memory tests.

Green vegetables

Most green vegetables can improve your brain function in many different ways. Broccoli, for example, contains a number of important nutrients: vitamin K that enhances cognitive abilities, choline that boosts memory, glucosinolates that help maintain brain functions and memory, and more. Green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are also filled with vitamins A and K, keeping your bones strong and dementia at bay.

Nuts

Nuts contain vitamin E, which is great in preventing cognitive decline and associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer development. Want to have extra benefits? Opt for walnuts – they boost your memory and improve alertness through their high antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Eating healthy seems hard. It’s inconvenient, it’s time-consuming and often complicated. You have to cook and harvest your own ingredients but also burden yourself with the task of analysing the nutritional value in everything you eat. Ordering fast-food or takeaway just seems like the easiest option. Well, it doesn’t have to be.

Being healthy doesn’t have to involve guzzling down disgusting protein shakes, munching away on kale every day and bragging about your detox on Instagram. It just means treating your body with the respect it deserves without having to take extreme measures such as fasting, practicing wacky food diets, or ingesting pills.

In fact, by choosing to improve your lifestyle and eating healthy, well-balanced meals, you are doing yourself a huge favour. You’ll receive benefits such as improved brain activity, good sleep quality, you’ll have more energy, a glowing complexion and also you’ll be in a much better mood.

 Here are some tips on how to implement good food into your daily routine:

  • Plan your meals. Yes, there’s a bit of thinking required. But side note- it’s also a great money saving tip! Research simple recipes online for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between (morning and afternoon tea) and jot down the easier ones first so you can work your way up from beginner level recipes to intermediate. Use a diary or a calendar and track your daily intake.
    Aim for 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Grocery shopping. Filter through the aisles by avoiding the artificially processed stuff. Find fresh ingredients that can be used together in the same week and include something different weekly to explore your taste buds (the key is to be open-minded)! Be sure to include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, dairy products and refined grains in your shopping cart. Enjoy your delicious green haul!
  • Cooking. Cooking your own nutritious meal could improve your culinary skills as well as earning yourself a Masterchef title amongst your friends and family. Avoid using too much salt and trade in regular oil for olive oil. Additionally, you will get a lot more out of your bags of groceries than you would with containers of takeaway (more food for you) and quite honestly, nothing beats a home-cooked meal.
  • Stick to the plan. Believe in yourself and stay committed. Try your best to discipline yourself from having unhealthy withdrawals. Eating healthy should never be treated as a punishment but as a natural part of your diet.

The solution does seem very obvious, but it’s rewarding and you’ll definitely feel lighter and fresher. There are no secrets, magical potions or shortcuts to it. Clean eating isn’t just a fantasy or a concept created by dieticians or something that only athletes or celebrities do. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll love treating yourself to a healthy diet, give it a go!

To kickstart your new clean eating lifestyle, try this Roast Pumpkin Salad recipe:

Ingredients:
– 1 (Butternut or Japanese) pumpkin, chopped into large dices or chunk pieces
– 100g of spinach leaves, or any green leaves of your choice
– 200g of traditional Greek feta cheese
– 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
– olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of salt (optional)

Method:
1. Heat olive oil in frying pan over low-medium heat.
2. Add chopped pumpkin chunks and stir until pumpkin starts to brown and texture softens. You may add a pinch or a teaspoon of salt during this process according to taste.
3. In a serving bowl, combine cubes of Greek feta cheese onto a bed of spinach leaves.
4. Remove pumpkin pieces from pan and add to serving bowl and combine.
5. Lightly drizzle olive oil and lemon juice sparingly over salad for dressing and gently mix together.

Serves:
– 3-4 people or one very hungry person, enjoy!