We’ve all had them. Those midweek days that drag on forever as we run from work to the gym to errands. When you finally get home it’s 9 pm and you haven’t eaten since lunchtime. You’re dead tired and don’t have the energy to wash your face, much less cook a nutritious meal that will nourish your tired body and replenish your energy so you can do it all over again the next day.
Today I’m here to let you in on a not-so-secret secret to keeping your energy up through that dreaded afternoon slump and right on into the evening.
The secret to achieving smooth sailing on those never ending days is to snack healthily, and the best way to do this is to be prepared. Don’t leave your snacks to chance. Instead, plan your snacks just as you plan your meals. Include them in your weekly grocery shopping, and prepare them at the same time you prepare your lunch for the day, whether that’s the night before or in the morning before leaving the house.
While there are plenty of ready-to-eat snack foods out there, you can make much more delicious, interesting, and nutritious snacks yourself, and save some money in the process. Besides, having the same snacks day after day can get pretty boring.
So if you, like me, are constantly on the hunt for interesting, quick snacks that are easy to transport and provide lots of energy and nutrition, keep scrolling 😉
Sweet Snack: Date and Tahini Smoothie
This smoothie is a sweet and creamy option for an afternoon pick-me-up and makes for fantastic pre-workout fuel. It tastes like a banana milkshake, but the ingredients are so much better for you and will provide all the nutrition and energy that a traditional milkshake does not.
You can easily whip this up in the morning as it truly does take just five minutes. Store it in the fridge if you can, but don’t be afraid of it going bad at room temperature. As all the ingredients are plants, this baby will last a few hours outside the fridge, no problem!
- 2 ripe bananas (the riper they are, the stronger the banana flavor and the sweeter the smoothie)
- 3 soft Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 generous Tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup filtered water
- 10 ice cubes
Simply peel the bananas and place everything in your blender. Blend for several minutes on high until the dates have been completely liquefied and no chunks remain.
Enjoy this smoothie right away or take it with you in a glass jar or bottle for later in the day as a sweet and energizing afternoon pick-me-up.
Savory Snack: Green Collard Wraps with a Soy Peanut Dipping Sauce
If you’re a peanut butter fan, these green collard wraps are for you!
A hearty option that could easily be turned into a meal with the addition of a side salad or soup, these wraps are dipped in the most flavorful, pungent soy peanut sauce with hints of lime and maple syrup. Similar to spring rolls, these raw powerhouses feature a bounty of veggies, with a healthy dose of protein from the tofu and peanut butter, lots of antioxidants from the sprouts, and good fat from the avocado.
Although their picture-worthy aesthetic makes them look complicated, these wraps actually only take about 15 minutes, so you can easily whip them up the night before and store them in the fridge for the next day.
I use pre-baked tofu in this recipe that has a teriyaki flavor, as it makes putting these wraps together much quicker. You could easily use plain, extra firm tofu, however, and simply bake it yourself with your favorite teriyaki sauce.
- 3 large collard leaves, rinsed
- 1/2 carrot
- 1-2 thin slices red cabbage
- 1/4 cucumber
- 1/2 slab Wildwood extra firm baked teriyaki tofu
- 1 large handful sprouts
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, washed and patted dry
- 1/2 lime
- 1 avocado
Dipping Sauce ingredients:
- 2 Tbsp natural creamy peanut butter (no added oils, sugar, or salt)
- 1/2 lime
- 3.5 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp filtered water
Begin by boiling 2 cups of water in a tea kettle or a pot with a spout.
While the water boils, prepare your veggies.
Grate the carrot, separate the strands of red cabbage and slice your cucumber into thin sticks. Do this by cutting the cucumber piece down its center into two halves. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds, then put the cut side face down and thinly slice the cucumber lengthwise into matchsticks.
Cut 1 slab of tofu in half, reserving one half for another recipe. Cut the remaining half slab, into matchsticks so that you end up with 12 sticks altogether.
Slice the avocado in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and mash together with a fork.
I recommend putting each ingredient, including the sprouts and cilantro leaves, in its own small bowl as this makes assembling the wraps quicker and easier.
By this point your water should be boiling. Turn off the flame and, holding the three collard leaves in one hand, carefully pour the boiling water over them. The leaves will turn bright green, become quite shiny and wilt. Make sure you get the entire leaf wet.
Use a sharp knife to cut away the stem of the collard leaves. Run the knife as close to the stem as possible, and come to a point about three-quarters of the way up the leaf. Make sure you do not cut through the entire leaf as your wrap will not hold together.
Now assemble your wraps.
Place the shiny side of the collard leaf down and bring the middle edges where the stem used to be close together. Use a spoon to spread a generous dollop of the avocado mash on the lower half of the leaf. About two inches from the bottom of the leaf place a handful of the grated carrots in a horizontal line across the leaf. Pile on the rest of your filling ingredients: 4-5 cucumber sticks, a few red cabbage shreds, 4 tofu sticks, a generous amount of sprouts and a few cilantro leaves.
To roll the leaf up, take the bottom two inner corners of the leaf where the stem used to be and fold them snugly over the mound of fillings. Make sure to tuck the ends in a bit under the filling mound so that the roll stays nice and tight. Now firmly roll the leaf the rest of the way up, making sure it stay snug the entire time.
Once you’ve reached the top of the leaf, use one hand to steady the roll while you slice it in half down the center. And voila, one roll done. Repeat this same process for the other two leaves.
To make the soy peanut dipping sauce, simply add all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk well to combine. The sauce should turn quite thick and shiny. Taste it and adjust the flavorings to suit your preference. If you’d like it sweeter, add a bit more maple syrup, or if you want it a little saltier, add more soy sauce. You could even add some chili oil or sriracha if you’re in the mood for a spicy sauce.
I do hope you give these two quick snacks a try! Take them with you on your next never-ending day and you’ll find you have more energy and endurance to cross off everything on your to-do list!
**For this post, I’ve partnered up with Kathleen, the wonder-woman behind CHICergy, a 360 life coaching program created by women for women. On her site, she offers tips and tricks for everything from fitness to meditation to relationships and provides custom coaching packages for individuals and couples. Find her at www.chicergy.com or follow her on Instagram @fabgurlfitness for lots of mental and physical inspiration!