Healthy Snacks for the Office

Granola popsicles are something you need in your life. 

Editor's Note: This post originally ran August 24th, 2016. The Team thought it best to bring back to the forefront of our minds, as resolutions may have fallen to the wayside and mindless snacking on the rise. Office snacks are great to have on hand for any time you're so hungry you want to bite someone and too tired to do anything more than go to the vending machine. Keep nearby to stave off disaster. Xx. 

Normally my day goes something like this: I snag a filling breakfast, scarf down a quick lunch, and then it's 4 p.m., and I am so hungry, I can't decide whether to wait until dinner and know I'll be an emotional mess or eat everything in sight until I'm bloated and uncomfortable. Sound familiar?

What do I snack on at the office or on really busy days? is a question I get from almost every client of mine. The issue usually to be solved lies in being restricted to the snacks present in the office rather than what is sustaining and nutritious. It is because of this problem that settling for a candy bar or stale chips only to be hungry 20 minutes later is more common than not. Since I am going to be working with some amazing interns soon, and having snacks at creative meetings is a must for me, I wanted to group together delicious alternatives that kick boring snacks like granola bars to the curb. 

I love these snacks because of their low sugar content, mix of healthy fats and protein, and minimally, if at all, processed ingredients. Enjoy!  

The perfect savory balance between creamy and crunchy. It's a colorful treat for your eyes and a flavorful party for your tastebuds. Using carrots, celery, peppers, or whatever vegetables you have on hand is a great way to up your vegetable intake and ensure nothing you buy goes to waste. Great Vibes Tip: Buy plain hummus and stir in extras for a change of pace (i.e. olives and oregano, parsley and lemon, pine nuts and basil, hot sauce, etc.).

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Whether you call them rice crackers or cakes, they usually are accompanied by horrified faces from childhood memories of plain, stale snacks. But, they've gotten quite the remix. What I love about these is the crunch factor you can't get from a simple slice of bread. I've shown you two ways here: one with avocado, cayenne, salt, and pepper; and the other with almond butter and banana. Great Vibes Tip: Try peanut butter with a drizzle of honey or hummus with a slice of tomato. Endless options. Delish!

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Probably my favorite of this entire bunch and one you can only really do if your office has a freezer. That being said, it is incredibly simple. Blend up one banana, a dash of cinnamon, and three (+/-) cups of coconut milk. Divide the mixture among your popsicle molds. I used an actually popsicle mold, but paper cups, old yogurt containers, or an ice cube tray works flawlessly. Place in the freezer for ten minutes. After the ten minutes are up, cover the exposed part with granola, press down gently, and then push your popsicle stick into place. Cover and freeze until solid. Great Vibes Tip: Make your own granola! Bake 3 cups oats, 1/2 cup buckwheat, and two tablespoons chia seeds on a baking sheet in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes. While baking, stir together two tablespoons coconut oil, two tablespoons maple syrup or honey, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and half a teaspoon of turmeric. After the dry ingredients have become slightly fragrant, remove from the oven, mix with the wet ingredients, and place back into the oven. Turn the oven off, and let sit for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Keeps well in a glass container in the refrigerator. 

I could chat the benefits of kombucha for an incredibly long time, and you've seen me make cocktails with it here and here. I love this snack, because it is easy for on-the-go travel. It provides healthy bacteria and that sweet and savory element that satisfies almost all cravings. To make the roasted chickpeas, strain the liquid from one can, pat to dry with a paper towel, and mix with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and black pepper, salt, and cayenne to taste. Bake on a baking sheet at 395 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5 or so, until crispy and crunchy. Great Vibes Tip: Don't like chickpeas? Roast cashews or almonds for a delicious alternative. 

Sometimes, nothing is going to satisfy that sweet craving except chocolate. Rather than dive into a bag of M&Ms (though that has a time and place) choose rich, dark chocolate, preferably 65% cacao or higher. The above chocolate is found at Trader Joe's with an impressive cacao content of 82 percent. Have a couple squares and savor each piece. If you still want more 10 minutes later, have another square. Repeat until satisfied. 

+What is your favorite snack here? Which one are you most likely to make?


Five Go-To Smoothie Recipes

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It is no surprise how fond I am of smoothies (exhibit ABC). They are cheap to make if you shop smart, they take moments to whip up, and they are just as great for breakfast as they are for a snack or dessert. Plus, when it comes to sneaking greens into your daily routine, there's nothing better than a chocolate smoothie with spinach - can't even taste it, promise.

Let's face it, though. Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a rut. In fact, I feel that way right about now! I thought I would dig through my personal files, draw out my favorite combos I've made in the past, and put them together for you in a handy dandy post. This is a preview of a 14-Day Smoothie Challenge coming your way in May. Interested? Stay in the loop by clicking below!

 

Let's get started with five go-to smoothie recipes you don't want to miss!

A couple notes first:

1. For creamy, thick smoothies, freeze berries or bananas beforehand. Best way to freeze bananas? Peel, slice, and lay bananas flat on a baking tray. Place in the freezer. Transfer to a bag and use when needed.

2. The liquid measurements (i.e. 1.5 cups of almond milk) are just estimates. Use more or less depending on desired thickness of smoothie.  

3. Ice is always optional. 

4. If these aren't sweet enough, have no fear! Add in an all natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey to satisfy your need. Start at 1 teaspoon and increase to taste. 

4. Top them with the good stuff! I often put toppings on my smoothies (i.e. granola, chocolate shavings, coconut, almond meal, fresh berries, soaked nuts, etc.) to make these into nourishing and complete meals. Everyone has a unique diet and these recipes are perfect bases for getting all the necessary goods. Don't be afraid to limit the liquid, make it more thick like a frosty, and top it with yummy goodness for a great smoothie bowl. 

Okay. Nowwwww let's get started ... 

Almond Banana Smoothie
great for protein needs and sweet cravings

Ingredients::
+ 1 cup ice
+ 1.5 cups almond milk
+ 2 bananas
+ 2-3 tbsp almond butter
+ Optional: 1 tsp cinnamon & nutmeg
To make:
Throw all ingredients into a blender, send for a whirl until combined, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

Berry Detox Smoothie
great for bloating or indigestion

Ingredients::
+ 1 cup ice
+ 1 cup fruit juice or non-dairy milk of choice
+ 1 cup frozen berries
+ 1 cup spinach or kale (fresh or frozen)
+ 1/2 cup bananas (already peeled, sliced, & frozen)
+ 1 tbsp chia seed
+ 1 tbsp flax seed

To make:
Throw all ingredients into a blender, send for a whirl until combined, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

Anxiety Kicker Smoothie
great for headaches, stress, or anxiety

Ingredients::
+ 1 cup ice
+ 1.5 cup non-dairy milk of choice
+ 1 cup frozen berries
+ 1 cup spinach or kale (fresh or frozen)
+ 1/2 cup oatmeal
+ Optional add-ins: 1 tbsp chia seed, 1 tbsp flax seed, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp tumeric

To make:
Throw all ingredients into a blender, send for a whirl until combined, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

The Creamy Goodness Smoothie
great for belly bloat or fatigue

Ingredients::
+ 1 cup ice
+ 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
+ 1 cup frozen mango
+ 1 half of an avocado
+ 1/4 cup oats
+ 1 tbsp chia seed
+ 1 tbsp flax seed

To make:
Throw all ingredients into a blender, send for a whirl until combined, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

PB (or AB) Cup Smoothie
great for chocolate cravings or protein needs

Ingredients::
+ 1-3 cups ice
+ 1.5 cups of non-dairy milk of choice
+ 1 frozen banana
+ 1 cup spinach or kale (fresh or frozen)
+ 1 tbsp (or more) cocoa or cacao powder
+ 1 tbsp organic peanut butter or almond butter

To make:
Throw all ingredients into a blender, send for a whirl until combined, pour into a glass, and enjoy!

And there you have it! Make these your own by changing up the fruits you've used, asking questions, and finding a recipe that makes you happy dance all around the room. 

Cheers to Great Smoothie Vibes! Xx. 


What is your favorite smoothie?

Tag @yourfriend_em on Twitter or Instagram when you make any of these recipes. Share this with people who could use some smoothie in their lives. Hashtag #thegreatvibesguide to spread the Great Vibes! Xx


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Beat the Afternoon Slump: 3 Natural Alternatives to Coffee

So, that above statement is truer than true, am I right? As a proud coffee addict, this was never a post I imagined writing. It's coffee coffee coffee all day every day. Even as I edit this, I'm drinking my morning cup, so why would I be looking for alternatives?

Anxiety.

This past week, I found myself extra anxious having my afternoon cup. I found myself easily overwhelmed and worried over things which normally I'm pretty chill about. When I was sick a few weeks ago, I didn't even want coffee (serious gasp) and since then, I've been hyper aware of how it's affecting my system. Thus, today's post. Lately I am all about alleviating anxiety a kind and natural way, especially since I wrote last week about 5 ways you might have anxiety and not know it. But, and this is a huge but, I have trouble avoiding my love in the afternoon.

I recognize my mental health - and thus my overall health - is far more important than my traditional cup, but there's something so lovely about my afternoon tradition. In high school, I always shared a cup of coffee with my mom, chatting about my day, and taking a moment away from work to energize and refocus. Serious nostalgia for those laughs and memories, and every day I have a cup of coffee around three, I'm reminded to take a deep breath and settle into my afternoon workflow. Coffee is definitely part of my identity -- you'll never see me without a coffee mug (ceramic or travel, I don't discriminate); I'm always scheduling meetings and dates at coffee shops; and my new favorite shirt says, "all I need is coffee & mascara". Coffee is life. My life.

But while researching all kinds of greatness for a guide coming to The Shop next month, I stumbled across several alternatives to coffee. Curious, I tried them, knowing I could always follow them up with the ol' standby worst case scenario. Surprisingly, I was elated to find they were just as energizing, equally delicious, and still provided many great health benefits.

Without further ado, here are tried-and-true alternatives to coffee that provide lasting energy and beat the afternoon slump. Think: no spikes or jitteriness!

1. Apples

If you know me personally, up about as high on the totem pole as coffee is my love for apples. An apple a day keeps me happy, and lately I'll even admit to having two! Apples are composed of natural sugars, which the body quickly digests and turns into energy. Because apples are high in fiber, they’re absorbed by the body more slowly, which results in a continual stream of energy (a.k.a. no spikes or crashes -- heck yeah). I was intrigued by my favorite food when I read apples can give you a better energy boost than coffee.

2. Peppermint Tea with Honey

This is definitely my new favorite. In fact, I'm kind of obsessed - emoji with heart eyes - over this drink. Peppermint is naturally stimulating. It supports healthy digestion and has a sweet, strong taste all on it's own. Adding honey, though, really kicks it up a notch. Low on the glycemic index, honey is nature’s version of a quick energy shot, giving you a steady stream of energy to tackle all you have on your plate. Honey also has a whole host of other amazing properties, but we'll save that for another day. This mix is especially good before or after a workout. I've been drinking it mid-morning through work and in the late afternoon to tame my sugar habit and beat the slump and it's doing wonders.

3. Chia Seeds

So chia seeds have/had/will always have a moment in my life. They are probably the best addition to my plant-based diet ever. They are full of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and protein, meaning they tick off some serious nutrient necessities and keep you satiated. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for 90-minute workouts the same way as an energy drink would, but without all the extra sugar. The recipe below takes the natural, energizing benefits of fruit sugars combined with these nutritional powerhouses to create a delicious, tastes-like-desert, afternoon snack seriously capable of kicking the afternoon slump.


Chia Seed Pudding:
+ 1/4 cup chia seeds
+ 2 cups almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice/ water also works)
+ 1 banana
+ Optional: 1tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, and tumeric

If you have a blender, grind the chia seeds, add the banana and liquid, and blend it all together. If you're running low on time or don't have a blender/grinder, mash the banana with a fork, add the milk, and stir in the chia seeds. Let sit 45 minutes or longer in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Note: The chia seeds absorb 10x their weight in water, making a deliciously creamy pudding. By letting them sit for a length of time, the flavors combine and the recipe thickens, but if you are short on time, don't stress. It's still really good. Once the mixture reaches desired consistency, let your afternoon slump be gone!

There are some pretty great finds if I do say so myself. While I am definitely making these swaps, I'll be honest, sometimes I just want the quiet nostalgia of drinking coffee in the afternoon. Anxiety is real and sometimes kind thoughts and memories handle it better than diet, but these three alternatives are amazing. When I have them, I don't feel jittery or shaky. I haven't felt out of my skin or unable to process what is happening around me or to me. Instead, I feel stable, able to handle what's being thrown my way. I'd say nutrition for the win!


What is your favorite afternoon pick me up? Let's chat in the comments below?


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P.S.S. Have you checked out all of the
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Apple Tart (v, gf) & Fearing Your Power

During December's gathering, the table was decorated with flowers, champagne, and three delicious treats. Whipped coconut cream sat beside a beautiful and warm apple tart next to a dish of the tastiest chocolate chip oatmeal cookies ever. Today, I'm (Emily, here!) dishing out an oh-so-easy dessert recipe you need to make asap. Seriously. I'm thinking this is the perfect recipe to say I love you this V-Day. You know, if you're into that kind of thing.

But before we get started, I wanted to talk about getting back into the groove. I've been going through a pretty rough time, and even though TGVG has maintained it's beauty and love, my heart has not. It's been having a hard time processing, accepting, moving forward, letting go, getting over crushes, finding new ones, being sick of rejection, being excited by possibility. It's been overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed. Not in the usual work or school kind of way, just by my power.

Does that make sense? Do you ever get overwhelmed by the concept of how you have the power to shape your emotions, to control the outcome, to work with all you have and make it more or less? Because you actually have that power. Every time you sit in your pity party, you have the power to turn it off and make it a dance party. When you are angry, you have the power to shape that anger into productivity and progress. When you are sad, you have the power to turn that sadness around to a form of hope.

This realization is overwhelming for me, because some days I don't want to know of this power. Lately, nothing felt right, and I knew I had the power to change it around, to fix what I could, let go of what I couldn't, find inspiration in something new, but I just didn't want to at all.

So I didn't.

I wallowed and cried and left it all to February. Well February is here, and even though I don't really want to, I'm dealing with my s*** and pulling myself together. Here are small steps I'm taking to feeling better about myself and my life (taken straight, unedited from my journal)::

1. Floss, because I gotta

2. No more TV/Netflix/Videos on school nights (except movie nights with M, or if I have to watch something for film class). Instead I will read or paint or do my hair or yoga or just breathe.

3. Wake up and be up at 8 am everyday - weekends between 9:30 and 10:30

4. Kind bedtime routine with pj's & mindfulness.

5. Cleanse & detox once this month (over a weekend)
TGVG note::
detoxes are not for everyone, but Emily likes them a lot and has experienced tremendous positives from them, so she does them!

These might seem too small or too large for you, but they are perfect for me, and I encourage you to find several small steps to turn your life back to the one you want. Because you have the power to do so right now. If you're waiting for permission from someone to take control of your life, this is your permission -- go for it! If you need help, reach out and ask for some!

Now let's change your life with some TART!!! OHMYGOD Yes.

This recipe brings all of the Great Vibes because it's ...

super easy to assemble and make
sweet
chewy
rich yet light (promise)
decadent
versatile
superfoods to the max

Apple Tart (v, gf)
Ingredients ::

Crust -

+ 2 cups oat flour (whole oats ground in coffee grinder or blender)
+ 1.5 cups almond flour
+ 1/2 tsp sea salt
+ 1/2 cup coconut oil
+ 1/2 cup maple syrup

Filling -

+ 4 apples
+ 2 tbsp lemon juice
+ 2 tbsp maple syrup
+ 3 tbsp sliced almonds

Glaze-

+ 1 tbsp Maple syrup
+ 1 tbsp Lemon juice
+ 1 tbsp Water

Recipe ::

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a bowl combine oat flour, almond flour & salt.

3. Heat coconut oil and maple syrup, stirring to combine.

4. Add coconut oil & maple syrup to flour and stir until combined. Try not to over stir -- if you do, it can make dough more tough and chewy.

5. Spread dough in an oiled tart pan, press down, & fill sides to form a crust. If you don't have a tart pan, just use a pie plate!

6. Pierce crust with a fork several times and bake for 15 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and flatten crust with a fork -- push it back down until it resembles a flat crust again and not a Dutch Pancake!

8. Peel and evenly, thinly slice 4 apples. Once crust is out, place apples in the design of your choice - or just throw 'em in - inside the tart.

9. Combine maple syrup and lemon juice and brush over the apples.

10. Sprinkle almonds on top and bake for 1 hour or so until the apples are soft and slightly browned.

11. Combine all the ingredients for the glaze, plus or minus any ingredients to taste.

12. Brush tart with glaze.

9. Devour & enjoy! Best served warm with whipped cream or ice cream - gramps' & my fave.

Notes::

All ingredients are vegan and most are organic.  If these things are important to you, I encourage you to do the same. Finances, availability, and personal consumer choice can impact purchase decisions. My hope is that you closely follow the recipe, but make allowances where necessary -- my feelings won't be hurt, and your taste buds will still have a party. Promise!

+ What's your favorite pie or tart recipe?


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P.S.S. Have you checked out all of the
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The Yummiest Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (v, gf) & Forgiveness for Biting Off More than I Could Chew

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At last week's gathering, the table was decorated with flowers, champagne, and three delicious treats. Whipped cream sat beside an apple tart, both behind a dish of the tastiest chocolate chip oatmeal cookies ever. Today, I'm (Emily, here!) dishing out the best cookie recipe for you to make asap. Seriously. A must-make recipe with ingredients you probably have on hand right now. 

But before we get started, I wanted to talk about biting off more than you can chew, about me biting off more than I could chew. This last year has been humbling with necessary weekends of rest, of moments of silence, of tasks not being started or completed. Some really energizing projects were finished quickly and with pride. Not everything is cake and champagne, however, and some did nothing but land me in bed and leave me feeling defeated.

I wanted to accomplish a lot of things this year, and I didn't get to most of them. Shocker. It occurred to me, though, the ones I did complete were important. To not recognize them would be dismissing key triumphs of 2015. If we forget to reflect on what we did do - even if it's watching 12 seasons of TV on Netflix - we'll never be happy. Ever. It will always be an and then or but then game. It will be a game of always chasing instead of stringing together the happy moments that make a life of happiness.

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So yeah, I sure as heck bit off more than I could chew, because that's who I am, and I'll always want more of the great feeling of accomplishment. But I'm starting to realize it's okay. It's okay I didn't finish them or even start them to finish them. They will be there for next year's growth. They will be there when I'm running out of ideas. They will be there just as they are intended. I've completed what I've completed, and this is enough. I am enough. No eBook or extra program or additional client or extra photo will make me worthy. I am already worthy. I extend this freedom to you. You are already enough. You are already worthy. You don't need to complete another project, cross something off your never-ending to-do list, or lose 10 pounds to be better. You are already enough.


So bite off more than you can chew, and then be okay if it doesn't work out. Set your sights to bigger and better, but be content with whatever happens, because it's all working out regardless.

If you don't want to think any more of your to-do list, you might want to bite into more than you can chew of these cookies, so get ready and get set for some serious yum!

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This recipe brings all of the Great Vibes because it's ...

super easy to make
ready to eat in under 30 minutes
sweet
chewy
rich
decadent
versatile

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients ::

+ 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

+ 3/4 cup oat flour (process 1 cup of oats in a coffee grinder or blender to make your own and then scoop out desired amount)

+ 1/2 cup coconut sugar

+ 1/2 tsp sea salt

+ 1 tsp of cinnamon

+ 1/2 tsp baking soda

+ 1/2 tsp baking powder

+ 1 small banana, mashed

+ 1/3 cup olive oil

+ 1/2 cup maple syrup

+ 1 tsp vanilla extract

+ 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup chocolate chips or other add-ins (I did 1/2 - 1 cup chocolate chips, because I love chocolate. No shame.)

Recipe ::

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients - except add-ins. Stir to combine.

3. In a blender, add all wet ingredients, and pulse until fully combined. Alternatively, use a fork to mash the banana, and then whisk all the wet ingredients together.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until completely mixed.

5. Toss in desired add-ins and mix.

6. Drop tablespoon-full sized balls of dough onto the parchment paper. If crumbly, use fingers to mold into circles. They will hold once baked.

7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops brown, and the edges are slightly crispy.

8. Remove from oven to let cool.

9. Devour & enjoy!

Notes::

Makes between 17 and 20 cookies.

Other add-in options include raisins, walnuts, other types of chocolate, etc.

If you're not feeling bananas for health reasons or otherwise, try subbing equal applesauce or sweet potato puree at your own risk.

All ingredients are vegan and most are organic.  If these things are important to you, I encourage you to do the same. Finances, availability, and personal consumer choice can impact purchase decisions. My hope is that you closely follow the recipe, but make allowances where necessary -- my feelings won't be hurt, and your taste buds will still have a party. Promise!

+ What are your favorite cookies?


P.S. Did you know you get The Great Vibes Holiday Guide when you sign up for The Newsletter? Subscribe right now >>>>>

P.S.S. Have you checked out all of the
other places Emily's spreading the Great Vibes?