Snack and Packing Ideas To Reduce Meal Prep Time

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I used to either eat out or eat garbage – frozen lunches with high nitrate and sodium – but then I would see my colleague with an array of or colorful vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Some signs of disservice to myself that I had noticed after lunch was that I was extremely lethargic and craved salt. Two sure signs of dehydration.

Being able to time manage and pack a decent lunch is becoming less and less common. People find themselves with malnutrition, high cholesterol, and all that comes with a poor diet.  However, just like any other occupation, occupational therapists view meal prep as part of instrumental activities of daily living.

Throwing a frozen burrito or TV dinner in your lunch bag is not necessarily meal prep.

It often is conveniently lazy.

Is it archaic or generational-neglect to create a substantially nutritious lunch with produce from a home refrigerator?

Perhaps, it’s all about time. Time management skills may also be something to improve upon. It didn’t take me overnight to learn a skill to pack a good meal for work.  What it did take was:

  1. prioritizing,
  2. planning ahead, and
  3. changing the water-cooler talk from gossip to questions like “what’s a quick healthy meal you make for yourself?”

Now, instead of ogling over my coworker’s sack lunch, I made lifestyle changes…coworkers oogle over mine. One of those changes includes a delicious bar packed for a mid-morning snack.

DAWN’S HEALTHY SNACK BARS

Makes: 16 Bars  Oven Temp: 325 degrees F

Equipment:
  • 10”x18” Jellyroll pan or cookie sheet,
  • parchment lining paper, wax paper

Sift together into bowl:

  • 1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • ¼ Cup Tapioca Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt

Mix into dry ingredients:

  • 1/3 Cup Dried Coconut
  • ½ Cup Roasted Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ Cup Pinenuts
  • ½ Cup Craisins or Raisins
  • ½ Cup Dried Figs or Apricots, finely chopped

In a 2-cup measuring cup or bowl, mix together:

  • ½ Cup Cashew Butter
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • ½ Banana, mashed (1 Banana, if not adding egg)
  • 1 Lemon, shredded zest & juice
  • 1 Egg (optional)

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Bring dough together and lay out between two 20” long pieces of wax paper. With a rolling pin, roll out evenly in thickness to a rectangle 8”x16” (pushing in on sides and ends to make them as straight as possible). With wax paper still on, move dough onto a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet and place in freezer for about 15 minutes or more. Then, remove from feezer, place on a cutting board and peel off top wax paper. With a long chopping knife, cut in half length-wise and cross-wise, with a chopping down motion. Then continue to cut so you have 4 across and 4 down. Quickly lift up the pieces while attached to the wax paper and invert onto the parchment-lined jellyroll pan. Move bars slightly apart on the parchment and bake in a 325 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cool and wrap individually in wax paper. Store in closed container or freezer.