We all get run down sometimes, and when you’re stressed, it’s easy to grab a bag of chips or donuts rather than fruit, vegetables or lean protein. Treats are not inherently a bad thing, of course, but when you’re feeling the stress of school, a busy workweek, general anxiety, or emotional distress, it’s especially important to eat food that will give you energy and help to lift your mood. Take good care yourself and enjoy one of our delicious suggestions for recipes to keep you happy and healthy.
Nothing is tastier and more filling in the AM than avocado toast. A slice of toasted fresh homemade bread (or a slice from your favorite bakery) gets topped with cold, creamy avocado, a few drops of mustard or hot sauce and a perfectly cooked over easy egg. The avocado and egg yolk are so decadent you’ll think you’re having a cheat meal, when in reality this dish is packed with protein, healthy fat and tons of flavor. It’s vegetarian too, but could totally be topped with turkey bacon or sausage for meat eaters. Change up the sauce, variety of bread, add any fresh herbs you love and you can have a different version of avocado toast every day of the week!
Green Monster Spinach Smoothie by Iowa Girl Eats
Drinking a green smoothie every day is a fast way to clearer skin and brighter eyes–plus, it’s great if you like to work out first thing and struggle with time or digestion issues. Adding a handful of greens to your smoothie is one of the easiest ways to improve your diet and stock up on much-needed nutrients, but this recipe is especially wonderful because, due to the banana, peanut butter and Greek yogurt, it actually tastes like a milkshake. (For a dairy free version, use a soy, almond or coconut milk yogurt instead, or simply leave it out if you don’t mind a thinner consistency.)
Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Pancakes by Running With Spoons
This is my go to breakfast when I’m feeling something decadent yet healthy, and when have a little time on my hands. I introduced these to my mom, and she absolutely loves them. A great alternative to heavy, syrup and butter-laden pancakes, these oatcakes are hearty, sweet, and filling. I sometimes add blueberries, and I’m sure they’d go great with a few chocolate chips sprinkled in alongside a steaming cup of coffee.
Pita Bread with Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers by Blogilates
Black bean and sweet potato burgers are easy to make and absolutely delicious. I used to make them all the time for dinner but alas, they are my husband’s two least favorite foods, so I converted the burgers into a healthy lunch by stuffing them inside a pita bread to take anywhere. I like to add arugula and a spread of mashed avocado; you could also add mayonnaise or cheese.
Kale, Barley and Feta Salad with a Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette by Sweet Peas & Saffron
This salad will make a kale-lover out of you and keep you going through the afternoon. It’s got such a great texture from the combination of kale, red onion, chickpeas, barley, and feta, plus it has just a hint of sweetness from the gorgeous honey-lemon vinaigrette (which can be used on a number of salads!).
Quinoa, Beet, and Black Bean Burrito Bowls with Caramelized Onions and Cumin-Lime Tahini by The Roasted Root
If you find yourself constantly craving Chipotle, this recipe is for you. This burrito bowl is meat free, dairy free and gluten free, yet it still tastes totally decadent thanks to the caramelized onions and sweet, creamy dressing. Since it can be eaten cold or hot, it’s the perfect lunch to put in Tupperware to take to school or work.
Brown Rice Jambalaya with Shrimp, Chicken Sausage & Bell Peppers by Domesticate Me
Give yourself a taste of the Big Easy with this easy, healthy jambalaya recipe. A dinner to look forward to all day long, it’s also a great option for batch cooking and freezing so that you have it on hand for any busy night.
Lazy Lasagna by Trim Healthy Mama
Healthy lasagna is real. This simple, quick lasagna-alternative is packed with nutritious value from the spinach and cottage cheese without sacrificing that cheesy, saucy taste. It’s perfect to make on a Sunday evening and eat throughout the week–and it even freezes well if you want to go crazy and make a huge batch!
Stuffed Chicken Breasts
This is my go-to meal when I want to eat well but don’t want the hassle of a fancy recipe. Make a slit in the chicken breast and stuff with goat cheese and spinach (blend together first if you’d prefer more of a sauce), or pesto and tomatoes, or garlic & herb flavored cream cheese. For an extra dose of deliciousness, wrap it up with a slice of bacon before you cook it at 450F for approximately 20 minutes. (Cooking chicken at higher heat for a shorter time will make it juicy and tender.) Serve with a side salad or fresh steam broccoli.
Snacks & Dessert
Tzatziki by The Wanderlust Kitchen
So, hummus is undeniably delicious. But it’s not the only yummy and healthy Mediterranean/Middle Eastern recipe to lather on your pita bread. Plus, tzatziki, with its cucumber, yogurt, and mint, will help keep you cool during the summer months.
Guacamole Better than Chipotle’s
Creamy, salty, with a backbite, the simplest guacs are the best. Mom makes hers by grinding sea salt, diced red onions, diced garlic, cilantro and lime together in a molcajete. Start adding your avocados, smush it all together with your pestle and spice with your favorite hot sauce. (Bonus points if it’s Crystal). You can add more of whichever ingredient you like the best, but warning, the garlic can overpower it so start small and add more to taste. It’s a perfect option for the lactose intolerant as it doesn’t have any sour cream, and it doesn’t have the runniness of guac with tomatoes (gross).
Green Beans with Soy Sauce
This may not be the healthiest snack where sodium is concerned, but it’s a damn good one. Throw some french cut green beans in a pan with your favorite cooking oil. Saute them to your desired texture–I like them a little undercooked/crunchy, so 5-6 minutes does the trick. Toss them in a teaspoon of low sodium soy sauce when they’re done to finish them off for a serving of vegetables that tastes almost too-good to be true. Sometimes I eat a giant bowl of them for dinner because they’re so addictive.
Lazy Girl’s Trail Mix (Almonds & Dark Chocolate Chips)
If you’re one of those people that eats trail mix mostly for the nuts and M&M’s, then this one’s for you. Most pre-packaged trail mixes are overpriced and overrated. Save yourself the hassle (and money) by picking up a package of lightly salted almonds and your favorite chocolate chips. Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips are a solid standby. Toss them in a to-go container and you’re good to go. This combination is perfect for a late afternoon craving. The almonds pack a lot of protein and satisfy the need for something salty, and the dark chocolate chips keep your sweet tooth at bay, with less sugar than the average dessert you might grab instead.
Apples with Peanut Butter and Raisins
Sweet, salty and crunchy all at once, this is the only way I know how to resist the appeal of a slice of cake in the afternoon, because it’s the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. You can also switch it up with almond butter, and other dried fruit or nuts, such as cherries, or crushed pistachios.
Berry Dessert Salad
I love berries, to the point where I commonly eat my way through a whole carton of raspberries within minutes. So this is basically a dream come true when it comes to healthy desserts. Berries are full of antioxidants, and are delicious, and this recipe is so easy, you’ll be done before you know it. Just add in however much of whatever berries you want. I put in half a cup each of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries; a sprinkle of blueberries; and a fourth cup of sugar (you can vary that amount depending on how healthy you want it). It’s also nice to add in a few mint leaves. Mix all together, and enjoy!
What are your favorite recipes to reach for during times or stress? Tweet us @LitDarling!
Featured Image by Robert Gourley.
By Jodie, Kirstie, Katy, Emily, Katie, Allie, and Kristin U.
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