Carrots, Pita & Hummus, Raspberries, Banana, Dark Chocolate Trail Mix Bark
When the weather is as miserable as it has been lately, you can really start to feel when you haven’t been eating enough fruits and vegetables. Especially during stressful times, such as the second week of exams that I am currently going through. I wanted to let you know one of my favourite lunches to pack during these times, as I promised you another “Packed Lunch” post. This lunch has 2 fruits, a vegetable, protein, complex carbohydrates, and a treat to help boost your mood. The best part is that it is incredibly simple to throw together, with barely any prep time.
I used the Lunch Blox Salad Kit, along with a snack and side container from the Lunch Blox Sandwich Kit, but you can use any sized containers or bento boxes that you have at home. I just like that these kits allow you to easily portion your different meal components.
The main part of the lunch is super easy to pack. I simply cut a whole grain pita into triangles, and then place those into the large container from the Salad Kit. Then I spoon a bit of roasted garlic hummus into the snack container (from the Sandwich Kit), and fill the side container (also from the Sandwich Kit) with baby carrots. Last, I fill the salad toppings tray with raspberries, half a banana (eating the other half with breakfast) and dark chocolate trail mix bark that I had made earlier. That’s it!
When you are in a bad mood or are stressed out from work or school, fruits and vegetables are the best things to be eating, and are coincidentally the easiest things to be packing, because they take little to no prep time. I love berries (or grapes) because all you have to do is wash them and throw them into a container, and they’re more fun to eat. Plus, berries are full of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and some even have additional anti-cancer properties (like anti-inflammation).
Sometimes, though, you want something that picks you up and shakes you out a lot better than berries can, and that’s where the dark chocolate trail mix bark comes in. I typically buy some nuts and dried fruit in bulk and keep them mixed up in a jar to grab as a snack when I’m in a rush. There are some great combinations that you can make for trail mix snacks, and they all go very well with different kinds of chocolate for the bark. So, if you would like me to make a post with some trail mix ideas, like or leave a comment on this post and I’ll make sure I get that to you! This week, I had pecans, slivered almonds, and dried cherries ready to go, and I thought that those flavours would pair perfectly with some 70% dark chocolate (which itself has powerful antioxidants, and can help with blood pressure and cholesterol, along with its mood boosting power). I’ll leave the recipe below so you can make your own at home!
- slivered almonds
- dried cherries (when you buy dried fruit, avoid varieties with unnecessary added sugar and sulfites; dried fruit should not be brightly coloured)
- 70% dark chocolate
- line a baking sheet with wax paper
- melt chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring after every interval
- poor the chocolate in the centre of the wax paper, and spread into an even layer (not too thin, or else the bark will stick to the wax paper or crumble apart)
- sprinkle your trail mix ingredients over the chocolate while it is still melted. You can add as much or as little trail mix as you like, but the more you add, the thicker you probably want the chocolate to be, so that it can hold everything together
- place your baking sheet in the fridge (or freezer) to allow the chocolate to cool
- once the chocolate is cooled and stiff, break the chocolate into pieces to create the bark (I try to make sure every piece has every ingredient on it) and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and don’t let this miserable weather get you down. I find that the best way to get out of a slump is to take a good look at what I’ve been eating and try new things. I made this bark on a whim, without knowing whether or not it would work out, and now I keep some in the fridge as a quick pick-me-up (whenever I remember I have it in there!). I also find that making it with the dark chocolate, rather than sweet chocolates, keeps me from overindulging while savouring the flavours that I paired it with a lot more. Again, let me know if you’d like to see some more trail mix combinations in another post, but until then, have fun and don’t let this weather get you down!