If you need some new snacks and ideas to keep your mind stimulated and your energy up throughout the day, this is post for you!
Working from home is a challenge no matter what your job is. You do not have to go very far to get to your space, but there are so many distractions at your disposal, from family members to your phone to the internet to my favorite, the kitchen. Even after eight months, I am still struggling to find the best technique so that I get everything done in an efficient manner, eat properly, and keep my body as strong and agile as possible despite hunching over a computer for hours. Fortunately, my friend has introduced a new time management and productivity technique that caters to these problems, and I am so excited to share it with all of you!
What Is This Incredible Tool?
Inbox Dance Party was started by my POPTAP friend Katherine McClintic as a way to keep our bodies moving while we continue with the work-at-home lifestyle, which for many of us means screen time while sitting in a chair - or standing if you have extra willpower :D. Either way, we are often so preoccupied with the task at hand that we forget to take a break, reposition ourselves, stretch our legs, or even breathe! In theory, these are simple actions that should just come naturally, but we have nothing holding us accountable, so we just push it off and try to recover when it is too late.
However, with timed playlists full of calm music to encourage focus and then upbeat jams to let loose and dance it out, she has devised the perfect tool to keep our bodies and minds as functional as possible, all without us even having to think about it! Along with motivational stories, thought-provoking themes, applicable and 100% achievable calls to action, and transformative resources, you are set to revamp your entire lifestyle for the better. And who doesn't love a solo dance party to lift our spirits?!
Where Syncopated Comes In
Besides feeding our souls with music and movement, we literally need to feed ourselves to stay in tip-top shape since food fuels for our mental and physical energy - basically everything we do. With well-balanced combinations of ingredients and nutrients, we can help ourselves to reach our utmost potential in all aspects of our life. Intelligent snacking does not mean boring food though; with some Syncopated flair, this experience is transformed into a joyful activity you will want to to repeat again and again, both in preparation and in eating! In line with the Pomodoro Technique that Inbox Dance Party's playlist follows (long bursts of work followed by short breaks and then a longer break, all in a continuous cycle), I have created a collection of fun and nourishing snacks that can be prepared in these breaks so you can keep your workflow moving forward while still having enough time to eat well.
Often, meal preparation can lead to a significant detour in completing your to-do list on time because either you don't know what to eat or you get sidetracked with a dish that takes up too many minutes. The kitchen is definitely a great place to let your mind wander and experiment - but not always at the expense of your other responsibilities. Hopefully, these ideas will help you focus your meals while kicking them up a notch, enabling you to accomplish those initial, necessary projects sooner. Then, you can spend your time cherishing your personal life without the pressure of work, and you will realize how much more fulfilled and effective you can be across the board!
Below, I have categorized the dishes into 5 and 15-Minute Snacks so that you have options to choose from depending on which break you decide to eat. I have also included some tips (or secret ingredients if you'd like!) to guide you in these structured cooking adventures so that you really can optimize your breaks and still have time to dance too - after all, this is supposed to be a dance party, so your body should be feeling the music (start at 1:40), even in an untraditional environment! And if you still have doubts that you cannot complete these recipes in the allotted time or don't know how to turn your cooking into a dance party, check out this video by Katherine and myself for further inspiration!
The Secret Ingredients
Prep Ingredients Ahead of Time: Just like you plan out your meetings and tasks ahead of time, plan what you are going to eat the day before. By doing so, you actually have the availability to cut vegetables or cook some ingredients that might take up too much time or focus during your work day. If you like potato salad, cook the potatoes at night. If you like a vegetable and grain bowl, chop the vegetables. Of course, you could prep the whole dish ahead of time too, but half the pleasure of it is putting it together - your body needs the extra activity as well. Be proactive, but don't be lazy! And if you know you will want to enjoy this dish more than once, prep it in bulk so that you do not have to start from scratch every time.
Buy Time-Saving Products: If you don't have time to prepare ahead of time (and dance while performing these tasks), this recommendation if for you. No, I am not highlighting processed foods, just foods that will help to speed up your cooking when pressed for time. If you want to eat the tastiest spiced nut mix, you should purchase roasted nuts instead of doing that yourself. If you want almond butter, you do not have to stand by the food processor for 10 minutes. If you want extra flavor, buy an infused oil. If you like layers of spices, choose a blend.
Use These Recipes as Guidelines: Be one with your food - don't let the recipe stress you out! As you will see, I do not like to specify proportions in regards to seasoning because everyone has different preferences. I also do not like to be limited if I do not have one specific ingredient. Go with the flow to stay on track, let the music move you, and ultimately, use the flavor profiles and types of ingredients to guide your cooking, just like the dance tutorials and motivational videos for Inbox Dance Party. I want you to be empowered and capable of eating delicious snacks without any worries or delays. If I say pepper jack and you only have Tabasco or cayenne, go for it! If I say lemon juice and you have red wine vinegar, that's okay! If I say potato and you have pasta, no sweat! If I say cashew and you have walnuts, more power to you! Don't be afraid to get to know your creative side more!
If you have yet to subscribe to Inbox Dance Party and cannot wait another second, please do so here! We hope you have a fantastic time listening and grooving to the playlists Katherine puts together each month along with utilizing these snacks to power you up throughout your busy days. After all, this kitchen is for eating AND dancing, and yours should be too!