Let's talk about food, more specifically about snacks in VR meetups. Most of the VR meetings I've attended in NY they provide pizza and beer, don't get me wrong I love pizza more than I should but if this is where the world is heading then we need to include some healthy habits that will bring balance to this new world. I get it, pizza is easy, fast and everybody loves it, it's a win-win but no for your body.
You might think that because you are not struggling with weight gain that junk food is not harmful to you but I'm sorry to be the one to break the bad news: Junk food is poor in nutrition and it has some nasty side effects.
Smart Cooky put together 5 of the most harmful effects that junk food has on our brain:
It can cause memory and learning problems
Increases the risk of dementia
Lessens its ability to control appetite
It can cause chemical changes that can lead to depression
It makes you impatient and can cause uncontrollable cravings
Does this mean that you have to give up junk food altogether? Some experts might say yes but I'm all about balance! I try to go by the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time I try to eat healthy nourishing foods and the other 20% I indulge and have primary foods with my family & friends. Going back to the pizza, it's perfectly fine to have it once in a while but every time I'm in a VR meetup pizza shows up and that seems to be a trend, at least in NY. I would like to spice it up a little bit and share some easy snacks that are delicious and you can make them in no time when you're hosting a VR meetup.
Caprese sticks (Gluten free & Vegetarian)
Grape or Cherry tomatoes
Mini Mozzarella, go for the Italian one
Instructions: Wash and rinse your produce, even the sticks. Alternate between the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil until you are satisfied. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar and sprinkle some salt on top. The amount of food you'll need will depend on how many guests you will have. As you can see in the picture, I've used 3 tomatoes and 2 mini mozzarella halves per brochette stick.
Turkey Meatballs (Gluten & dairy free)
1lb or 450gr of ground turkey
1 egg (optional)
1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried or fresh parsley
1 tbsp organic ketchup
Coconut oil for frying
Instructions: In a large bowl mix the ground turkey (I suggest that you get antibiotic/hormone free) with all the ingredients but the coconut oil. If you are the adventurous type then you can experiment with different spices & dressings. Once you've finished combining all the ingredients, cover and let it sit in the fridge as long as you can (max 1 day). Remove from the fridge and form small meatballs with your hands, the smaller they are the faster they'll cook. In a large skillet add the coconut oil to a medium heat, place the meatballs and cook them until brown and fully cooked. Serve with a dipping sauce, I choose a marinara sauce without sugar added. Makes 16 mini meatballs approx.
Artisan spinach rollups (Vegetarian)
12oz/350gr store bought puff pastry dough (If frozen thaw before use)
1 10oz/280gr box of frozen spinach
8oz/240gr ricotta cheese
sea salt & pepper
Instructions: Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Cook the frozen spinach according to the box instructions and let it cool down. Mix the spinach with the egg, ricotta and add 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and let it rest in the fridge while you roll out the puff pastry dough. About the puff pastry, I highly suggest that you read the ingredients before buying, some puff pastries have unnecessary added ingredients. You can find puff pastry dough in supermarkets, bakeries or you can make it yourself. Spread the mixture on top the puff pastry and roll it up. If the dough is getting too sticky, place it in the fridge for 30 min. Cut the spinach roll into pieces and place them on a baking sheet tray with parchment paper, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and bake it for 10 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown. Serve with cherry tomatoes or any sauce you'd like. Makes about 15 spinach rollups.
Baba Ghanoush or Mutabal (Vegan)
1lbs/1/2kg fresh eggplant
2-3 garlic cloves
1/3cup/75ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup/120ml olive oil
salt and pepper
Instructions: Preheat oven 425F/220C. Wash the eggplant and make a criss-cross cut. Bake the eggplant until is soft (at least 20 min) Peel and cut the garlic, remove the eggplant and let it cool down. Cut the eggplant into small pieces without the skin. Mix all the ingredients, top with slices carrots and serve with toasted pita bread. If you're not an eggplant fan you can swap it for hummus.
Sundried Goat cheese bruschetta (vegetarian)
A french baguette bread or you can choose a gluten free bread
Goat cheese (room temperature)
Sundried tomatoes in olive oil jar
Extra virgin olive oil
Instructions: Slice and toast the bread, spread the goat cheese and top with sliced sundried tomatoes. If you can't find sundried tomatoes in olive oil, you can make yours. Add some fresh parsley and sprinkle some olive oil on top. Serve with a side of olives, I've used manzanilla olives.
Try them, they are easy and super tasty. What's your favorite VR snack?