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The Best Recipe for a Healthy Freelancer (Share Yours!)

Carol Tice

healthy snackWhen I started working from home as a freelancer, one of the first things I figured out was I needed to eat healthy.

Stand around the refrigerator snacking, and there won’t be a lot of writing getting done, and you’ll pack on the pounds, too.

By the same token, my freelance writing schedule rarely leaves time for me to stand around sauteeing spinach or waiting for pasta to cook or whatever. I usually have about 5-10 minutes tops to put a meal together.

When I’m writing on deadline, I get nervous and need to nibble. Again, that can’t mean a bag of Fritos or that will spell trouble.

Over the years, I’ve developed some go-to meals and snacks that are healthy and energize me rather than making me tired, overstuffed, or sleepy from too much fat or carbs.

Here are my fall-back staples for healthy freelance eating:


Hot weather: Cottage cheese with grapes and a few whole-grain crackers.

Cold weather: Half a whole-grain bagel with melted swiss, a tangerine and a half a red sweet pepper. Or leftover pasta loaded with vegetables.

Creative leftovers: I try to keep cooked brown rice or quinoa on hand as a base for quick meals. Throw in a little grated Mexi-cheese, Romano or feta, leftover salmon or chicken, a handful of leftover cooked veggies or raw spinach, and we’re good. Heat and eat in a bowl or throw it in a tortilla for quick wraps.

Alternatively, leftover salad that’s freshened up with feta, a few candied pecans, or maybe a handful of frozen peas (they’ll thaw out while I’m thinking about my outline). Salad also could be thrown into a pita with some leftover falafel balls and a bit of tahini.

Or in summer, plain vanilla yogurt with a little fruit or a half-teaspoon of jam.

Nibble-snacks for deadline writing:

When I’m stressed I get the jaw-clenching thing, so I like crunchy snacks that help that relax.

Raw almonds and raisins (when the almonds aren’t roasted and salted, you don’t crave and overeat them).

Nibble carrots or pea pods — these are my fave.

I’m no saint on eating, but I try to keep junk food out of the house so I don’t fall prey. The result: I weigh a bit less now than I did when I had an office job.

What’s your healthy quick-lunch or stress-nibble solution? Share recipes in the comments.

And while we’re on the subject of health, check out our guide to health insurance for freelancers.