Balancing a Busy Lifestyle

By: Taylor and Bethany - PLN interns

As nutrition students, we know balancing a busy life is difficult. One goal we make a conscious effort to attain is to ensure that we have a healthy snack on hand during our busy times. For instance, on the commute home from work, or when your lunch gets pushed back due to back-to-back meetings.

Sometimes healthy means simply acknowledging that you are going to have a busy day, and preparing both mentally, and physically. Physically preparing for this day might mean taking some extra time to prep a snack for the day, since you know you might not be able to sit down for a full meal. Mentally preparing might include making a note or setting an alarm to remind you that you need to make time for this snack during your day. Setting small goals is important, especially when you know that it will help you avoid getting to that hangry, exhausted stage.

Maintaining energy balance, and fueling our bodies is vital to our sustainability as human beings. In order to do this, we try to have snacks on hand with balanced nutrients. This might include a carbohydrate, protein, or fat. Each of these components works to fuel the body in different ways. This snack combines the perfect combination of whole grains + a healthy fat to help fuel your brain and your body. Old-fashioned oats are a slow-digesting carb that benefit blood sugar levels and promote fullness.  The other carbohydrate in this snack is fruit! It is important to include carbohydrates such as fruits and whole grains in our diet because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The combination of these + fat from the nut butter helps keep us satisfied for longer, meaning we can keep ourselves fueled until our next meal.

These No-Bake PB&J Granola Bars are the perfect on-the-go snack for busy people!  They are made with super simple ingredients and don’t need to be baked!

Recipe: No-Bake Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola Bars



●      2 cups dry old-fashioned oats

●      ½ cup natural, smooth peanut butter

●      ½ strawberry jelly

●      ½ cup freeze-dried strawberries


●      2 Tbsp. natural, smooth peanut butter

●      1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted


  1. Line a square 9x9 pan with parchment paper. Set aside

  2. Mix together peanut butter and jelly in a large bowl.

  3. Add in dry oats and freeze-dried strawberries, stirring until mixture is combined well.

  4. Press down oat mixture into pan. Make sure it is in an even layer.

  5. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

  6. Take out of pan and cut into 8 bars.

  7. Mix together glaze ingredients and drizzle on top of bars.

  8. Enjoy!

*you can add a scoop or two of protein powder if you desire!


Baked Apple-Craisin Oatmeal

One of my new favorite things to make!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat an 8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, mix 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 3/4 dried cranberries (or raisins), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt,  and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, extract, and 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter.  Add this mixture to the oat mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in 1 finely chopped apple.

Pour into baking dish.  Sprinkle dried cranberries and slivered almonds on top.  Bake about 45 minutes, until top is golden and set.  Let cool slightly and cut into squares.