Workplace Lunchbox Talk: Taco Salad Bowls

I am guessing many of you have a job like I do where you are constantly running around jumping from meeting to meeting and project to project, so when it comes time for lunch you need something quick and portable but prefer (most days!) something healthy. In addition to a hectic daily schedule, I live about 20 minutes from my house, so a 40 minute round trip commute does not really allow me to go home for lunch, and let’s face it; although there are probably a lot of great restaurants close to where you work (hello DeBruce Center…yum!), eating out for lunch everyday is not always the best idea for your pocket book or health.

On top of all of this, I love to lift weights, and I have noticed I have the most success in either gaining muscle or shredding fat when I pay close attention to my calorie and macro intake; therefore, I have found portable lunch boxes to be super easy, macro-friendly, and pretty darn delicious.

This week I will be having taco salad lunch box bowls. Below you will find the step-by-step process for making the bowls with the calorie and macro counts included. Since taco bowls are really versatile, feel free to switch up ingredients to your liking. You can use a macro calculator app like My Fitness Pal to adjust calories and macros as needed.

Here is what you need to do to make six bowls/meals.

Recipe:
1.5 pounds ground beef (90% lean)
1 medium head of lettuce
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 small white onion
2 batches of homemade taco seasoning
***I used this one from this really helpful infographic. I just doubled everything.
12 tablespoons of mashed avocado
***I used pre-made 100% hatch avocado guacamole.
6 medium size containers (Mine–pictured–are from Wal-mart and were $2.98 for three.)
6 small containers (Mine–pictured–are from Wal-mart and were $1.98 each.)

Instructions:
Brown ground beef until thoroughly cooked. Drain. Then add the taco seasoning using the recipe above or your own (remember to double it) and 1/4 cup of water. Stir to combine. Then, distribute the ground beef evenly across the 6 small containers so you have 4 ounces of beef in each.

Chop the head of lettuce, roma tomatoes, and onion. Distribute evenly across all 6 medium size bowls. My bowls each have 1 cup of lettuce, 1/3 of a tomato, and 2 tablespoons of onions.
***I separated the lettuce from the tomatoes and onions to keep it from getting soggy. This is why the dishes with compartments are so helpful!

When you are ready to transport to work each day, add two tablespoons of guacamole or mashed avocado to the medium size containers. You don’t want to add the guacamole earlier in the week because it will turn brown. I prefer to take all of my meals to work on Monday so they are there and ready, which is why I bought the pre-made guac.

When it is time for lunch, heat the ground beef, combine all ingredients, and eat up!

Calories and macros calculated with the help of My Fitness Pal: calories: 296 / fat: 16.4 / carbs: 17.3 / protein: 25.6

That’s it! Enjoy! I would love to hear about your ingredient variations when you make your lunch box taco bowls, and let’s see some mouth watering pictures also.

Keeping up with Kendall: Week 1

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Starting a new job is always nerve-wracking. Meeting new people, learning how to do task after brand-new task, and the weight of your anxiety to make a good first impression is taxing even for the best of us. On top of this, we must also deal with the thrill that often accompanies the start of something new and unknown. It was with this mixture of apprehension and excitement that I began my first day working at the University Career Center.

Most of us have faced similar circumstances before, even if only at a part-time job or summer internship during our high school years. Then there are some of us who are being faced with the possibility of finding a job for the first time in college. Others of us are about to begin our post-college careers. Regardless of where you’re at in your professional life, hopefully this post will help let you know that it’s perfectly natural to feel these things, as well as teach you some of the basic must-know facts about the University Career Center and how it can help you in your professional journey.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first week as an intern for the UCC. There’s always something to be working on, and great people to work with. Not to mention, the fact that the primary function of the UCC is to help students figure out career-related issues is a major benefit, as I’ve spent a lot of my admittedly-short adult life wondering what I want to do for the rest of my life and what I’m supposed to do about it once I finally have that part figured out. We all juggle with these types of questions and doubts at some point, and we need all the help we can get to find a solution.

My first week at the UCC did, happily enough, lead me to learn a lot about the services the UCC provides, which is beneficial not only to my performance as an intern but also as a student searching for what I want out of my future career. For example, while working at the UCC table in the Union Lobby on Valentines Day, we got to inform students about Hawk Quest, a brief online quiz made just for KU students that helps you explore different majors or career paths you might be interested in pursuing, as well as skills you might want to develop in order to excel in your field.

The Career Center hosts and participates in a wide array of campus events as well. In my first week alone I was able to witness the University Career Fair (check out our blog post on the Career Fair at kucareer.wordpress.com) and work at the Architecture Fair. Regardless of the time of year, the UCC always has something going on or coming up.

Hopefully this post has served to inform you a little bit more about the UCC, but more than anything I hope it will encourage you to take advantage of the many awesome resources that the Career Center offers. Personally, I look forward to learning more about the UCC as I move forward with my internship.

Tips to Help You De-Stress

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It’s still relatively early in the semester, but the stress is already beginning to build. Classes are hectic, work schedules are packed, and some days it feels like your head will burst. So to help you get through these long, exhausting days, here are some quick ways to help you de-stress even if you only have a few minutes to spare.

1. Take a short walk

Even a 10 minute walk will boost your endorphins and thus decrease stress hormone levels. Plus, the short break allows for an excellent mental break, an opportunity to spend a little time outside, or even a bit of self-reflection.

2. Eat a healthy snack.

Dealing with busy days and stressful situations can be made infinitely worse if faced on an empty stomach, and nothing places more stress on the brain than the feeling that it’s run out of fuel. Try to opt for healthy snacks during breaks in your schedule, or snack while studying to save time.

3. Listen to music

Most songs are only 3-4 minutes, so if you can’t focus while listening to music, a quick break to listen to a song or two will help lower stress without consuming too much time. Classical music in particular has been proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, as well as reduce the body’s levels of stress hormones. If you’re not into classical music, any song you like would still release dopamine, one of the neurotransmitters associated with positive feelings, into the brain.

4. Take a class at Ambler Rec Center

This will take a little longer than some of the tips above, but it’s very doable if you’ve got an hour between classes or work shifts. Ambler offers cardio classes, yoga classes, Zumba classes, cycling classes, and many more. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to fight off stress, and it also boasts numerous other mental and physical health benefits. Class length varies, but most fall between 30-60 minutes.

5. Deep breathing

There are numerous benefits to deep breathing, one of which is stress reduction. According to WebMD, “breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.”

6. Laugh!

Much like deep breathing, laughter has a wide array of benefits. Laughter can improve the immune system, ease pain, boost mood, and, of course, combat stress. Best of all, finding something to laugh about takes almost no time at all, and can actually boost energy and productivity. So whether it’s a funny internet meme or a friend or coworker’s joke, find something funny and laugh away!