Happy Monday! How was your weekend? BL and I moved all weekend and I am excited/anxious to get all of our boxes unpacked and the house organized. That being said, there is something very refreshing about cleaning out the clutter and reorganizing. It’s Spring cleaning for the whole house!
Today’s guest post comes from another plant-based RD, Alexandra of Lean Green Healthy Machine. I don’t know about you all, but I am sometimes in a rut on what to pack for lunch day after day. I reached out to Alexandra for some creative ideas on revamping your favorite lunch choices so that they are healthy, easy, and delicious! Whether in the conference room or school cafeteria, these lunch ideas will be the envy of all.
There’s nothing worse than trying to focus in a meeting or successfully run errands while trying to push through hunger pangs. Resorting to convenient fast food will only lead to regret. So when pressed for time or in unfamiliar territory, both your wallet and your waist line will thank you if you pack a lunch. But don’t worry, suppress those flashbacks of smushed PBJs and check out my five suggestions to ensure a delicious and nutritious midday meal:
Tried and True Sandwiches. Sandwiches are great because they are portable and customizable. Whole grain bread, protein source, and fruits and veggies combine for a powerhouse main dish. Think nut butters with sliced banana, hummus with spinach and red peppers, or black bean burger with salsa. Try switching between different breads, pitas, wraps (burritos!), English muffins, and bagels, to keep things interesting!
Salad. Salads are one of my favorites because there is simply no limit to the possibilities! I always end up adding handfuls of everything in my pantry and refrigerator to create a loaded salad. Start with any green leafy base and go wild with the toppings. Think chickpeas, tempeh, lentils, quinoa, scoops of last night’s dinner, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, avocado, walnuts, grapes, apples, raisins…the more colorful the better! When I opt for salad dressing I love using fruit or veggie salsas, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice.
Soup. With a thermos, even temperature dependent foods become accessible on the go. Soups and chilies are great ways to increase your intake of vegetables. Make a large batch of soup on Sunday and dish out lunch portions all week long! DK’s Sweet Potato Curry Stew, Thai Tofu Soup, or Vegetarian Chili seem like delicious places to start.
Bento Boxes. The bento box is all the rage these days. The variety of fun finger food options is enticing for kids (like healthy lunchables!)…but adults can play too. Fill up segmented boxes or pre-portioned containers with edamame, almonds, blueberries, hummus dip, carrots, cucumbers…turn wholesome snacks into a full meal!
Kebabs. What’s even more fun than lunch in cute boxes? Lunch on a stick. Make some rainbow fruit skewers that brighten up any lunch bag. Pair those beauties with kebabs of tofu, peppers, tomatoes, olives, onions, and mushrooms.
Supplement the main dish with sides of fruits, veggies, nuts, Thin Mint Brownie Bites, etc to ensure you have the fuel needed to not just survive your day, but rock it. Is it lunch time yet?
Looking for breakfast suggestions? See my 7 ways to rise and shine post on Lean Green Healthy Machine!
Alexandra Paetow is the Nutrition Editor for the blog Lean Green Healthy Machine. She is currently pursuing her MS in Nutrition and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University with the goal of practicing plant-based nutrition as a dietitian. Follow Lean Green Healthy Machine on facebook and pinterest.
It seems like more and more people have started to adapt a plant-based lifestyle. With recent documentaries like Forks over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Food Inc. turning into mainstream hits, the case for vegetarianism is in the national discussion.
Have you noticed that more people are making the plant-based switch? Maybe it’s just my corner of the world, but in the last few years I have seen the words vegetarian and vegan pop up on more menus, research articles, and magazines.
Like all diets, vegetarian and veganism is as healthy as you make it. Today, I am sharing my nutrition advice for adapting a plant-based diet over at Food and Nutrition Magazine.
Have a great Monday!
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! Which either means you are gearing up for a fun night with your sweetie, or rolling your eyes at the calendar.
I admit, the holiday itself is pretty silly, but I never miss an opportunity to enjoy good food (and wine) with BL.
That being said, I was thinking the other day about our vegetarian life and the impact it has on our relationship: If BL wasn’t a vegetarian, would I be OK with that?
To be fair, neither one of us started this relationship with many dietary restrictions. I was a fair-weather vegetarian. Something I started in college and waned from every now and then. I went from being a strict vegan to eating chicken and back again. I did that for quite a few years, exploring the relationship between my thoughts on animal rights and my love of burgers and grilled chicken.
About four years ago, I decided that I couldn’t ignore my feelings anymore, and went full-on vegetarian. I have never regretted my decision and am never tempted by meat. I still cooked, and BL enjoyed our meatless meals with the occasional piece of chicken on the side. It didn’t bother me too much, he did his thing and I did mine.
Sure, I shared my thoughts and feelings, but I don’t believe in bullying someone to change their ways. After reading “Eating Animals”, BL also made the switch and I’ll admit, I couldn’t be happier!
Knowing how passionate I have become on this subject, I think it would be hard to have a omnivore partner. For those of you who have a partner who eats meat, how does it affect your relationship?
I remember reading somewhere that 25% of meat-eaters would consider it a turn off to date a vegetarian. Really? I almost laughed at the ridiculousness. Until I considered if the tables were turned, I would consider it a turn off to date a non-veg. So, I suppose that our dietary choices reach more than the dinner plate.
I guess at the end of the day, to love someone means respecting their dietary choices, even if you don’t agree with them personally. If you do find yourself lucky enough to date a veg, here are a few dating tips:
- You already do it: If you like vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts, seeds, & beans. Congrats! You already enjoy lots of plant-based foods. Favorite, non-scary meals include: vegetable fajitas, pasta primavera, stir-fry, and salads. The first meal BL cooked for me was mushroom manicotti, a delicious choice for even the most hard-core carnivores.
- It’s not you, it’s the dish. Consideration is the cornerstone for a healthy relationship. Now, the smell of cooked meat makes me sick. I respect that others eat it, but it upsets my stomach if I’m around while it’s being cooked. If your significant other is the same way, I would bet she’s not turned off by you but the smell.
- While most restaurants are very accommodating, a lot aren’t. Check the menu beforehand to make sure there are at least 2-3 vegetarian or vegan choices. If you don’t see any, call the chef or choose another place.
- Just as you wouldn’t want to be pestered on your belief system, don’t do it to theirs. I would rather starve than spend an entire meal defending my meal preference.
I’m so curious to know your thoughts on this subject. Hope you have a wonderful V-Day!