Looking to indulge in more plant-based meals? So long are the days where the goal of "adding plants" means you are doomed to the chore of eating yet another boring salad. Instead, check out these 4 delicious combinations for quick, plant-based lunches. These lunch ideas are easy to prep, easy to pack, and easy to enjoy!
1.) Avocado + Sauerkraut = The Good Gut Meal. Loaded with healthy fats and fiber (a whopping 13 grams of it!), an avocado is easy to toss in your morning to-go bag and provides the perfect, creamy foundation for a crunchy kraut. I especially love this Brussel Kraut from wildbrine. Fermented foods like sauerkraut are loaded with probiotics to help balance the bacteria in your GI tract, which can help improve gut health.
2.) Lentil Soup in a Thermos. 2016 is the International Year of Pulses (dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas), which means that if you haven’t begun to celebrate the nutritional powerhouse of pulses, you need to start now. Pulses provide healthy carbohydrates, fiber, and protein and can serve as a hearty meat-substitute in dishes from salads to soups. I love the recipes for this Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup with Curried Chickpeas and this Lentil, Kale, and Quinoa Stew – cook soups and stews at the beginning of the week, heat up in the morning, then transfer to a thermos to take with you out the door.
3.) Salad In A Jar. With copious Salad-In-A-Jar recipes floating around the Internet, I want you to know that you do not need to follow a recipe when it comes to creating one of your own! Get creative in the kitchen and use flavors and foods that inspire you. I start out by placing a bit of dressing in my jar (which is typically a simple homemade combo of extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, pepper, salt, and perhaps some fresh lemon or lime juice). Next, I’ll add to my jar a source of plant-based protein (like chickpeas, lentils, or beans), crunchy vegetables (like cauliflower, broccoli, or peppers), softer vegetables or fruits (like tomatoes, grapes, or berries) and any nuts/seeds (like almonds, pecans, or hemp/chia seeds). Bring a bowl in a fork - and when ready, shake, pour out and dig in!
4.) My Kind of Bar. Whether it’s called an energy bar, granola bar, or power bar, there’s two things that I know. 1) It’s undeniably simple to throw a bar into your purse, brief case, and gym bag. 2) Sometimes bars should actually be called “candy bars.” It’s so hard to find a bar that offers ample protein and fat to be considered a meal bar and a bar where the first ingredient isn’t some version of sugar (like brown rice syrup, evaporated cane sugar, honey, etc.). I like Thunderbird’s Pecan Goji Pistachio Bars (sweetened with dates) and Manitoba Harvest’s new Chocolate Hemp Heart Bars (the first ingredient is hemp hearts) -- these bars have got it going on when it comes to macronutrient balance (i.e. they’re not “all carb,” but also offer healthy plant-based proteins and fats). These bars contain ingredients your body knows and recognizes (and not artificial ingredients, funky additives, or hard-to-digest proteins). To help you feel full until dinner, pair bars with an unlimited amount of water-rich vegetables, like celery, raw cauliflower, or cucumbers and dip them into ¼ cup of hummus. Cut or chop your vegetables at the beginning of the week and place them and your hummus in small containers for quick grab-and-go during busy weekdays.
SO TELL ME: What are your favorite quick, delicious plant-based meals? Share them with me in the comments below or visit me on Facebook @YesNutritionLLC.