Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Healthy, Delicious Lunch in 10 Minutes

Lunch is my favorite meal of the day.  I am sure the reason for that has a lot to with the fact that it is  the only time of day that I receive the indulgence of some alone time to myself.  It is also my least rushed time of day, giving me time to luxuriate in the kitchen and pamper myself with a special meal. Ironically, this is the meal I spend the least amount of time on.  It is also my most delicious meal of the day, most days.  Would you be shocked to know that I typically spend about 10 minutes or less making lunch each day?  And this is what I eat:

VeegMama's tips for making lunch in 10 minutes

Making a healthy, delicious lunch is attainable in 10 minutes.  Follow these tips:

1. Do your prep on the weekend. I do my grocery shopping for the week on Sundays and wash and store all my veggies and fruits as soon as I put the groceries away.  That way, when I go to make that salad, or chop those veggies, they are all washed and ready to go!

2. Make your dressings, dips and sauces ahead of time.  I make a couple of dressings and dips over the weekend to last me the week so that I am ready to drizzle whenever hunger calls.

3. Prep during breakfast.  This is a huge time saver.  While I am making breakfast for my family and already in the kitchen, I marinate veggies, soak nuts, or whatever prep work is needed for my midday (or evening meal).  This gets things started so the meal is quick to pull together when it is time to eat.

4. Cook batches on Sundays.  I like to cook up batches of quinoa, millet, beans, and soups during the weekend that will yield me meals during the week.  When it comes to meal time, I just have to reheat.

5. Use leftovers.  Aside from the obvious time saver of eating last night's dinner, I also enjoy creating a new meal with leftover ingredients.  Black bean and corn tacos for Tuesday's dinner?  How about a stuffed avocado Wednesday for lunch?  

6. Keep it simple (5 ingredients or less).  Lunch is my time of day to get creative.  I love to present my food beautifully and plate it artfully (have you checked me out on Instagram?!).  But, lunch is not the meal I want to blend complicated ingredients, stand over a stove, or conquer a complicated recipe.  Lunchtime meals are best for me when I can grab a few favorite ingredients that happen to call my fancy that day, throw them together on a plate or bowl, and call it a meal.  For me, these ingredients usually include salad greens of some kind (kale, spinach or arugula), some raw veggies, a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, and a dressing/hummus/sauce.  With all of these ingredients, I can make a salad, a seaweed wrap, or a vegan bowl.

7. Eat it raw.  Eating food cooked over 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys some of the nutrients.  From a digestion perspective, it is highly helpful, because cooking food destroys the natural enzymes needed to break down our food, making the digestion process more difficult for bodies, expending more energy to do it.  Aside from these benefits, eating raw makes meal prep very fast, as there is no reheat or heat time to take into consideration.  If you prep and clean your veggies ahead of time, as suggested above, lunch is served that much faster.  

8. Stick to veggies.  Plant based meals make very quick cooking.  Think salads, wraps, and green bowls.  Start with a green of your choice, layer (or wrap) other veggies on top, add some of the beans or grains you cooked up over the weekend, and drizzle on the dressing you made earlier.