The Daily Beet

24 May Simple Go-To Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

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It seems that the biggest issue people run into when changing their food habits is time. But with a little planning, you can get your meals done in just a few minutes. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to find a few staple meals that you enjoy. For instance, every day we have a big bowl. We cut up fruit in the beginning of the week, so in the morning aside from pouring the cereal and non-dairy milk, all we have to do is get the cut up fruit from the refrigerator.

We also like to have things like cooked brown rice and beans on hand, already made. It makes life a lot easier if you can do this.

We use a lot of frozen vegetables and fruit, and we have found frozen brown rice and frozen beans in a lot of stores now. Often, frozen is even fresher than ‘fresh produce’. It is flash frozen on the field and holds all of the nutrients just fine.

For lunches, get a nice lunch box or a tiffin. Have your lunch packed and ready the night before so that you are not rushing around the house in the morning trying to get everything together. Knowing what you are going to eat the next day will help a lot as you make changes to your diet. So, have a plan.

Breakfast ideas:

Fruit salad with a few chopped walnuts or ground flax seed.

Quinoa: warm or cold with some chopped up fruit, you can add flax seed or a few walnuts if you like.

Oatmeal: with some fresh fruit.

Black bean scramble: Black beans, chopped vegetables, topped with no salt added salsa. Pan “fry” in a big pan using water instead of oil or spray.

Breakfast tacos: black beans, chopped up cooked sweet potatoes, greens, salsa on a corn tortilla.

Lunch/Dinner ideas:

Salad is always an easy choice, use lots of fresh vegetables! We like topping salad with homemade salsa or a homemade hummus. Make your salads interesting – beans, vegetables, grains and even fruit! We recently discovered that grapes taste great on salads.

Hummus and veggies. Make your own hummus so it is fat free – just chickpeas, add water in the blender as needed, lemon, garlic and nutritional yeast. Serve with raw chopped veggies.

Soup! We LOVE soup. You can dream up all kinds of soup ideas and you can add lots of greens to them! One of my favorites is to take well cooked cauliflower, (1-2 heads) some water, some spices and blend or use a mixer. We add all kinds of vegetables and greens – it’s a very creamy soup.

Chili: Diced tomatoes, vegetables and beans – that’s all you need.. .and a few hot pepper spices if you are brave.

Quinoa salad: cooked quinoa, beans, vegetables.

Rice and beans: Probably one of the easiest things you can do. Just brown rice, beans, vegetables and low sodium salsa. Use big lettuce leaves for “taco shells”.

Collard wraps: We boil collard greens for about 5 minutes (after removing the stem) before we use them for wraps. We like to stuff them with all kinds of veggies, hummus or beans and brown rice.

Sweet potato and toppings: Our favorite is to add steamed kale and black beans, it is delicious and simple.

Zucchini pasta: Slice zucchini with a vegetable slicer to make thin long slices. Top with chickpeas, diced tomatoes, italian seasonings and a little nutritional yeast. We also like this spiral slicer for fun vegetable pasta.

Portobello Fajitas: Slice mushrooms, peppers, onions and add to a shallow pan with a little water – cook with salt free spices. Serve on top of brown rice, and top with shredded cold greens, low sodium salsa and a few slices of avocado.

Fancy taco salad: This is one of our favorite things to make. On a bed of dark leafy greens add chopped veggies, beans, butter nut squash (cut up) or sweet potato (cut up), top with salsa.

Pasta: Any whole grain pasta, tomato sauce (we use POMI), chickpeas and vegetables (we often use frozen vegetables).

Desserts:

FRUIT!!!!

You can also make sorbet just by using frozen fruit or a little fruit and ice. (put in a blender until it looks creamy)

Frozen banana makes a great “ice-cream” blend frozen bananas and frozen cherries, and you have a really nice cherry ice-cream. Add a little water to make it easier to blend.

Dates: 2-3 pitted dates make a delicious dessert – to me they taste like caramel.

What are some of your go-to simple meals?

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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Liz

    Pitted dates put in a food processor. Roll them into balls and then roll in carob powder. It’s like a truffle!

  • http://alittleginger.blogspot.com Ginger

    When bananas get freckles, we don’t throw them out. We peel, cut in half, insert a skinny craft stick, roll in a bit of freshly squeezed OJ, sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon, and freeze on parchment for a couple hours. These are the best tasting ice kream bars/banana popsicles ever.

  • Peter

    I’ve been reading a lot about plant food diet and I like what I’m reading.
    Everything is centered around preparing the food at home, but I haven’t read anything about when you go out to dinner. That would seem like a big chalange if you go out to dinner often or once in a while. What do you do then?

    • Ninufar

      I’ve come to love restaurants which offer lots of side dishes! (Obviously if you live in Austin or Boston or San Fran you’ll have lots of plant-strong restaurant options; I’m talking about the rest of the world…)

      For instance, we’ve got a so-so local chain serving Mexican food. Sauteed spinach is available for enchiladas, so I asked if I could order a side of spinach, plus meatless/no-dairy rice and beans. If there’s some kind of yummy grilled artichoke item offered as an appetizer, and I see they also have baked potatoes, I sometimes ask if the appetizer could be made into an entree and priced up. Most pizza places will make you a cheeseless pizza even if it’s not on the menu; unf not many have gluten-free/sugar-free crusts, so I skip those places. If you tolerate lots of uncooked veggies, though, you’d have some good salad options at most pizzerias. Wendy’s always has baked potatoes and salad — they’re both lame, but they’re food. Most Chinese buffet places have a menu somewhere; you can get steamed rice and steamed veggies, w/ or w/o tofu, everywhere from western Kansas to [you name it].

      Hope these suggestions are of some use to you!

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  • Morgaine

    You said that you boil collard greens, wouldn’t that result in nutrition loss?