Good morning everyone, and happy Monday! 🙂
It’s a new week, and for many of us this means new goals to pursue. For a month now I’ve gotten into the habit of creating a “self-made challenge” every Monday. I write a list of four or five things that I wish to follow and challenge myself to do every day of the week. For example, I decided last week I would do more squats, and made it a challenge to do 20 every time I went to the washroom at work. I also decided I would have a big, tall glass of lemon water in the morning because I always read how good it is for you. Little things every day to help me stay on track, and make me a healthier person! I love making these challenges because it always keeps me working towards a goal, keeps me accountable (because I publish the goals on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook), and never lets me be lazy or complacent. I challenge all of you to make your own weekly “self-made challenges” and post them everywhere as well! You can include small things like health goals, eating goals, workout goals, spiritual goals… (ex: I will pray every night before bed, I will prepare all my meals the night before, I will lose 1 lb this week). Let me know if you’ve done so! I’d love to see your lists.
Today I’ve come to you with a list of quick, easy vegan meal ideas that will save you time, save you calories and give you tons of delicious healthy nutrients and energy. You don’t need to be vegan to enjoy these recipes, they can be (and are) loved by everyone! These are all quick to prepare, and most ingredients will already be in your house.
I always do a big grocery on either Sunday or Monday to stock up on my necessities, and throughout the week as I run out of fresh fruit & veggies, I’ll do little groceries to pick up whats missing. It is always important for me to have an abundance of fresh organic produce available to me, as most of what I eat contains a LOT of fresh ingredients! This is how I like to do it. I feel like I can easily organize my week around my groceries if I have a bunch of them at the same time, and replace as I go. Try it out, this may work for you too.
– protein shake right after your workout (VEGA, Shakeology or similar, but make sure the ingredients are clean, pure and directly from nature and not chemical)
– Sprouted grain EZEKIEL or GENESIS toast (found at health food stores in the freezer section) with natural organic nut butter, unsweetened jam, banana with cinnamon & ground flax sprinkled on.
– Plain instant oats (unsweetened), or similar (GoQuinoa makes great gluten-free oats). Boil water & mix in, add whatever nuts and seeds, fruits or nut butters you like inside.
– If you want to try something other than traditional oats, try making steel-cut oats (cooking them the night before, and letting them sit on the stove so that they’re perfect in the morning).
– Scrambled tofu (or eggs/egg whites)
– A BIG fruit smoothie
– A big bowl of fresh, whole fruit. These last two options work well for those of you who feel like you’re not hungry in the morning. Eating breakfast is VITAL, so if you can’t stomach anything else, aim for a few pieces of fruit at least.
Stock up on a variety fruits & veggies at the beginning and during the week.
– Munch on them whole as snacks.
– Make smoothies (with your choice of nut milk, a banana for thickness & flavor, some ice and your choice of healthy additions: hemp, chia, ground flaxseeds, raw nuts, nut butters, unsweetened juice, protein powder, maca powder, spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, etc)
– Make a big green salad every day (I like to start with a base of greens: spinach, mixed lettuce, romaine, kale, swiss chard. Then I add my veggies: cucumber, tomato, onion, red pepper, green pepper, red cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, daikon, whatever and everything you like. Then, add your protein: sprouted or canned beans, lentils, hemp seeds, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and non vegan options include low sodium tuna or sulfate-nitrate-free organic lean meats. Then, add your dressing: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, hemp oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar. I like to top it all off with some nutritional yeast powder found at health food stores, and some dried Italian herbs. VOILA. Delicious salad!)
– Toss them in a stir-fry (melt some coconut oil in a pan, add garlic and onion, add any veggies such as bok choy, peppers, zucchini, carrots, etc. Add some rice noodles if you want, or tofu shritaki noodles found at health food stores or even Metro. Mixing in a block of tofu is great too, you get a quick tofu scramble! Add some tumeric, spices and herbs and nutritional yeast and you’re gold!)
– Marinate them with a little coconut oil & herbs and roast them in the oven. (I LOVE roasting root veggies such as parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, celeriac with celery, fennel and squash. I melt coconut oil in a pan, drizzle it on the veggies with some pesto, Italian herbs, rosemary and a pinch of sea salt. DELICIOUS!)
– CHILI: Mix half a cup of italian tomato sauce (home made or store bought, look for organic and low sodium if you can), half a cup of sprouted or canned beans (ex: navy, canellini, black eyed peas, black, kidney, chickpea, lentils), and 1/3 cup of Yves Italian veggie ground round (found in the vegetarian fridge section in grocery stores). I LOVE this for lunch. It takes no time to make. It fills me up, tastes delicious and is packed with protein for lasting fullness and energy. You can sub for the veggie ground round for low-fat ground turkey or chicken.
– QUINOA: **Rinse the first quinoa by putting it in a fine mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly. There is a coating on quinoa that is entirely natural, but needs to be rinsed or else it might taste bitter.** Bring 1 and a half cups of water and 1 cup of RINSED quinoa to a boil on the stove. Lower the heat, cover the pot and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Remove, fluff with a fork and mix with ANYTHING you want. I like roasted veggies. You can also add some tomato sauce and beans, soy cream and nutritional yeast for cheesy quinoa, pesto and pine nuts, be creative!
– SANDWICHES & WRAPS: I love Ezekiel sprouted bread and tortillas. You can get these in the freezer section of your organic food stores. In Montreal, I buy them at Tau or Rachelle Bery. Thaw the wrap by leaving it at room temp, or place in toaster oven for a few mins or microwave for a few secs. Toast the bread as usual. Sandwiches are the best because you can put whatever you want in them! Be sure to use sauces and spreads that do not contain added sugar or chemical replacers. I like Vegenaise (vegan mayo) because it is just oil. While I love the taste of ketchup, I don’t use it anymore because it is so high in sugar. Pesto is a great replacement (make sure there’s no cheese, LeGrand makes a good one). Add in lettuce leaves, tomato, cucumber, grilled protein of your choice, and voila.
I hope I was able to give you some ideas! Cooking is a lot of fun, but many of us don’t have the time to cook a lot of meals. This is why it is important to have some delicious and healthy go-to quick meals on hand. Being creative is important in the kitchen, and when you get creative, you come up with amazing and yummy meals! Not everything needs to take an hour to prepare, and nor should it. Try out some of my suggestions and recipes. These really are the things I eat on a daily basis. Before long, you will get into the habit of cooking and preparing your meals the night before, which is a huge time-saver and also allows you to completely control your day so you will be well equipped!
Let us recap:
– EAT every 2-3 HOURS
– SMALL MEALS, small snacks, 5-6 times a day
– Cooking and preparing does not need to take long, just be creative and innovative
– Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so get it in!
– Eat one BIG GREEN SALAD every day!
– There are endless options for every meal. Look up recipes, use the ones I have provided. I will post more eventually!
– Do not skip meals. Keep healthy snacks handy (apples, almonds, protein bars) for when you might be stuck and need to eat.
– Enjoy your food! Have fun!
Have a great Monday and a great week! Have fun cooking! 🙂
Peace, love and yummy food,