What you can always have ready to eat or how not to starve yourself and give up on everything
Living a plant powered life is beautiful, energizing, healthy and glowing. At the same time, always having a fresh prepared meal can sound la la landish. I mean, find me a lucky unicorn with that much time on their hands. And even if you had it, would you really spend it on always cooking everything from the scratch? Great if you do and I do know it’s ideal if you can afford to have it all and always freshly cooked from the level zero, but sometimes it’s just bliss to open a fridge and pack your lunch box or make a meal in a matter of minutes.
Especially after a long day. I was there a million times, getting at home, hungry and too tired to cook anything ending my days with salads just because there was nothing else in the fridge that didn’t require any preparation. Strolling through the supermarket, hungry again and with insignificant ready made food options available. Rushing off on my breaks just to get some almonds or peanuts to get through the day as nowhere near I could find anything resembling a real cooked meal that would fit into all of my eating requirements. Wondering how the rest of the plant based world makes it and having daydreams about full time cook at home.
Ok, let me tell you, there is no magic pill to this. For me it all comes down to my decision to eat the way I do and stay healthy. I still have to cook. Only a bit smarter. From planning the grocery shopping to taking an afternoon once a week to prepare everything I possibly can in advance so I have some real food I can just pick up. Well, at least most of the times. So here are some of the ideas:
All sorts of beans, chickpeas, lentils are major in my diet as they are packed with proteins and nutrients, and make a base for all sorts of delicious meals. In cases of emergency you can always open a can, but as it can also be full of sodium I like these home cooked from the scratch. Lentils don’t require any presoaking and are relatively easy and fast to cook, but for the beans and chickpeas:
- rinse them well and soak them in the water the night before
- before cooking, rinse them again and place in a pot covered with water
- Bring to boil, then drain, rinse and return to the pot, cover with water to bring to boil again. Repeat this step one more time.
- Cook the beans or chickpeas in about 3 times more water than the volume of it. You can add some herbs to it if you’d like, I cook them plain. No salt during cooking or the beans will stiffen. Beans take from 45 to 90 minutes to cook depending on which ones you cook. For chickpeas it’s about 90 minutes. Medium to lower heat and with a lid on. When done they should be all equally soft without losing their shape.
- When done, drain them and rinse in cold water. These can be put in glass jars and stored in a fridge for up to 5 days. Or kept in a freezer. Or used for making some of the yummy spreads https://spicesunshine.com/en/classical-hummus-spread/ and dips for the week ahead. The same with green and brown legumes, only you don’t need to presoak it. Red ones take just about 15minutes to cook so I always make them fresh.
I don’t eat them as much or as often and they cook fast. Those I eat the most like quinoa, millet and buckwheat I tend to cook a bit more so I can use it for the next sweet or savory meal or two: sprinkle them on salads, mix with some fresh or roasted veggies and a sauce or add fruits, nut butter and seeds for a breakfast bowl. Whatever, these can last in the fridge for the next day or two. Rice too, and as I’m switching to basmati and other parboiled ones it gets really quick and easy. Brown rice is just too heavy for digestion.
Always have it, simple and delicious ones I make at home. There are so many variations you can play with here I’ll be posting the recipe and some ideas soon.
Another thing I never run out are almond and peanut butters. Spread it on a rice cake and add some fruit on top and I always have a nutrition packed quick bite. So easy to make too.
Yeah, of course, but not all of it decoratively placed on the fruit tray. Ever walked pass that pomegranate or pineapple thinking I’ll deal with it tomorrow as the thought of extracting a sweet bite underneath all that tough skin sounds… well unappealing at the moment? And then it sadly sits there until goes bad? Yes me too. The game changed when I took that supermarket idea with a precut ready to eat fruit. Once or twice a week I stuck my fridge with some ready to eat fruits. Depending on a fruit it can stay fresh in a sealed bag up to 3 days. That way breakfast and lunch boxes get faster and easier to make and there’s a handy bite to go.
Spreads, dips and sauces
Freshly made these can last from 3 days up to a week in the fridge. Think about all the variations of hummus, pesto, guacamole, dried peas and cooked beans mashes, loads of beautiful stuff you can use for any meal. Like this baby here.
If there’s a really busy week ahead I’d prepare veggies the same as fruits described above: peal it, cut it, seal it in a bag and store in the fridge. It makes a big 15 minutes savings preparing the food when you are tired or don’t have the time. Just pop some veggies in the oven and forget about it until done to be mixed with herbs and spices for a divine soup.
Oh please let’s not forget these! The beauty about most raw cakes is they can be stored in the freezer, which comes in handy especially if you pack them to go as they don’t get all squashy and destroyed before you indulge in those sweet bites.
Hope this helps and brings reassurance that it is possible to sustain a plant based life. It doesn’t mean you won’t open a can or two or nibble at those almonds for lunch from time to time. But these cases become rare as you incorporate planning and smarter cooking into a routine.
Bring on some of your experiences and ideas, how do you manage to stay on a healthy plant powered diet?