Newbie vegan? Longtime herbivore? Or, just looking for packed lunch inspiration that is easy to make, versatile and won’t break the bank? You may want to consider making a vegan meal based on whole foods as they are nutritious, flavourful and will have all your colleagues or schoolmates ogling your food.
No two people are the same, and everyone has different flavor, texture and meal preferences.
But, if you have a play around with this method using different combinations you’ll be on the road to finding exactly what does (and doesn’t) work for you and your body. Happy lunching!
5 Tips on How to Prep Vegan Lunches for the Week Ahead
1. Pre-Make Carbohydrates and Load Up
Despite their bad rep, carbs are actually a very important food group as they are necessary to keep appetites satiated and enable your daily activities. Also, the amino acids in protein can’t do their job of repairing and rebuilding tissue without the presence of glucose from carbohydrates. So – fill up your lunch with carbohydrates that can be pre-cooked or frozen and reheated.
Try anything from brown/red/black rice, potatoes, grains such as quinoa, freekeh, amaranth, farro, buckwheat or of course, a hearty dose of comforting pasta.
2. Add Protein
Unlike common misconceptions that a vegan or vegetarian diet will inevitably make you protein deficient – this is anything but the case. In fact, ditching meat will provide more dietary protein, of which is better absorbed by the body. Protein, like many other nutrients, is optimal when consumed first hand; in other words directly from plant-based sources.
3. Toss In Vegetables
Vegetables are often a beloved, staple component in many healthy or vegan/vegetarian diets as they are bursting with nutrients, really flavoursome, and super colorful. Eat the rainbow, right? Also, vegetables are low in calories yet high in fiber, which fills you up. And yes – vegetables have ample protein too.
Try anything from spinach, carrots, broccoli, eggplant, artichoke, Brussel sprouts, beetroot or something more filling such as sweet potatoes or yams.
4. Prepare Snacks
What’s a good lunch without some form of snack or better yet – multiple snacks! Let’s be real; it can get pretty difficult to last the hours between meals without eating something, especially if you have a busy day! Even if you are eating filling and nutritious meals, sometimes mid-morning or 3pm slumps are inevitable. However, to combat this – snacking is your new best friend, and you can still make healthy choices.
Try anything from protein-packed coconut balls, crudités, and hummus, pre-made convenience products, homemade baking or raw slice, a handful of nuts and dates, trail mix, muesli bar, crackers, fruit salad or whatever else tickles your taste buds.
5. Include A Drink
Like any balanced meal, your lunch is made miles better with a beverage. Hydration is essential to keep your brain and body functioning throughout the day, especially in heat or when exercising. Water is often regarded as the best choice and is vital for our bodies – did you know humans can only survive 3 days without water?