Vegan food blogger and recipe developer Elizabeth Emery guides us through her favourite speedy meals, packing a healthy punch for those of us on the go.
There’s no doubt about it, when you’re busy with work, maintaining relationships with your family and juggling life in general, eating healthily can be a real challenge. It takes time to make a meal from scratch and few of us have that luxury each day.
Below I’m sharing some of my favourite ideas for quick healthy meals when you’re on the go – they’re fast, full of nutrients and don’t require that you stand over a stove for an hour! Whether you have a packed work schedule, or kids keeping you busy, you’ll find something on this list that fits with your life.
- Green smoothies are packed with vitamins and are absolutely delicious. They offer so much nutritional goodness for so little effort. They’re the ideal convenience food that’s also good for you, and there are endless combinations you can try! Blending up your favourite fruit and veggie mixes takes less than five minutes, and helps ensure you’re getting your five-to-ten a day. If you’re looking for inspiration, try my Everyday Breakfast Smoothie to set you up for your morning. Find smoothies don’t fill you up? That’s because they don’t usually contain a huge amount of calories. Just add a scoop of your favourite natural vegan protein powder or nut butter, and you’ll notice the difference!
- Healthy sandwiches. Never knock the humble sandwich! There’s a reason sandwiches have been popular for years; they simply take minutes to throw together. They’re not always known for being the healthiest option, but luckily, there are a few tricks and swaps you can make to ensure your sandwich is full of nutrients and good fuel. Try opting for a good quality, wholegrain bread rather than the pre-packaged white stuff, as this contains so much more fibre and vitamins than its white counterpart and has a whole lot more flavour. In addition to adding a range of veggies to your sandwich, try adding in a high quality source of vegan protein like hummus or homemade pate, to keep you full until the next meal. Finally, add some alfalfa sprouts to boost the vitamin content and give your sandwich a satisfying crunch!
- 15 minute pasta dishes. These have saved me from keeling over on several occasions, because they’re so simple to make, but are really filling! Try adding cherry tomatoes, garlic, spinach, olive oil, salt and pepper to a saucepan of your favourite cooked pasta, and heat the mixture gently for 3 minutes on the stove. Or try this Quick Parsley, Pea & Tomato Pasta if you want a little more guidance. Pro tip: use a chickpea/lentil/bean-based pasta to make any pasta dish extra filling. The high protein content will fill you up and give you energy for the day!
- Savoury porridge. Yes, it sounds weird…but it’s really, really good. Porridge is such a great, wholesome dish, but it is often neglected and not experimented with in the kitchen nearly enough. By making your usual oatmeal with turmeric, garlic, seasonings and grilled veggies instead of sweeter toppings and cinnamon, you can give a totally new feel to this quick staple and transform it from a sweet breakfast into a hearty dinner! If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could flavour your porridge with taco spices like cumin, coriander and chipotle, and top it with peppers, vegan cheese, avocado, black beans and spring onions for a quick Mexican-inspired meal.
- Simple one-pot meals. I’m a huge fan of throwing a load of ingredients into a pot and walking away, only returning occasionally to stir the contents. When you’ve got other things taking up your time but need to make a batch of food for dinner or weekday lunches, this is a great option and will yield lots of portions for future Tupperware! My favourite quick recipes for this include soups, stews, chilies and my Winter Warming Dhal, which takes less than 40 minutes to make.
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Elizabeth Emery is a food blogger, recipe developer and creator based in Vancouver, BC. She is passionate about making vegan food and living beautiful, and creating plant-based travel guides to cities around the world.