Step two for switching to a plant based diet is to replace lunch with a large bean, grain and veggie bowl. You can call it a bowl or a salad, but the idea is a combination of vegetables with beans and grains to make a filling, nutritious and tasty lunch. Focusing on preparing your food at the beginning of each week makes a plant based lunch manageable and easy. I will show you exactly how to do this for great success.
Fridge Prep: Begin by cleaning out your fridge. You will need room to keep a week’s worth of lunches. Throw out processed, unhealthy lunch options such as processed meats, cheese, Chinese take out et cetera. Processed meats are classified as group one carcinogens by the World Health Organization. This is the same classification as cigarettes and asbestos. Group one carcinogens are substances known to cause cancer in humans. It’s worth noting that a group one carcinogen means there is equal proof that they cause cancer, not that they are equally dangerous. In other words, scientific evidence shows as conclusively that processed meat causes cancer as it does that cigarettes and asbestos cause cancer. So throw it out! Get rid of old condiments and calorie-laden dressings. Clear a shelf specifically for your batch prep containers. Removing the distraction of unhealthy food choices helps prepare you for success. Remember, changing the way you eat can be difficult and is as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one so by changing what you see, you change what you are thinking about.
Gather Supplies and Ingredients: You will need containers in which store each food item. These can be Rubbermaid plastic style containers, glass dishes with lids or divided containers which hold multiple items. It is very convenient to have salad bar containers such as this one because it simplifies the process by requiring only one container to get out and open. I usually use the salad bar containers for the cut up veggies and nuts and use large square containers for the beans and rice because they hold a lot of food and stack well in the fridge. Other items that are helpful are an instant pot and/or rice cooker to cook dried beans and rice, a sharp knife and cutting board, a high speed blender and a steaming basket. Next you’ll need to decide on a flavor profile and make a grocery list. I’ve created detailed, step-by-step instructions for Southwestern Bowls, Mediterranean Bowls and Asian Bowls including the tools you will need and a grocery list. Once you’ve gathered or purchased everything you need, you are ready to get started.
Batch Cooking: Batch cooking involves preparing all your ingredients for a week’s worth of lunches/meals at one time. Many people find it works well to purchase food items on Saturday morning and Sunday prepare them for the upcoming week. In two hours you can have all your food prepped and ready for your lunch bowls as well as enough to help with dinner prep. Another advantage to the batch method is that all the ingredients are prepared and ready for all family members to mix and match to create their own lunch. Imagine a healthy version of Chipotle in your fridge where you go through and choose the ingredients to make your bowl. Batch cooking increases the opportunity to make healthy food choices by providing nourishing food ready for anyone to grab and eat. It’s a win-win situation, family members get to personalize and choose their meal, you get the reassurance that they have healthy food options available. To begin I have three flavor profiles for you to choose from and walk you through the prep for each item. It is much simpler than it seems.
Southwestern Bowls: Millet or brown rice with black or pinto beans, cauliflower, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, salsa, green onions, jalapeño, olives, limes, cilantro.
Asian Bowls: Black rice or sushi rice, bean sprouts, avocado, baby corn, cabbage, carrots, sesame seeds, broccoli, mango or pineapple with sweet and spicy tofu.
Mediterranean Bowls: Brown rice and kidney beans with broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, artichokes, cucumbers, green onions, bell peppers, pinenuts, lemon, olive oil, fresh basil and Pepita Dressing.
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