I have recently joined the 9-5 workforce, while also working on weekends at a restaurant for some extra money. It’s not my ideal scenario, but I like both jobs and I really need to save up money to eventually live the lifestyle I truly want.
But I refuse to let my busy schedule keep me from health! I won’t be putting my diet and fitness second, even if it means doing a little extra work. After all, I’m worth the effort.
I think a common misconception about veganism is that our meals are complicated. Some of the amazing recipes I see on Instagram and on other blogs, use an array of ingredients and appliances, like dehydrators, that I simply don’t have the funds to acquire. (Check out my tips for grocery shopping on a budget here!)I want to show that this lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive or work intensively to get the nutrients you need and the savory, satiating food you desire. Even when you have a busy schedule.
Here are a few meals I have been enjoying lately, that are quick and require a few simple ingredients.
Rice and Beans
I am absolutely obsessed with beans. Sometimes when I am feeling extra lazy or really pressed for time, I will just heat up a can and season with some pepper and garlic powder.
For this dish, I also cooked some rice. I used jasmine rice from the brand Lotus Foods, which I bought for about $4 at Whole Foods. One package makes about 3 good sized portions. After cooking the rice, I heated up Trader Joe’s organic Kidney beans (one can is only $0.99) and seasoned with some salt and pepper.
I am on an artichoke kick, right now, so I topped the dish with these marinated artichoke hearts. The seasoned oil flavored the beans and rice even more which was a delicious touch. Overall, this meal took about 30 minutes to make. For about $7, I could make this 3 or 4 times.
Oatmeal doesn’t have to just before breakfast. Oats are cheap and full of iron, fiber, and protein. And they are really versatile so you can top them or mix in pretty much anything you already have in your kitchen. Here I added sliced bananas, strawberries, walnuts, agave sweetener, and cinnamon. But seriously, the possibilities are endless. You should definitely try having a big, healthy bowl of oats after a long, busy day.
What could be easier than making a sandwich?
The common image of a sandwich contains mostly slice meat and cheese, with maybe a slice of lettuce or a tomato. But, a sandwich packed with veggies can be just as satisfying, if not more so because you don’t feel weighed down by your food afterward. I am lucky enough to come home for lunch at my job, but this could easily be a packable sandwich as well.
I simply layered vegan mayo (I love Fabenaise by Sir Kensington), sweet pickles, lettuce, tomato and avocado between two slices of sprouted whole grain bread.
I used the rest of my tomato and avocado as a side, along with some baby carrots. Bam! Filling, easy and oh so delicious.
Sweet and Sour “Chicken” and Rice
Yes, more rice. But are you really complaining? This is another extremely versatile dish, therefore, I will include an amazing dinner Marty and I had the other night.
First, I started by checking my fridge and cabinets for any vegetables I had on hand. I ended up with red pepper, red onion, and mushrooms. I chopped all these up and sauteed them in avocado oil until they were soft and started to caramelize. I did all this while my rice was cooking.
Next, I warmed up some mandarin orange flavored “chicken” from the brand Gardein. I found this on sale for about $3 a bag. After crisping the chicken pieces up and pouring over the orange sauce, I combined all my topping to the rice and finished with a little green onion.
This dish probably took the longest to prepare out of all the meals I talked about today, however, you could easily get other things done around the house while everything was cooking and sauteing.
Banana Nice Cream
You can have this “ice cream” any time of day and I have. The only preparation you need is frozen bananas, which you can keep adding to your freezer whenever you have ripe bananas. Add just vanilla and almond milk or any other kind of fruit you want to mix in. Here are a few of my favorite combos! Some of the toppings include raw granola (recipe for that here), shredded coconut, cashews, fresh fruit, almond or peanut butter and Lenny and Larry’s complete vegan cookies.
The key for me is to not think about it too much. You have been eating all your life, you know what flavors you like together. See what you already have in your pantry or fridge. Vegan eating can be so simple. And you don’t have to sacrifice flavors that you love. It’s all about re-imagining your breakfast, lunch or dinner plate and finding what works best for you. Work, school, hobbies…nothing should stop you from taking care of your body. It’s all you have!
I hope you enjoyed these easy recipes! Comment below with some of your quick and simple food ideas that you have been loving lately!
Have a happy and healthy day, my friends 🙂