No one has any time any more and never was this more accurate than when it comes to healthy food preparation. When the tempting delights of the Indian deli below the office, or the sandwich shop down the street come creeping in, our natural instinct tells us that quick, cheap and fast is the easiest and best way to grab food on the go and to push ahead with our days.
Being busy doesn’t have to equal being unhealthy however. Nor does it have to mean that we don’t have time to prepare our own meals – meals for which we know what the exact ingredients are, and what portion size we need to fill us up. Today’s post is my go-to lunch when I don’t have time to prepare something more extravagant. It is cheap, really easy and can be prepared in advance and eaten all week. It even has the ability to be interchanged with other flavours and foods. It is entirely up to you. Here it is:
Quinoa with roasted vegetables topped with avocado and olive oil
This recipe is really this simple. Cook up a batch of quinoa – you can choose to do one individual serve (half a cup of dry, which is roughly the equivalent of one cup cooked), or a larger batch that will serve you for the whole week.
Next, take a trip to your local farmers’ market or grocer and stock up on seasonal vegetables. Favourites of mine include cherry tomatoes, red onion, squash/pumpkin/sweet potato. Bung them in the oven and roast on 200 C (400 F) for around 55 minutes, or until cooked. Perhaps sauté some zucchini with fresh rosemary or any other fresh or dried herbs (cooking time under 5 minutes).
When all the veggies and quinoa are done, mix them together, adding in perhaps some chopped olives and baby spinach and mix through. Top with slices of avocado and drizzle with olive oil.
Nutritionally, this is almost the perfect meal. The protein from the quinoa plus the complex carbohydrates will give you energy through the afternoon. The good fats from the olives, avocado and olive oil will keep you full, and the nutrients from the vegetables and baby spinach will make your digestion love you and your skin glow.
Feel free to mix and match as many things as you like here. Don’t like avocado? Top with nuts or seeds instead, or maybe even some hemp seeds. Perhaps mix in some nutritional yeast for a little cheesy kick. For added protein and crunch, add some chia seeds to the combination. You can change the dressing too. Other favourites of mine are a Dijon and lemon juice vinaigrette, or balsamic and olive oil. Perhaps even some apple cider vinegar. The options are virtually endless and mean you can also eat with the seasons.
Try this mish-mash meal next time you are struggling for food ideas and it will keep you satisfied and ready to power through your afternoon slump. It is plane-friendly too – just keep the quinoa and vegetables in separate containers, as well as the dressings, and mix when ready to eat. The best part? You can keep changing it and changing it so it never feels the same.