Unfortunately, my meals aren’t always super creative. Kinda disappointing, right? Sorry. It’s just that I work during the day, and sometimes I want to come home, and make something super quick but still very filling and tasty. Fortunately, I have a meal model for these times. This fail safe model has plenty of variety and is easily adjustable to any given grocery inventory I may have. What is this handy meal tool you ask? Let me explain…
People are always asking how vegans get their protein. However, most plant foods contain some protein and most meat eaters consume much more protein than necessary. On the flip side, many meat eaters don’t consume enough fiber, a complex carbohydrate vital to gastrointestinal health. Vegans, vegetarians, and those who adhere to plant based diets consume plenty of fiber due to its abundance in plant foods.
This meal model contains a high amount of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals depending on foods chosen. The possibilities with this model are endless. Not only is the model nutritious, but also cost effective, as most of the ingredients are cheap with long shelf life.
To follow the model, you simply prepare beans/peas, a grain or starchy vegetable, and a leafy green food (plus other veggies if you wish). Sounds simple, right? It is!
For the bean part of the model (my favorite, I love beans!), I switch this meal up with many different types (pinto, kidney, chickpeas, lentils, black beans, northern beans, baked beans, green peas, black eyed peas, lima beans, etc). As I mentioned, canned beans and frozen beans are very cheap ($.50 or less per cup), and have great shelf life so they can be kept on hand to use frequently. They are also high in fiber and protein, while being low in fat! I season mine with salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh onions, and sometimes chili powder, parsley, or red pepper flakes, depending on the rest of the dish.
For the grain/starchy vegetable portion of the meal model, this can be met with rice (brown rice, jasmine rice, and basmati rice are my favorites), quinoa, potatoes (mashed potatoes, diced seasoned potatoes, roasted rosemary potatoes work well), sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, etc! These foods are going to provide nutrient dense carbohydrates with fiber and B vitamins, among others depending on which grain/vegetable you use. I’m all about continued research, so while you may feel like you need rice with your beans to provide complete protein, look into it a little more and you may learn information to counter that.
Last but not least, throw in something green from your veggie stockpile. This could be an opportunity to use some fresh kale you may have, or maybe you have some frozen collard greens to add or some spinach left over from a smoothie. Don’t forget about brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage, which are all good options with plenty of fiber and few calories. These are also very quick to prepare by sauteing.
While your meal will be good to go with just the core elements of the meal model, feel free to add more veggies whether you use them as a topping for the dish or cook them into the beans and greens. Furthermore, this meal model is perfect if you’re trying to incorporate more raw foods into your diet. Sliced cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, and bell peppers are all tasty atop this dish!
Be on the lookout for recipes to various components of this dish to make it easy to cook and very flavorful. Try it out and comment your combinations below!
Wishing you much Love and Veggieness,