Plant-based eating for busy people
Georgia Brogan for No Meat May
Hello friends, I’m Georgia - full-time student, and an intern & copywriter with the lovely people at No Meat May. Like so many of us these days, life can often feel hectic, and when this is the case, I want my food prep to feel easy.
I’ve been vegetarian on and off across my 20 years, and, inspired by No Meat May’s values, I’ve become a vegan more recently. I’m excited for the journey, and all the new flavours and foods it will bring.
However…I just don’t have time to spend all day in the kitchen! Or at least, it’s not my priority at the moment - I have assignments to work on, a few jobs to juggle and social commitments threaded throughout my weeks.
I deeply admire those people for whom meal preparation is a labour of love, but at the moment, that’s not for me. I’m looking for some quick and easy plant-based fuel to power me through my busy day!
As you can tell, I’m not a veteran vegan, but I hope to be able to call myself that someday. This article marks the early days of my vegan journey. I hope it's helpful, whether you’ve been eating plant-based for decades, or are new to it all like me.
In this blog I'll be looking at:
- Plant-based food options you can consider when building meals (options provided for all food groups to ensure that meals are balanced).
- Some plant-based recipe inspo that ensures you meet all your nutritional needs - without spending too much time in the kitchen!
Build your meal
First stop: Protein!
Variety is key here! I’m guilty of eating chickpeas for days on end and getting sick of them as a result, so let's take a look at some great plant-based protein options.
- Tofu: 9 g protein per 85 g or ⅔ cup
- Tempeh: 17 g protein per 64 g or ½ cup
- Edamame: 9 g protein per 64 g or ½ cup
- Soy Milk: 7 g protein per 128 g or 1 cup
Legumes & Seeds
- Lentils: 18 g protein per 128 g or 1 cup
- Chickpeas: 11 g protein per 128 g or 1 cup
- Hummus: 8 g protein per 100 g or ¾ cup
- Black Beans: 14 g protein per 128 g or 1 cup
- Pumpkin Seeds: 8 g protein per 42 g or ⅓ cup
- Tahini: 5 g protein per 2 tbsp or ⅛ cup
Other protein sources
- Nutritional Yeast: 4 g protein per 16 g or 2 tbsp
- Seitan: 20 g protein per 85 g or ⅔ cup
Next Up: Healthy Fats
Avocado is a big player in the healthy fats world, but there’s other options too to shake things up.
Nuts & Seeds
- Almonds: 14 g fat per 32 g or ¼ cup
- Cashews: 12 g fat per 28 g or ⅛ cup
- Peanut Butter: 16 g fat per 32 g or ¼ cup
- Chia Seeds: 9 g fat per 37.5 g or 2.5 tbsp
- Flax Seeds: 15 g fat per 35 g or ⅓ cup
- Avocado: 6 g fat per 50 g or ⅓ cup
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 28 g fat per 32 g or ¼ cup
- Dark Chocolate: 12 g fat per 28 g or ⅛ cup
Followed by: Fibre
Nom nom. I’m a kiwi fruit fiend in particular. I eat the skin too - extra nutrients and texture! Fibre is particularly important for keeping everything moving and regular, so don't skip it.
- Berries: 2.4 g fibre per 100 g or ¾ cup
- Banana: 3 g fibre per medium banana
- Kiwi Fruit: 2.1 g fibre per kiwi fruit
- Apples: 3 g fibre per apple
- Pears: 5.5 g per pear
- Nectarines: 2.4 g fibre per nectarine
- Peaches: 2 g fibre per peach
- Sweet Potato: 3.5 g fibre per medium sweet potato
- Carrot: 2 g fibre per carrot
- Pumpkin: 7 g fibre per 128 g or 1 cup
- Peas: 4 g fibre per 128 g or 1 cup
- Corn: 2.8 g fibre per ear of corn
- Broccoli: 5 g fibre per 128 g or 1 cup
- Cauliflower: 3 g fibre per 128 g or 1 cup
- Spinach: 4 g fibre per 128g or 1 cup cooked spinach
- Brussel Sprouts: 3.3 g fibre per 128 g or 1 cup
And finally: Carbohydrates
The C in carbohydrates stands for comfort. I love carbs! And carbs aren't to be feared... providing our body with it's main energy source, carbs help fuel our brain, kidneys and central nervous system - very important for busy days.
- Oats: 29 g carbs per 64 g or ½ cup
- Quinoa: 30.5 g carbs per 32 g or ¼ cup
- Brown Rice: 28 g carbs per 64 g or ½ cup
- Wholegrain Bread: 12 g carbs per 28 g or 1 slice of bread
- Whole Wheat Pasta: 37 g carbs per 128 g or 1 cup
- Couscous: 18 g carbs per 64 g or ½ cup
Time to put it all together!
Below are some healthy and super-quick recipes that incorporate all the above nutrient groups, with options to prep ahead of time or throw together when you are in a rush.
Throw it together on the day
These recipes are quick, fresh and delicious - perfect to throw together for lunch and dinner, and you only need around 20 minutes.
Meal prep ahead of time
These options are great if you have a bit more time at the weekend and want to get prepped for the week.
That’s all for now! I hope this helped and is a useful reference point for easy, balanced plant-based meal-building. Don't forget to check out some other fab recipes on our blog, and most importantly, don't forget to have some fun in the kitchen!
References: Eating Well, Healthline, Vibrant Vegan, Lettuce Vegout, Diet and Debbie