Supercharge Your Workday with Tasty, Easy-to-Make Plant-Based Meals
We sit in meetings a lot, for event planning, product rollouts, and company strategy. We’re the first to admit it: Back-to-back Zoom calls can throw us off the Wicked Healthy path. No matter what, though, we always eat plant-based meals. Why? First, there’s all the evidence about them being better for our health, for the animals, and for the environment. And there’s something else: when the days get hectic, eating plant-based meals can keep you energized. Studies show that when you eat animal products, you tend to take in more fat, which slows your digestion. When you eat more plants, you take in more fiber, which has the opposite effect: it speeds up your digestion. That improves your metabolism and helps stave off that sluggish feeling. Here are a few other ways to stay on the Wicked Healthy path when you’re busy working at home, at the office, or on the road.
Have a decent breakfast. Eating whole grains at breakfast keeps you fuller longer so you don’t bonk halfway into your day and binge on a bag of cookies. If you like to eat light in the morning, go for whole-grain avocado toast. It’s simple and surprisingly satisfying. Want something heartier? Try overnight oats: mix half a 14-oz can of light coconut milk with 3/4 cup rolled oats and a pinch of salt and chill overnight in the fridge. Voila! No-cook breakfast. For more flavor, mix in 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or cardamom, 1/2 tsp vanilla, some raisins or dried cherries, chopped crystallized ginger, and a handful of walnuts, almonds or pecans (more protein!).
Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle near you and refill it habitually. If you’re staring down a really long day, sip on coconut water or fresh juice every few hours for an extra boost of calories. Or have a brothy soup for lunch. Just keep the liquids coming in to help flush your system clean and to avoid dehydration-related fatigue.
Stock the snack drawer. A bag of trail mix, a ripe apple, and some dark chocolate has kept us from getting hangry many, many times during endless meetings. Toss a few plant-based goodies in your desk drawer so you’ll have something decent to hold you over to the next meal. Seasoned nuts are one of our favorites (even more protein!).
Cook once, eat twice. When it comes to main meals, having good options on hand is the key to avoiding bad last-minute decisions. Do you really want takeout or highly processed foods again? Next time you cook, make extra. There’s no such thing as leftovers. Let’s call them planned-overs. They’re the smart way to make tomorrow’s lunch tonight. If you’re having pasta, soup or a casserole for dinner, make more than you need and the next day’s meal will be ready to go. Try our Pumpkin Pesto Pasta below. It reheats beautifully in the microwave.
Batch cook. The same principle applies to prepping ingredients. If you’re chopping onions for one dish, chop extra for another meal. They’ll last in a fridge a few days. If you cook more on the weekends, make a big batch of roasted root vegetables, farro, chickpeas or whatever vegetables, grains and beans you’re making. They can be a side dish on Sunday night, then re-purposed as a salad for lunch the next day or a hot soup the day after that. You can also try some of the quick and easy recipes on the Wicked Kitchen YouTube channel.
Get outside. Make time for self-care. Clear your head and let your body feel the sunshine at least once a day. Take a walk around your neighborhood or office building to help reduce stress, improve your sleep, and boost productivity.
Bonus Recipe to try now! Pumpkin Pesto Pasta
Serves 4 to 6. This quick pasta uses the perfect combo of bright veggies – juicy, golden tomatoes and arugula – to complement the pumpkin pesto’s own rich color and flavor.
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 pound (340g) small whole wheat pasta, such as orecchiette or penne
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced
- 1 pint (about 10 ounces/285g) yellow or red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 can (15 ounces/425g) white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained well
- 1 jar (6.7 ounces/190g) Wicked Kitchen™ Orange Pumpkin Pesto Sauce
- 2 cups (60g) lightly packed baby arugula
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain pasta well.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and beans, stir gently, and cook until the tomatoes are just starting to collapse, about 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
Add the drained pasta and pesto to the skillet and toss gently to combine. Add arugula and salt to taste and toss one more time.