Sustainable Diet Convenience Cooking

SUSTAINABLE PLANT-BASED PRACTICELook at the ingredients list.  Select items in boxes, bags or packages with just a few whole plant ingredients listed, (like 5 or less), avoiding added sugars, fats and oils, additives like preservatives, colorings or protein powders, sodium or salt, or stuff that you can’t pronounce.  Keep it simple.

MAKING THE SUSTAINABLE DIET EASY: A common reason I hear for not sticking with a whole food, plant-based diet is that you have to cook everything from scratch and it’s too complicated and time consuming.  In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  There is a wide variety of healthy products on the market to choose from nowadays, making quick meals easy.  Having said that, there are many more unhealthy foods that are masquerading as healthy.  Consumers must be aware of the difference, and understand what’s in that package – so do read labels before assuming.

As an illustration, here are a few meals and snack ideas that can be made in a snap, using staples that can be stocked in the kitchen:

Pasta and sauce with vegetables:

  • Whole-grain pasta - make sure that it’s WHOLE, with fiber intact to absorb water and calories
  • Pasta/tomato sauce – look for low-sodium or salt free, as well as cheese- and oil-free
  • Frozen leafy greens or beans – spinach or kale, or other frozen veggies like edemame – throw them in the sauce!

Beans and rice bowl with tortillas

  • Canned refried beans of any variety – look for low-sodium or no salt added
  • Vacuum-packed brown rice, or instant brown rice
  • Corn tortillas for rolling small burritos or dipping
  • Salsa – look for low-sodium
  • Avocado or guacamole – using avocado is a lot quicker than making guacamole

Salads

  • Lettuce mixes in bags
  • Cut up veggies already prepared – you can make your own salad bar by cutting up veggies beforehand to store in containers
  • Oil-free dressings, bought (try Whole Foods) or made ahead

Cereal and snacks

  • Used soaked dried fruits or thawed frozen berries instead of sugary jams or on prepared whole grains for breakfast, with a splash of plant milk

Jeff Novick has compiled a great list of healthy convenience food, and familiarity with these can make snacks and cooking easier:

Plant-based cooking and meal preparation is no harder than standard American cooking, you may just have to make a transition to learn new ways of preparing things and different foods to use as your go-to staples. Once you’ve put in a little extra time learning, the habits are easy to maintain and cooking is a snap.

SUSTAINABLE PLANT-BASED PRACTICE:  Look at the ingredients list.  Select items in boxes, bags or packages with just a few whole plant ingredients listed, (like 5 or less), avoiding added sugars, fats and oils, additives like preservatives, colorings or protein powders, sodium or salt, or stuff that you can’t pronounce.  Keep it simple.

MAKING THE SUSTAINABLE DIET EASY: A common reason I hear for not sticking with a whole food, plant-based diet is that you have to cook everything from scratch and it’s too complicated and time consuming.  In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  There is a wide variety of healthy products on the market to choose from nowadays, making quick meals easy.  Having said that, there are many more unhealthy foods that are masquerading as healthy.  Consumers must be aware of the difference, and understand what’s in that package – so do read labels before assuming...

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Skills: 
cooking
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