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Lunch Prep Extravaganza

Posted Jan 10 2011 7:30am

Good morning guys!

How was your weekend? Get up to anything spectacular? Mine was fairly relaxed and low key – a lil hot yoga (not one but two classes – booyahh!), some chillin’ with the roommates, good eats, and the usual weekend errands. All in all, no complaints! :)

As you may remember from the post where I declared my goals for 2011 , one of them was to eat more vegetarian sources of protein. There are a couple of motives behind this:

Reason 1: It’s cheaper (hence it will help me to stick to my grocery budget)

Reason 2: As is true with other foods and macronutrients, it’s a good idea to eat a variety. In the case of protein, there are about 21 amino acids that our bodies need. It can make 12 of them, but can’t make the other 9. Those 9 are called essential amino acids, and have to be obtained from food. By eating a variety of foods, people (yes, even vegetarians and vegans) can obtain all of them. Not all protein sources are complete though – most plant sources of protein are not. The exception to this is the soybean, which is quite the superstar because it contains all 9 essential amino acids.

Reason 3: Throughout all of my Try Something New Tuesday trials, I’ve actually come to find that vegetarian sources of protein are really quite tasty.

Last weekend, I decided to go a little prep-crazy in my kitchen and make all of my lunches for the week. To do this, I rounded up the following ingredients from the cupboards and fridge:

  • About 1/3 bag frozen shelled edamame
  • About 1/2 cup chickpeas (leftover)
  • About 1 1/2 cups Romano beans (leftover)
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 can boneless skinless salmon
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup each red and regular organic quinoa
  • Some leftover veggies: 1/2 leftover zucchini, 1/2 red onion, 2 big celery stalks, red bell pepper, cucumber, 1/2 tomato, 1 sweet potato
  • And some flava…. olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, dried herbs and spices

Don’t worry, I didn’t throw everything together. Although I am quite possibly the most indecisive person when it comes to salads, all of this mixed into one would have been a little much – even by my standards. After lots of chopping and mixing, I produced the following:

That would be 4 different salad mixes, or 10 servings (there are 3 in the big container and 2 in the square one at the bottom). These ended up being lunches and some of my snacks last week. The ingredients were used as follows:

Salad 1: Salmon & Edamame (2 servings)

  • 1 can boneless skinless salmon, mashed with a fork
  • about 1 cup shelled edamame, defrosted
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • a little rice wine vinegar and low-sodium soy sauce
  • a few pinches of chili flakes

Salad 2: Tuna, Bean & Tomato (2 servings)

  • 1 1/2 cups Romano beans
  • 1 can flaked light tuna, drained
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • a little red wine vinegar and olive oil
  • dried parsley and black pepper

Salad 3: Quinoa and Sweet Potato (5 servings)

  • 1/2 cup each red and regular organic quinoa (or any combination of the 2)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cooked boneless skinless chicken breast (about 120g), chopped into cubes
  • a bit of olive oil, dried parsley, and oregano

Salad 4: A weird but tasty mix of the rest (1 serving)

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame, defrosted
  • cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion
  • dried oregano and basil
  • splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

I am aware that only one of these is actually a veggie-friendly salad, but the point of the whole exercise was to use up what I had on hand and avoid having to make lunches later in the week. And oh how successful I was! The salmon and edamame one was probably the best, but they were all very tasty. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I spent a bit of yesterday afternoon prepping new variations… I’ll test them out this week and get back to you with the best!

Questions for today:

  • What’s in your lunch today? (If you’re not a lunch-packer, what are you planning on having?)
  • What was the highlight of your weekend?

Have a good one! :)

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