Healthy Eating on the Road (3): LUNCH

This post continues on from my earlier posts about how to stay healthy on the road. In post one, I shared some general thoughts on how to stay healthy when you travel a lot. Post two focused on some fun breakfast ideas. Today I’d like to focus on…LUNCH!

This one is tricky because you’re trying to find the sweet spot between buying stuff that lasts in the car/bus, but doesn’t contain a million strange preservatives and sugary crap. It also involves a stop at a grocery store. And preferably a knife and fork.

1. Look for whole, natural foods.

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My rule of thumb for travel snacks is to buy as many whole food snacks as I can before picking up a few healthy-ish processed ones like granola bars, dark chocolate, crackers, and very importantly, things to go on crackers. 

2. Bread and bread alternatives.

This one depends on whether you’re in the gluten-free camp or not. If gluten isn’t a problem for you, then choose a nice fresh bread to eat on the day, and stock up on some breads that won’t spoil as quickly, such as pita pockets or wraps that come in a vaccuum pack. The vacuum packs will allow you a couple of days storage before opening, and then should last a day or two once opened so long as you reseal the packs correctly!

If you are in the gluten-free camp, there are plenty of alternatives that last really well in the car. Rice or oat cakes are my go-to, or else rye crackers such as Ryvita or Finn Crisp (these are easy to find in most supermarkets in Ireland/Europe…maybe not so much in the U.S.).

Not a grain-eater? Not a problem. Buy a big bag of apples or pears and a knife. You can cut the apples into slices and eat them with cheese or nut butter on top. Yum.

3. Toppings.

My usual toppings are usually avocado, hummus and nut butters. So, for example you could stop to make a pita pocket stuffed with avocado slices and hummus, or a couple of rice cakes with peanut butter and banana slices on top, or apple slices dipped in almond butter. Some of my favourite combos:

  • Hummus on pita/rice cakes.
  • Nut butter or cheese on apple slices.
  • Nut butter on anything.
  • Avocado on rye crackers with a boiled egg or tuna (see 4 below!).
  • Rice cakes layered with peanut butter and banana slices on top.

4. Extra protein ideas.

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If you need something more meaty, tinned sardines, salmon or tuna is a handy option (just make sure you buy a can that has a pull-ring!). You can either eat it with a fork straight from the (drained) can, or mash it up with the avocado to make a super-healthy tuna-“mayo”. Be warned though- your travel buddies will NOT thank you for that one, especially if you try and prep it in a moving car! This one is DEFINITELY only doable if you are pulling over to the side of the road to avoid assaulting your bandmates nostrils.

IMG_7883And if you want to get even weirder, you could bring a couple of boiled eggs. I know what you’re thinking, ew. And who has time to be that organised? The reason I mention it is that when I traveled around Japan last year, you could buy boiled eggs as a snack in every 7-11 and Family Mart. They even sold them along some of the hikes to temples! It was brilliant. We were able to eat eggs for breakfast while walking to the subway! So, if travelling in Japan, you can buy some boiled eggs to bring with you as a snack. Anywhere else, you may have to boil them that morning, and eat within a few hours.

 

5. Snazzy Extras

Just in case you’re reading through this thinking ‘there is nooo wayyy a few crackers are going to fill me’, this section is for you.

After having a few rice cakes covered in whatever you fancy, try adding a few extras to your lunch. Kind of like how in primary school we used to have a sandwich AND an apple AND a carton of milk. Try a grown-up version of this: a few avocado crackers AND an apple AND a handful of nuts AND a couple of squares of quality dark chocolate. You could also buy a few healthy granola bars to keep you going (more on how to choose these in the next post). And maybe finish it all off with a green tea.

Teeny X

Homemade Nut & Seed Butter

When there is no nut butter in the house you’ll usually find me looking forlornly into the cupboard where the jar once was, trying to think of a replacement snack. It has become a total staple in my diet. Since lashing nut butter on everything is quite an expensive habit, I’ve been on a mission to find a cheaper way to feed my addiction by making my own at home!

Mixed nuts tend to be cheaper to buy in supermarkets here than one type of nut, and seeds are cheaper than nuts. So I experimented with making a mixed nut and sunflower seed butter, and it was delicious!

LRM_EXPORT_20170511_094730Two cups of nuts/seeds yields 1 cup of nut butter, or roughly 220g (so if you imagine those tiny jars of nut butter that are sold by many different brands in Ireland, it makes about a third more than the quantity you would get in one of those). You can make it with any nut you like, or a combination of your favourites! I usually buy Dunnes Stores or Supervalu mixed nuts bags which contain a combo of walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and almonds.

The ratio of nuts to seeds is really up to you. I used about 1 1/4 cups of mixed nuts, and 3/4 cup of sunflower seeds here and you could definitely taste the sunflower seeds (which I liked!), but if you’re not into that then I would go with more nuts and fewer seeds!

Once you have chosen your nuts then all you need is a pinch of salt, a powerful food processor, and patience my friend! It takes anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes to transform the nuts into butter, so maybe grab your laptop so you can check emails.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups mixed nuts and seeds of your choice (always buy raw unsalted!)

a pinch of sea salt (optional)

you’ll also need a sturdy blender or food processor. I would go with a food processor over a hand-held blender as you can blend larger quantities more evenly this way. 

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C (130 fan/300F).
  2. Place your chosen nuts and seeds on a baking tray and leave to toast for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly for about 15 minutes.
  3. Put the toasted nuts and seeds in the food processor and blend for 15-20 minutes, stopping it occasionally to scrape down the sides and to let your blender cool. Please don’t give up and be tempted to throw in some water or oil to speed up the process because it will ruin the consistency of the but nutter! Here are some photos of the process so you know what you’re looking for:
  4. Once it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency, scrape it all out and store it in a clean airtight jar or container. Tastes great on banana slices, rice cakes, in porridge, or in these grain-free granola bars!

Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Super Berry Bircher Muesli

Bircher muesli is a quick and nutritious breakfast that could possibly save you an extra 10 minutes in the morning! Yes, you read this correctly, that means one extra hit of the snooze button! You prepare it the night before, leave in the fridge, and then boom. Instant breakfast in the morning. No cooking, no clean-up.

It was originally created around 1900 by a Swiss doctor called Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner. This smart dude fed it to the patients in his hospital, where a diet rich in fresh fruit and veggies was a core aspect of his therapy. The original recipe included oats, apples, nuts, a squeeze of lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. The oats were soaked overnight to make them more digestible, and then served in the morning with yoghurt.

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All grains, legumes and nuts naturally contain quite a lot of phytic acid. During digestion, the phytic acid binds to vitamins and minerals in our food, making them more difficult to absorb. By soaking our grains and legumes, we break down some of this phytic acid ahead of time, making the awesome goodness of grains and legumes more available to our bodies!

Of course, Bircher muesli has evolved over the years since 1900, and now there are dried store bought muesli varieties that often contain far more grains and sugar than the original light recipe, which was more focused on fresh fruit.

The good news is that health nuts are always finding creative ways to pimp up this awesome recipe.  The one I’ve made here replaces the apples with berries, and the condensed milk with homemade nut milk. I’ve also used a combo of nuts, seeds, and some fancy extras instead of just nuts.

This serves one small person, but feel free to one-and-a-half it or double it if you know you have a long day ahead of you!

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats*

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SERVES: 1 | PREP TIME: 5 minutes | COOK TIME: 0 minutes!

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons oats (use gluten-free if you’re gluten intolerant)

3 tablespoons nutritious nuts, seeds and dried berries! I used:

  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fancy extras (I used this superfood breakfast topper, but it’s not necessary! Use whatever you have lying around the house- chopped nuts? flax or chia seeds? cacao nibs? goji berries?)

Handful of fresh mixed berries (I used raspberry and some blueberries)

1/2 cup nut milk of you choice (I used homemade but store-bought is fine)

A squeeze of fresh lemon

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients into a breakfast bowl or kilner jar. Mix around and mash the berries into the other ingredients.
  2. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. That’s it! Instant nutritious breakfast awaits you the following morning. Eat it as is, or top it off with yoghurt and more berries, banana slices and drizzle of nut butter, or whatever you fancy yourself!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This is one of my favourite on-the-go lunch or dinner recipes. It uses quinoa instead of the traditional bulghur wheat used in tabbouleh. The cucumber combined with the fresh parsley, lemon juice and mint give it a refreshing taste. It makes a great side dish to bring to a potluck or BBQ, or you can take it with you to work as a tasty desk lunch!

Quinoa is a 5,000 year old grain that originated in The Andean region of South America. The Incas thought the crop to be sacred, and referred to it as “the mother of all grains”. Technically, it’s not actually a grain but a pseudograin. It has a pretty impressive nutritional profile, which explains its popularity among health nuts!

Vegetarians love the stuff because it is one of the few grains that contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein! One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8g protein, which is good for a grain (but still lower than other protein sources, i.e. you could get 6g protein by eating a single egg, or 1oz raw almonds).

Quinoa also boasts an impressive 5g of fibre per cup, which is higher than what you’d find in one cup of long grain brown rice (about 3.5g per cup). This fibre-and-protein combo helps keep us full for longer and doesn’t spike our blood sugars quite as much as comparable grains.

You may have heard quinoa referred to as a superfood. As well as its protein and fibre attributes, quinoa contains a high level antioxidants, B vitamins, folate, magnesium and iron compared to other grains. One cup quinoa gives you an impressive 30% of your RDA of magnesium! Most people who eat a standard American Diet are not getting enough magnesium as it tends to be lost during food processing. Chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to leg cramps, muscle pains, insomnia and anxiety, so it is important to eat more whole foods to keep our magnesium levels up!

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So, anyway….back to the recipe. I usually add some kind of protein or good fat source to the dish if it’s going to be my lunch or dinner to make it more substantial. Here I added a can of chickpeas, but sometimes I put it in a lunchbox with a soft-boiled egg on top, or maybe half an avocado or some feta cheese. So once you’ve got the basic recipe down, feel free to add whatever protein you like to it, box it, and bring it with you when you’re on the go!

*This recipe is gluten-free, vegan-friendly, plant-based, and refined sugar free*

SERVES: 4-6 | PREP TIME: 30 mins |

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed well*

8 small-medium tomatoes (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes), diced

1 cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 cup mint leaves (1 small bunch), chopped

1/2 cup parsley leaves (1 small bunch), chopped

Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon (depending on how juicy it is!)

3 tablespoons olive oil

a few turns of the sea salt and black pepper mills (to taste)

optional:

1/2 medium red onion, diced (unfortunately raw onion does not agree with me, but it is nice in the recipe!)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed OR a soft boiled organic free range egg OR some feta cheese from sheep’s milk)

*You can save time by cooking the quinoa earlier on in the day, or the night before. Sometimes I put on some extra quinoa for dinner, cool it and keep in the fridge to use for this recipe.

METHOD

  1. Measure out 1 cup dry quinoa. Rinse well in a fine sieve, then knock into a medium size pan. Cover with 2 cups water, bring to the boil, and leave to cook on medium heat for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and leave to stand for 3 more minutes until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork to separate grains. Transfer to a bowl or tray and allow it to cool.
  2. While your quinoa is cooking and cooling, prep your veggies! Peel and dice the cucumber, dice the tomatoes (and onion if using). Chop the parsley and mint leaves finely. Combine all veggies and herbs in a large mixing bowl.
  3. If using a can of chickpeas, rinse and drain thoroughly, then stir in to the veggie mixture.
  4. Prepare your dressing by adding your freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Use a whisk or fork to combine.
  5. Once your quinoa is cooled, add it to your mixing bowl with the veggies and toss. Drizzle the dressing over it and toss again until evenly coated. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for a handy on-the-go lunch or dinner!

Guest Recipe: Sweet Potato and Quinoa Curry

I make this curry at least once every couple of weeks, so really wanted to share it with you all since it’s so delicious, simple, and healthy. It is adapted from Oliver McCabe’s book, The Fuel Food Cookbook. Oliver McCabe is the owner of Select Stores, a beautiful little health food store on the corner in Dalkey.  It has a great selection of healthy fruit, veg, pantry foods, household products, and a lovely little deli too! Well worth a visit. You can get McCabe’s cookbook here, or sample some of his delicious recipes by calling in to the shop if you live locally.

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The chickpeas and quinoa make this dish an excellent source of plant-based protein. The colourful array of veggies (sweet potato, spinach, red onion, garlic) mean that it is packed full of protective antioxidants. I love to serve it in bowls and eat it with a spoon for a comforting, nourishing mid-week dinner.

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free*

Guest Recipe: Oliver McCabe’s Sweet Potato and Quinoa Curry

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INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small onions

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 x 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2-3 tablespoons mild curry powder (I made my own using 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons coriander, 2 teaspoons turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon)

2 teaspoons of gluten-free vegetable Bouillon powder (or 1 cube vegetable stock)

500ml hot water

200g quinoa

3 handfuls of baby spinach

A few turns of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

METHOD

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and sweat for about 5 minutes until soft.
  3. While you’re waiting, make your stock in a measuring jug by adding 2 teaspoons Bouillon powder/1 stock cube to 500ml boiling water and stir.
  4. Add the cubed sweet potatoes, chickpeas and curry powder to the pan, stirring until the curry powder evenly coats everything else. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
  5. Add the quinoa, stock, and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooked and all the water is absorbed. (If the curry runs out of liquid before the quinoa is cooked, just add a little more water).
  6. Add the spinach, stir through then cover again and let simmer until the spinach has wilted.
  7. Check seasoning and add a little salt and pepper to taste, then you’re good to go!

 

Grain-free Coconut Granola

This granola may lead to some serious snacking-by-the-handful. You’ve been warned! It is amazingly delicious with almond milk, on top of porridge, or as a homemade trail mix to snack on when you’re on the go!

I decided to try out a grain-free one because I seemed to be eating oats non-stop there for a couple of weeks and thought I’d try something new. The oats have been replaced with coconut flakes (the big kinds, not desiccated coconut!). They go a lovely golden colour and have a moreish crunchy texture- you’d hardly notice there are no oats!

This granola is packed full of nutrients since it is made entirely of lightly toasted nuts and seeds coated in a little maple syrup and coconut oil. It is inspired by a recipe by Dr. Sarah Ballantine, an award-winning paleo food blogger (see original here).

Grain-free Granola

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, paleo-friendly, grain-free, refined sugar-free & gluten-free *

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PREP TIME: 5 minutes | COOKING TIME: 20-25 mins

INGREDIENTS

dry:

2 cups coconut flakes

2 cups mixed nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazils, and hazelnuts)

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*you’ll need to buy the coconut flakes, nuts and seeds raw and unsalted 

wet:

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil

a few turns of the sea salt grinder (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius (fan oven).
  2. Cover a large baking pan with some parchment paper.
  3. Pulse the mixed nuts in a blender until they break down a little bit, but still have a good bit of texture and CRUNCH!(Or just chop with a knife if you don’t have a blender).
  4. Put the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  5. Put the wet ingredients in a small saucepan, melt over a low heat, and stir gently until combined.
  6. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ones and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  7. Place the mixture on a large baking tray and spread out evenly.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the coconut chips turn a golden brown. You might need to shake and turn it halfway through. (Always keep an eye on your granola because it is sooo easy to burn-I’ve done it so many times!)
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking tray before storing in an airtight container.

 

Tempeh-Beet Curry

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This is a quick, filling, and nutritious curry recipe that my boyfriend and I came up with in New York. It became our go-to when we didn’t have too much time to cook before going out. It makes a great mid-week dinner!

You can usually find tempeh in Wholefoods or Trader Joe’s. If you’re looking for it in Ireland, you would probably need to swing by your local health food shop as it hasn’t made it to the supermarkets yet, as far as I know.

Tempeh is made of fermented whole soybeans. When you add tempeh starter to soya beans and let it sit for a day or two, it becomes a loaf-like fermented food product. The use of the whole soya bean along with the fermentation process leaves us with a very nutritious end product with a high protein content (the same as meat!) and lots of B vitamins!

Tempeh has become one of those trendy health foods because it is thought to reduce cholesterol (due to its isoflavone and niacin content),  increase bone density (high calcium and copper content), and even help balance your gut bacteria thanks to the good bacteria which grow during fermentation! It also adds an awesome meat-like texture and a bit of a nutty flavour to your plate of veggies.

Soy is quite a controversial topic amongst health nerds, and for good reasons too. Nutritional cook Susan Jane White gives us a great low-down on the controversies surrounding soy in her first cookbook, so what I’ve written below is mostly based on that (to read more about her thoughts on it, check out her blog post here).

Soy has traditionally been used for years in the East as an excellent plant-based source of protein and vitamins. Once word got out West about how great soy products were for peoples’ health in places like Japan, this drove consumer demand for soy products way up worldwide. This high demand led to more and more industrially produced soy products.

Big companies found cheaper ways of making tofu, soy sauces, soy milks and other soy products, leaving them nutritionally deplete. Some cheap techniques used include chemical isolation and genetic modification (that’s why soy is often associated with GMO!). So, by the time your average slab of tofu or dash of soy sauce gets to your table, it’s only a shadow of the nutrient-dense powerhouse it was when it was first grown! Very sad news for all soy lovers, I know! 😥

What’s more is that the soybean is used to make up a lot of animal feed, and so a lot of forests are being destroyed to make space for soy to be grown in vast monocultures, often as GMO, causing environmental degradation, water wastage, and all the usual problems associated with the dominant meat industry.

Since low-quality soy is now so cheap to produce, it is often thrown into processed foods as an inexpensive bulking agent, so that is why so many of our chocolatey treats contain soy isolate or some other kind of soy derivative. Kind of like how corn and wheat have ended up in everything. As a result, people are beginning to develop sensitivities and intolerances to soy (again similar to the corn and wheat stories).

My thoughts on soy are that it is best to avoid it if you can, especially in processed foods. When I do buy it, I try to only use it once a week, buy mostly fermented products such as tempeh or miso paste, and make sure that it is organic, ethically produced, and non-GMO.

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free*

Tempeh-Beet Curry

IMG_0479SERVES: 4   |   PREP TIME: 10 min  |   COOKING TIME: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into half-moons

2 raw beets, peeled and chopped into matchsticks

1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1 packet of organic, non-GMO tempeh

3 handfuls of spinach

2 tablespoons mild curry powder (I used Trader Joe’s)

1 can full fat coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

salt & pepper to taste

rice or quinoa (to serve)

METHOD

  1. If you don’t have leftover rice or quinoa in the fridge, it’s best to start that first!
  2. Heat some oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, and sweat for 3-5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the carrots, beets, and garlic. Leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
  4. Add in the curry paste and stir until everything is coated. Follow this with the can of coconut milk, the broccoli, and some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil and leave to simmer at a low to medium heat for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tempeh. Leave for 3-5 minutes, or until the tempeh is heated through and the veggies are cooked. I like them with a bit of a crunch!
  6. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt.
  7. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, and stir.
  8. Serve in a bowl on top of quinoa or rice. Enjoy!

‘Shamrock Shake’ Smoothie

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! For the day that’s in it, I thought I’d procrastinate the rest of the ‘Healthy Eating On The Road’ posts until next Friday, and instead share with you this festive green smoothie!

As a kid, getting a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s on Grafton Street around St. Patrick’s Day was such a treat. As my tastes have changed just a tad since I was ten years old, I don’t think I’d dig those shakes as much as an adult. My stomach definitely wouldn’t anyway. Instead, behold the Shamrock Shake’s alter ego: a delicious, fresh, green smoothie with some lemon and mint for some extra zing!

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This smoothie gets its pale green colour from the handful of spinach mixed in with the almond milk. It gets its delicous smooth texture from the half of an avocado and the banana. The almondbutter and flaxseeds add some awesome plant-based protein and good fats, and the mint and lemon add a bit of pizazz! The result: a smooth, cooling, refreshing glass of green energy. If you need a little more sweetness in your life, feel free to add a teaspoon or two of your favourite natural sweetener!

Green smoothies make a great breakfast, on-the-go lunch, or post-workout booster. The squeeze of lemon juice will help kick-start your liver if you plan to part-take in the Paddy’s day festivities, and the cooling mint is great for an upset stomach. Maybe keep this one in mind for tomorrow morning.

‘Shamrock Shake’ Smoothie

SERVES: 1  |  PREP TIME: 5 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 cup almond milk

1 banana

1 handful spinach

1/2 avocado

2 teaspoons ground flaxseeds

1 teaspoon almondbutter (or peanutbutter if you prefer)

juice of 1/2 a juicy lemon (or to taste)

8 mint leaves (or to taste)

optional: 1-2 teaspoons of your preferred sweetener!

METHOD

  1. Chop all ingredients into small chunks.
  2. Put in your blender and whizz until smooth!
  3. Serve with mint leaves on top in the shape of a shamrock.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Teeny x

 

 

 

 

5-Minute Happy Heart Salad

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This salad wasn’t actually going to be on my blog because it’s just so ridiculously easy to make. But then it looked pretty and tasted great, so here it is!

Salad is my go-to lunch. I rarely follow salad recipes and instead chuck whatever is in the fridge into my bowl. Because who has time to make fancy salads on your average weekday? Most of my salads are what I like to call ‘that’ll do’ salads. They are healthy and keep me full until dinner, but are not very inspiring or noteworthy. This one was different.

First of all, the flaxseed oil and walnuts make it an amazing source of plant-based omega-3. Omega-3 is a type of essential fatty acid. ‘Essential’ means that our bodies can’t make them on their own, and so we must rely on our diet to supply us with adequate omega-3 to maintain optimal health. As the most concentrated sources of it are oily fish, people on plant-based diets need to make an effort to ensure they are getting enough of it every day, and that they aren’t only consuming omega-6 (which are found in nuts and seeds, and are abundant in the Standard American Diet in processed vegetable oils and grains). Here are just some of the ways omega-3 fatty acids can help our overall health and wellness:

  • Cardiovascular health- they help to reduce blood pressure and improve circulation
  • Mental health-they help to balance mood and prevent depression. They are also thought to help sharpen the mind and improve concentration
  • Joints and muscles-they help to reduce inflammation.

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The beetroot also deserves a mention here because in my rush to eat the above salad, I didn’t notice that you can’t really see it in this photo! Ahem. Sorry about that. Beets are amazing because they benefit our bodies in so many different ways. As well as being an awesome source of antioxidants, folate, potassium, and magnesium, they have been shown to support heart health and exercise endurance because of their nitrate content (you can read more about that here). I use pre-cooked beet here from a vaccuum pack, but you could also grate in some raw beet if you have them to add a nice bit of texture and crunch.

Finally, this salad rocks because it is just so easy to make. No cooking required.

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*This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free & gluten-free, and grain-free*

5-Minute Happy Heart Salad

SERVES: 1 | PREP TIME: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

for the salad:

Salad leaves of your choice (I used a mixed leaf one here)

1/2 a cooked beet, chopped (or you could grate a raw beet if you have it!)

1/2 avocado, diced

3 small vine tomatoes, quartered

a sprinkling of walnuts

for the dressing:

1 dessertspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 dessertspoon flaxseed oil

a little salt & pepper

METHOD

  1. Put the salad leaves on your plate.
  2. Dice the cucumber and beet and layer on top of your salad leaves.
  3. Slice the avocado and tomato and add on top of everything else.
  4. Put all the salad ingredients in a sealable container and shake around until they combine into a bright yellow dressing. Pour on top of the salad.
  5. Add a sprinkling of walnuts (and some other nuts or seeds if you like!).
  6. Mix everything together and devour.