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Sunday, 29 May 2016

What I Eat in a Day: Healthy & Vegan #1

My diet is generally pretty healthy and nutritious anyway, but I’ve been trying to live a much healthier lifestyle than usual lately, and particularly before Kate came to visit I was making a real effort to eat nutritious, light and healthy meals since I knew I was going to be eating out and snacking a lot while she was here. It’s amazing just how easy it can be to eat well when you’re already vegan and you love almost all plant-based food; I haven’t really struggled at all for ideas and I’ve been trying things I maybe wouldn’t have thought much about before being more mindful of what I’m eating. So, I thought I’d share a day of meals and show I eat super healthy (but not restrictive) as a vegan!


BREAKFAST
Although I really enjoy the breakfasts I eat, it’s probably one of my least favourite meals of the day just because I really struggle to eat too early in the morning and unless I resign myself to feeling full and weird for the rest of the day, I need to keep it pretty light. When I’m at work, I eat more muesli, porridges etc. as this keeps me fuller for longer on the job, but on weekends I go heavier on the fruit. This particular day was a bowl of (defrosted) frozen berries and a fresh banana with a sprinkling of chia seeds, flax seeds, raisins and some oats to bulk it out a tiny bit with just a little drizzle of soya milk over the top. Having fruit for breakfast suits me well because it’s filling enough to keep me happy until lunch but isn’t heavy enough to weigh me down for the rest of the morning and give me an unsettled belly, and it also ticks off a couple of my five-a-day straight off the bat, with even more added nutrition from the seeds.


LUNCH
I’ve taken to having bigger lunches at the weekends recently and experimenting a bit more and I’ve made some really nice things as a result. This is tofu scramble on a slice of seeded wholemeal toast, with a side salad of round lettuce, cucumber, radishes, green lentils and a quick tahini, extra virgin olive oil, soya and mint dressing. It looks like a lot, but lettuce takes up a lot of space on the plate! These lentils are great in salads with their fresher, slightly peppery taste and they really help to not only add a bit of extra protein to the meal (along with the tofu) but help to bulk out an otherwise very light salad to keep you fuller for longer. The dressing was a spur of the moment invention of mine a few weeks ago and it goes great with the radishes and cucumber in particular and helps turn an otherwise boring salad into something that seems creamy and luxurious but is still very low fat and light.


AFTERNOON SNACK
I am not about restricting yourself so if you feel hungry, then eat for crying out loud! One of the key changes I’ve made with my diet to live that little bit healthier is to just swap unhealthy snacks for something else and still otherwise eat when my body tells me to. Instead of snacking on crisps, crackers or having another slice of toast, I have some Ryvita instead which (although a bit salty) are generally better for you and are more filling than conventional savoury snacks. These are topped with Meridian peanut butter (for some more all-important vegan protein and because, hey, peanut butter is awesome), and I also had a few fresh strawberries on the side too.


DINNER
Dinner looks small compared to my lunch, but there’s very nearly a whole tin of chickpeas in this baby. The above is a quick chickpea and coconut curry, flavoured with cumin seeds, turmeric, ginger and coriander and with some peas and a little bit of spinach added for some extra veggies. I love how chickpeas turn soft and just melt in the mouth after cooking them for a while, and although I wouldn’t normally think to put them in something with coconut in, the flavours pair really well in this. I don’t always have rice with these kinds of curries just because I find that the chickpeas fill me up enough without it, but we also didn’t have any nice rice in anyway, so there’s also that… In any case this is really simple, only takes about 30 minutes to make, and is still not only flavoursome but good for you, too.


DESSERT
If someone tells you that you can’t have dessert because you’re trying to eat healthier, tell them to suck it. I found a few recipes online that I was really intrigued by, so I made this Mexican chocolate sweet potato pudding out of, yes, sweet potatoes. I substituted the sugar in the recipe for agave just because I don’t have coconut sugar, but this is otherwise fat free, sugar free and one of your five-a-day because it’s basically 90% sweet potato! You can tell that it’s not normal chocolate pudding, so if I ever want something richer and more luxurious I think I’ll try melting some dark chocolate and maybe a bit of vegan butter in there too and see how that is, but it’s otherwise sweet, chocolatey and contains all of the vitamins, iron and other goodness of sweet potato. Sweet potatoes in general are really versatile; they can be used for a lot of vegan desserts to sneak another vegetable into your daily meals and allow you to indulge in sweet treats more regularly without having to worry about it being unhealthy. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a not-so-healthy dessert when you fancy one and there is zero shame in eating things you simply enjoy regardless of whether or not they’re good for you. We only live once, so don’t deny yourself!

And that’s everything I ate for one healthy living Sunday!  I hope this gave you a bit of inspiration for some meals of your own and another little insight into what I’ve been eating lately. If you liked this post you might also like to check out my previous post on the vegan meals I ate in an average week.