Are you a terminally lazy cook? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Plant-based eating is incredible in that it offers many benefits of developing healthy relationships with food and a deeper appreciation for spending more time in the kitchen. Plant-based eating can also require more time planning meals and more thought into getting proper nutrients. With this said, sometimes we all feel inevitably lazy and don’t want to spend our whole evening in the kitchen. Whether we are busy bees or just don’t enjoy cooking, sometimes a fast, cheap and easy meal is all we need. With laziness comes the desire for convenience, but have no fear, making vegan meals convenient and trouble-free is completely possible.
Complete proteins. Proteins are made up of amino acid building blocks, which are used to repair muscle tissue and build new proteins. A complete protein is one that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids the body needs (English, 2015). Lacto-ovo vegetarians can get all of these amino acids from eggs. It has been found that eating a variety of plant proteins can provide all the essential amino acids and thus providing ample protein for the body. For example: having rice with lunch and then beans with dinner will result in consumption of all the essential amino acids. Additionally, many plant foods provide all of the essential aminos acids including quinoa, chia seeds,beans, and buckwheat (American Dietary Association, 2009).
Other good vegetarian snacks include roasted chickpeas, baked kale chips, sliced vegetables with a couple tablespoons of hummus, energy bars, or a piece of fruit with peanut butter. Adding nut butters, seeds, nuts, cheese, or beans to a snack is a good way to get additional protein. For more snack ideas, see the recipes and snack recommendations below.
Skip the typical pasta and sauce and make some super Easy Peanut Noodles. You’ll most likely have all the ingredients you need on hand. Peanut noodles taste divine, make fantastic leftovers and are superbly filling. For any peanut butter lover like myself, peanut noodles make an outstanding savory meal and they’re high in protein! Try these Noodles With Peanut-Miso Sauce and feel free to swap out the kelp noodles for noodles of your choice. For the lazy cook, make a large batch of Zucchini Noodles and use them sporadically throughout the week. These raw noodles would taste fresh and zesty with a peanut sauce. For the sauce, make sure to add miso to it as this will provide luxurious tastes and that umami flavor we all crave.
For a savory snack under 60 calories, spread 1 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese onto a slice of smoked salmon (lox) and roll it up. This salmon pinwheel is high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, though the salt used to cure the salmon boosts the sodium content. Use a little less cream cheese and you can have two pinwheels for under 100 calories.
Quesadillas without cheese may seem like a contradiction in terms, but they are indeed a thing in Mexico—and, more to the point, they can be delicious. Here, we mix mashed leftover sweet potato with cilantro, scallions, and pickled jalapeños (though you can sub whatever other quesadilla fillings strike your fancy); spread it over half of a flour tortilla; fold it; and cook it in plenty of oil, just as we recommend in our basic quesadilla guide.
If you're looking for a creative way to add more fruit to your diet, try frozen banana pops. Slice several peeled bananas in half and insert popsicle sticks. Coat each half with an ounce of low-fat plain yogurt. Put the pops in the freezer, and soon you'll have ready-to-eat low-calorie treats. At just under 80 calories a pop, this is a snack you can feel good about.
Fat cells fear fruit—especially watermelon. At less than 50 calories per cup and 90 percent water by weight, the summer staple is almost impossible to eat too much of. What's more, noshing on the juicy fruit has been shown to increase blood levels of L-arginine, an amino acid that's kryptonite for belly fat. One group of women who supplemented with L-arginine dropped an average of 6.5 pounds and two inches from their waists in just 12 weeks, according to a recent study. Add the fruit to your weekly lineup to reap the benefits, or pair it with one of these other best fruits for fat loss for a more filling snack.
Can’t get enough fall flavors in your life? You’ll dig these bite sized treats. (Plus, did you know pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A?) Cranberries add a dash of tart and fruity flavor to the mix. And because these muffins are made with Greek yogurt instead of butter, each mini muffin contains just three grams of fat. Photo and recipe: Emily Miller / Life by Daily Burn
If you’re craving chips and dip but don’t want to compromise your healthy diet, reach of some buckwheat crackers with herby edamame dip instead. Both buckwheat groats and edamame are packed with protein, making them an ideal option to help ward off hunger. Buckwheat groats also filled with nutrients like zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium. Plus this dip is so creamy and flavorful, you’ll likely forget that it’s actually healthy.
For this saucy Korean-style cauliflower snack, you can toss the golden-brown nuggets in either a sweet soy-garlic sauce or a sweet-and-spicy chili sauce, depending on your taste. The cauliflower florets' thin, shatteringly crisp crust is thanks to the same cornstarch, flour, and vodka batter we use for our Korean fried chicken—it's perfect for soaking up either sauce. We add sesame seeds and coconut flakes to the batter to give it a nice nuttiness and extra crunch. Leave out those ingredients, and your fried cauliflower is great for serving Buffalo-style.
It's as simple a snack recipe as can be, but unusually satisfying: For a twist on plain homemade popcorn, try drizzling it with olive oil and sprinkling it with za'atar, the heady Middle Eastern spice blend of oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, and tart sumac. You can check out all our popcorn flavors here, including Thai coconut curry, miso soup, and roast chicken dinner; those three are vegan if you swap out the butter.
Sizzle up a slice of this breakfast favorite for a savory protein boost—so long as you think you can cut yourself off after a slice or two. Recent research has found that processed meats, such as hot dogs and bacon, are carcinogenic to humans, however eating the stuff in moderation isn't a major risk, say diet experts. The more you eat, the higher your risk of disease.
One of the most common misconceptions about eating plant-based/vegan is that it takes forever to prepare a good meal. Or that it’s all about frozen meals/entrees. While frozen vegan food is awesome (Amy’s non-dairy mac and cheese is life), it’s not healthy to rely on packaged vegan food all the time. There’s plenty of lazy vegan meals that can be made at home with simple ingredients (and cheap)! Here’s a large compilation of (90+!) vegan meal and snack ideas that take little to no time to prepare.