Working 40 hours per week leaves little time to prepare – let alone eat – food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And ensure that the food is healthy, inexpensive, and easy to prepare? This is quite the task. I’m here to share how I spend my eating hours during the time-crunched work week.
Breakfast: Smoothies, smoothies, smoothies. The ingredients always contain a mixture of: 1) A milk (almond, soy, kefir)
2) Frozen fruit (berry blend, bananas, peaches)
3) A nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew)
I use my Magic-Bullet smoothie maker and in 1-2 minutes, my breakfast is complete. Once it’s blended, I pour the contents into a reusable bottle and toss it in my bag to drink on the subway. Each smoothie costs me less than $2.00 and contains enough vitamins, nutrients, and protein to keep me energized throughout the morning hours. My favorite combination is soy milk, frozen bananas, and peanut butter.
Lunch and Dinner: Stews, Soups, Chilis
On Sunday night, I dedicate 2 hours to preparation and cooking time. This might seem like a lot but it is the only time I spend preparing food during the entire week. This one-shot cooking session provides more than enough food for lunch and dinner (7-8 meals) – and, of course, snacks.
Each of my stove’s four burners houses a big pot. In one, there’s chili and in another there’s lentil stew. I vary these two recipes a little bit each week, but always make sure to include lots of vegetables and protein. In a third pot, water is boiling preparing for the arrival of 12 organic, cage-free eggs. In the final pot, I’m making a quick dinner for myself – and my friends, boyfriend, roommates or whoever else is around that night.
Pot #1: Lentil Stew
Ingredients: 1 bag red lentils, 3 sliced onions, 1 box low-sodium vegetable stalk, 6-8 diced carrots, 2 chopped large leeks, 2-3 teaspoons yellow curry powder, salt/pepper to taste, 1 bay leaf. Directions: Put all ingredients into pot. Fill pot with water to ensure everything is covered. Cook for 1.5-2 hours (first on high, then simmering on low).
Pot #2: Chili Ingredients: 1 package lean ground meat (I use Grow & Behold), 1 sliced onion, 1 sliced jalapeno pepper, 2 sliced green peppers, 1 large jar of low sodium tomato sauce, 1 can washed black beans, 3-5 large swiss chard leaves, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1-2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, salt/pepper to taste. Directions: In large pot, sauté onion, green peppers, and jalapeno pepper. Once translucent, add meat and greens and sauté mixture for 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients and simmer on low for 1 hour.
Pot #3: Twelve hardboiled eggs. Boil for 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the covered pot for 15 minutes, remove from water, and run eggs under cold water. That’s it!
Pot #4: Dinner! How can you cook all of this delicious food without eating anything in the moment? I make sure to make something quick, easy, and hearty for the last pot. Common dishes include: 1) A box of Trader Joes butternut squash soup mixed with sliced Grow & Behold chorizo sausages.
2) A box of Trader Joes low sodium Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup mixed with kale and black beans.
3) 1 box cut up extra-firm tofu, ½ bag frozen broccoli, 1 sliced onion, 1 sliced red pepper, and soy sauce, garlic, and honey sauce – all sautéed together in a large pan.
This may seem like a lot of preparation but it only takes me about 25 minutes to wash and slice all of the vegetables. I use the remaining time to cook the food. Once I finish cooking, I package each dish in reusable glass or plastic containers and neatly stack them in my refrigerator. I set aside five for lunch and then take one out at the end of each day for dinner.
My morning kitchen ritual? No more planning meals or grocery shopping during the busy week. I spend 2 minutes preparing my smoothie and then grab one container of prepared food and 2-3 hardboiled eggs and place everything in my lunch bag, Then it’s time for the subway where I read the New York Times and drink my protein smoothie as I head to the Hazon office to begin a great day at work.
Jessie Lipsitt works in the Institutional Advancement department at Hazon. She loves creating and cooking new recipes – especially dishes that are easy and healthy. In her spare time, Jessie enjoys throwing pottery, staffing Birthright trips to Israel, and traveling to new places.