Are you tired of spending hours in the kitchen preparing meals? Do you wish to cut your cooking time without sacrificing taste or nutrition? Well, good news! You can shave off 20 minutes from your meal prep time with simple tips and tricks.
Cooking healthy meals doesn't have to be a daunting task that requires hours of preparation. In fact, with the right tools and techniques, you can whip up delicious, whole food plant-based meals in no time.
In this article, we'll debunk common myths about healthy cooking and share three practical tips to help you streamline your meal prep process. So grab your apron and prepare to save time while nourishing your body with wholesome, delicious food.
- Master healthy cooking techniques to effortlessly cut down cooking time by 20 minutes.
- Prep ingredients ahead of time and batch cook to streamline the cooking process.
- Incorporate simple swaps like using whole grain bread instead of white bread to reduce prep work.
- Utilize nut butters, plant-based curds and tofu, and healthy breads and spreads for quick and nutritious meals.
Cooking Whole Food Plant Based Meals - An Introduction
If you're looking to try out a whole food plant-based lifestyle, let me tell you, it's not just about salads and smoothies - there are plenty of delicious and satisfying healthier meals you can make in no time!
One great tip for cutting down your cooking time is to focus on the right ingredients, set your cooking equipment and dishes beforehand, and prepare wholesome plant-based meals.
Let's take baking for example; it's essential to set your oven for baking, baking tray, baking sheets, proper temperature and your food thermometer as well as the required ingredients ready so that you have to concentrate on baking time and baking temperature.
When you cook sambar, getting started with boiling water while chopping your veggies saves time in your cooking process. Preparing things beforehand applies to all foods and will help you cook your food at proper cooking temperature and within sufficient time, and be able to serve your food hot.
As a matter of fact, this is how experienced cooks get their meals done within a short time. Not only will this save you time in the kitchen or serving hot food on time, but it helps improve your overall health.
Plant-based meals are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals to reduce inflammation and lower your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes.
By incorporating these healthy plant-based meals into your diet regularly, you'll be well on your way to improving both your physical and mental health and reducing the time spent in the kitchen.
But before we dive too deep into how to prepare these meals quickly and easily, let's first bust some myths about cooking healthy whole food plant-based meals.
Busting Myths About Cooking Healthy Plant-Based Meals
You might have heard some myths that stop you from trying to cook healthy plant-based wholesome meals. You may have heard that plant-based meals take too much time to cook, it's hard, and the food is bland or tasteless.
Another myth is that you can't have different types of food on this diet. Lastly, some people think plant-based food is strange and don't taste good.
But these misconceptions couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, once you learn a few basic tips and tricks for cooking whole food plant-based meals, you'll wonder why you ever believed in these myths in the first place!
Myth 1 - It is time consuming
Despite the common myth surrounding plant-based meals, cooking doesn't have to be time-consuming. In fact, with some basic cooking techniques and simple meal ideas, you can cut your cooking time by up to 20 minutes!
One tip is to focus on quick-cooking vegetables like green beans, pumpkin, ash gourd, snake gourd, and spinach, which only take a few minutes to cook. Wash you leafy vegetables ahead of time and keep them ready for use. Another tip is to use pre-made ingredients like homemade ginger garlic paste, pre-made spice mix, or frozen veggies that save prep time.
Arm yourself with healthy plant-based condiments like nut butters, unfiltered dates syrup, nutritional yeast, vinegar, tomato paste, ginger garlic paste/powder, herbs and spices and spice mixes. These will help you cut your prep and cooking time while adding oomph to your dish. Unlike perishable foods, many of these condiments have a long shelf life or can be refrigerated.
Additionally, planning ahead can help save time in the kitchen. At the beginning of each week, take some time to formulate your meal plan and prep ingredients. This way, when it's time to cook, everything is ready for you, and you're not spending extra time mixing spices, chopping, or washing produce.
By implementing these tips, you can make healthy plant-based meals without sacrificing too much of your precious time in the kitchen..
Myth 2- It is difficult
Don't let the myth that plant-based cooking is difficult to discourage you from trying it out. It's easy to fall into a routine of relying on processed foods or takeout when busy. Still, with some creativity and simple ingredient swaps, you can whip up flavourful and satisfying meals in no time.
There are several cooking methods such as sautéing, roasting, boiling, steaming or baking. These methods ensure that you have tasty food, quickly and help retain its nutritional value.
While like anything new, there is a learning curve to healthy plant-based cooking, once you get used to the ingredients, you'll find that it's actually easier and less time consuming. Plant food items often are more flavourful, versatile and easier to cook than you think.
Myth 3 - It is boring and bland
Feeling like your taste buds are on vacation? Think again! Plant-based cooking is far from boring and bland - it's a world of mouth-watering flavors waiting to be explored. One of the interesting facts about food is that plants (spices) are the source of taste in most dishes!
Here are three ways to add flavor and excitement to your plant-based meals while cutting down on cooking time:
- Spice it up: Feel free to add some heat or bold spices to your dishes. Use garam masala, coriander powder, turmeric, cumin/jeera, chili powder, tamarind, a teaspoon pepper, or asafoetida for an extra kick. Don't forget to sample before cooking and adjust flavours to suit your taste buds. Something as simple of a pinch of salt may be all it takes to balance out the dish
- Get creative with herbs: Fresh herbs can be a game-changer when adding such vibrant complex flavor to your meals. Use basil in Italian dishes, coriander in Mexican cuisine, or dill for a refreshing twist.
- Experiment with different textures: Adding crunchy toppings like toasted nuts or seeds, crispy fried onions, or even croutons can elevate the dish and make it more satisfying.
Plant-based meals have revolutionized the culinary world by showcasing a vast array of vibrant and complex flavors. With innovative cooking techniques and a diverse range of plant-based ingredients, the possibilities for creating bold and exciting flavors are endless in the realm of plant-based cuisine.
All this while having high mineral, antioxidant and vitamin content. With healthy cooking methods, the amounts of vitamin that you retain in your food is significantly higher.
Myth 4 - You can't have variety
You might think sticking to a plant-based diet means sacrificing variety, but that couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, with so many different types of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, spices, and other whole food plant-based ingredients available, there are endless possibilities for creating healthy meals at home in the whole food plant-based way.
The health benefits are also abundant with such a wide variety of plant-based options. Whether you're in the mood for something savory or sweet, spicy or mild, there's always a whole food plant-based recipe out there that will satisfy your cravings.
One great way to add variety to your whole food plant-based diet is to experiment with different cuisines worldwide. For example, you could try making a stir-fry inspired by Chinese cuisine or a curry dish influenced by Indian flavors. You can create delicious and nutritious meals bursting with flavor with a few simple substitutions - using tofu instead of meat or swapping soy milk for heavy cream, nut butter for oil, etc. So don't be afraid to get creative in the kitchen and try new things - you might discover some new favorite dishes along the way!
Myth 5 - It is unfamiliar food
Trying new foods can be intimidating, mainly if you're used to cooking the same meals every week. However, while embracing whole food plant-based dishes, don't let the sound of it deceive you into thinking you are stepping into an unfamiliar world.
As a matter of fact, it's so easy to make your everyday meals and favorite dishes from Indian cuisines a lot healthier by just swapping out some ingredients with healthy alternatives, like a scoop of nut butter in place of a teaspoon of oil.
Sometimes change can be just as simple as swapping one or two ingredients and making your favorite dishes both healthier and tastier. Don't let the fear of the unknown keep you from trying something new and expanding your culinary horizons.
Incorporating healthy food techniques into your familiar foods doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. With some simple adjustments and healthy ingredient swaps to your cooking process, you can create wholesome meals or replicate the healthier versions of your favorite foods, or be creative and explore the unknown and try a whole different variety of healthy food options the whole food plant-based way.
Our Indian cuisine is so versatile and vegan-friendly that it's easy to make whole food plant-based versions by swapping one or two ingredients. Start by portioning out ingredients ahead of time and prepping them in advance so that everything is ready when it's time to cook. This will cut down on the amount of time you spend chopping vegetables or measuring spices during meal prep.
For example, you can make healthier versions of your favorite mouth-watering home-cooked meals such as Malai Kofta and Mango Vatha Kuzhambu by making simple steps by just swapping some ingredients with healthy alternatives! It's as simple as it sounds!
By stepping outside your comfort zone and experimenting with your favorite dishes while exploring different flavors and cuisines, you'll discover new favorites you never knew existed! Transitioning into planning healthy meals involves making small changes that can have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, heart health, and overall well-being.
Three Tips to Whip up a Quick & Delicious Meal
Looking for some quick and delicious meal ideas? Consider incorporating nut butter, plant-based curds, tofu, and healthy bread and spreads into your meals.
Nut butter is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. At the same time, plant-based curds and tofu provide a meatless alternative with plenty of protein. Healthy bread and spread options like whole grain bread and avocado spreads can add fiber and nutrients to any meal. Try these options for a tasty meal that's both quick and nutritious!
Stock up on some nut butter if you're in a time crunch. Nut butters are versatile and can be used as spreads on whole wheat bread or as an ingredient in vegan curd. They are also packed with protein and healthy fats that could satisfy you throughout the day. They are energy dense foods that keep you full for longer while also being healthy for you. By just swapping cooking oil with nut butter, you can be free of worries about your cholesterol levels.
To make your own nut butter, blend your favorite nuts (such as almonds, peanuts, or cashews) with a few cups of water in a food processor until they form a smooth paste. Spread this delicious nut butter on toast or use it to dip apple slices for an easy snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth without weighing you down.
It really helps to always have a stock of nut butter in your pantry. It's super versatile, and stocking up can save a ton of time while cooking. Ensure that the nut butter you buy has no additives like salt, sugar, honey, sweet syrups, or oil for the best health outcomes.
You can try making your own nut butter with our almond butter recipe, or you can save your time and effort by subscribing to Sampoorna Ahara's nut butter bundle and enjoying some delicious healthy nutty flavors!
Moving onto plant-based curds and tofu, these ingredients are not only quick to prepare but also rich in nutrients that promote good health.
Plant-based Curds & Tofu
Plant-based curds and tofu are excellent protein and essential nutrient sources, making them a fantastic addition to any vegan or vegetarian diet. With their versatility in the kitchen, you can use them in various dishes to add flavor and texture.
Here are three reasons why you should consider incorporating plant-based curds and tofu into your meals:
- They provide a healthy plant-based source of protein that is easy to digest.
- Plant-based curd is a convenient condiment to have handy that works well across a variety of dishes.
- Due to its binding properties, tofu can be used in baking recipes as an egg substitute.
With these benefits in mind, it's no surprise that plant-based curds and tofu have become increasingly popular among health-conscious individuals!
Being one of the rich sources of protein, half a cup of firm tofu offers 21.8 grams of protein. Whereas plant-based curds made with ingredients like almonds are rich in fiber. Every 100 grams of almonds have 12 grams of fiber.
Although you can try making your own plant-based curds, you can save time by opting for Sampoorna Ahara's Soy and Almond curd subscription and enjoy some creamy whole food plant-based curdy goodness!.
However, if you're looking for more ways to reduce cooking time while enjoying delicious meals, stay tuned for our next section on healthy bread & spreads!
Healthy Bread & Spreads
Indulge in the goodness of healthy bread and spreads that are perfect for your taste buds while providing essential nutrients to your body. Whole-grain bread is an excellent option for healthy bread as it contains more fiber than refined white bread.
Fibre helps keep you full and can aid in digestion. Additionally, whole-grain bread has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To save time and effort, you can use a whole variety of whole food plant-based bread from Sampoorna Ahara, like Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, Gluten-free Millet, and Almond Bread, and a variety of Sourdough Breads.
Regarding spreads, plant-based curds make for a delicious and nutritious option. They are made from fermented plant milk and contain probiotics that support gut health. Alternatively, you can choose nut butter like almond or peanut butter, which provides healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
These wholesome plant-based meals will satisfy your hunger and provide the necessary fuel for an active lifestyle. Incorporating these foods into your diet can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
Remember to give yourself time to learn and familiarize yourself with healthy cooking techniques so that you can enjoy making these dishes at home. By incorporating these simple tips into your routine, you'll be on track toward a healthier lifestyle with each bite.
By investing the time to learn healthy cooking techniques, you can easily prepare wholesome healthy plant-based meals that are both delicious and nutritious, even if you think you need to be more relaxed or skilled in the kitchen.
Taking the time to familiarize yourself with basic cooking methods such as steaming, roasting, and baking can help you save time in the long run. Not only do these methods allow you to cook multiple dishes at once, but they also preserve the nutritional quality of your ingredients.
Don't underestimate the power of simple swaps in reducing cooking time. For example, opting for whole-grain bread or whole-grain roti instead of white bread or maida boosts your fiber intake and requires less prep work since it doesn't need to be toasted or buttered.
By incorporating these tips into your meal prep routine on a regular basis, you'll be able to cut down on cooking time without sacrificing taste or nutrition.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common mistakes people make when trying to cook whole food plant-based meals?
Common mistakes when cooking whole food plant-based meals include:
- Not prepping ingredients beforehand.
- Season with salt as the main option for flavour
- Having high cooking temperature for vegetables and overcooking them
- Not understanding water content and using too much or too little
- Worrying over portion sizes.
The key is to plan ahead, use herbs and spices for flavor, check your heat source, and always cook on low or medium heat to avoid cooking in medium-high heat or high heat to ensure delicious and nutritious meals. On a side note, we highly recommend swapping salt with a healthy alternative such as miso paste.
Are there any specific kitchen tools or equipment that are essential for cooking healthy plant-based meals?
Invest in a good quality blender, food processor, and sharp knives to cook healthy plant-based meals. These tools can help you quickly chop vegetables and blend ingredients for sauces or smoothies. With the right equipment, cooking becomes more efficient and enjoyable.
How can I ensure that my plant-based meals are nutritionally balanced and meet my dietary needs?
To ensure your plant-based meals are nutritionally balanced, focus on incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein sources.
You can Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar and have a better clarity on nutrition and your dietary needs.
Can you recommend any resources or cookbooks for beginners looking to learn more about healthy plant-based cooking?
How can I make sure that I'm getting enough protein in my plant-based meals without relying on meat substitutes?
Want to ensure you get enough protein in your whole food plant-based meals without relying on meat substitutes? Incorporate foods like lentils, chickpeas, tofu, quinoa, and nuts into your dishes. Aim for a variety of sources to meet your daily needs.
Congratulations on taking the first steps towards cooking healthy whole food plant-based meals! Don't let myths about it being time-consuming hold you back. With a bit of planning and some handy tips, preparing quick and delicious meals can be a breeze.
Remember to give yourself time to learn and familiarize yourself with healthy cooking techniques. It may seem overwhelming at first but keep going. Practice makes perfect, and soon enough, you'll be whipping up nutritious meals in no time!
Also remember, a whole food plant-based diet is packed with all essential nutrients and antioxidants that keeps your blood pressure in check, reduces the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. It's worth your time and your health to make this much needed switch. Your body will thank you for doing so!
So go ahead, and try out these three tips to cut your cooking time by 20 minutes: use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker or an instant Pot for quick dishes like soups and stews; prep ingredients in advance so that they're ready to go when it's time to cook; and finally, utilize leftovers creatively for easy meal solutions throughout the week.
Before long, you'll be amazed at how much extra time you have in your day - so why not spend it doing something fun instead?
Remember: Rome wasn't built in a day - take small steps towards your healthy eating goal, and you'll have achieved it before you know it!
Congratulations! Now you have empowered yourself with effective ways to reduce your cook time and enjoy healthy whole food plant-based meals.
Looking for additional tools to help you make the switch towards a healthy whole food plant-based diet? We can help.
- Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar for a personalized medical consultation to prevent, treat and better manage lifestyle diseases through diet and lifestyle.
- Learn to cook delicious whole food plant based goodies and sign up for courses on health and wellness from the comfort of you home. Join our online courses from anywhere in the world.
- Get daily essentials to cook healthy meals at home.
- Stock up on delicious sweets and snacks that are sugar/jaggery-free, oil-free, maida-free and plant-based - Available Pan-India.