So we’re halfway through our office vegan-January challenge, and still no cheese in sight! I think one thing we’ve realised is that it hasn’t been as hard as we thought it might be. With so many vegan alternatives for almost every product, breakfast, lunch, and dinner really don’t look that different. Emma and I are going to give you a quick rundown of some of our favourite meals and snacks that we’ve been munching on for the past couple of weeks.
Breakfast can be tricky as you’re running out the door (trying to get to work on time), but here are some quick delicious recipe ideas.
Helen: Granola, soy yogurt, some type of fruit (often blueberries), topped with pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds is both a delicious and healthy start to the morning, with the seeds providing fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Emma: Overnight oats with chopped pear, almonds and chia seeds, providing more of those aforementioned health benefits / or /peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if in a rush!
For lunch, something transportable is often key if you’re making it at home to take to work. Or maybe it’s the weekend and you have the luxury of eating at home, here are some ideas for both situations.
Helen: Pitta bread stuffed with hummus, chipotle sauce, black pepper and lettuce (often x2 because I get very hungry at work)!
Emma: Beans on toast with chili oil (instead of butter/spread) and black pepper to finish. Beans are particularly high in fibre so it’s beneficial to include them in some meals.
Now onto the main event… dinner time! You’ve waited all day, so make sure it’s something that’ll keep you from hunger, and maybe accidentally starting on those pesky midnight snacks. Here’s a couple of tasty recipe ideas for you to try at home.
Helen: Wheat noodles (often easily found in Asian supermarkets), mixed with a Japanese style curry sauce (Golden Curry one good option), poured over some soy sauce stir fried veg (I often use spring onion, red pepper, pak choi, and mushrooms). This, topped with optional sesame seeds, sriracha, and chopped fresh coriander makes a delicious ramen noodle dish, that holds a sneaky 4 out of your 5 a day recommended fruit and veg intake.
Emma: Butternut squash, sage and (Cauldron’s Mediterranean veg) sausage casserole, with lots of onions, tomatoes and chickpeas, served with mashed sweet potato is a favourite hearty winter warmer, as well as containing a multitude of vitamins, fibre, and protein.
But now, onto what we’ve all been waiting for… our favourite snacks! Particularly in the office, we can get peckish throughout the day and it’s nice to have options to keep us full and happy so that we (avoid becoming hangry and) can work at our best.
Helen: Vegan banana bread is a recipe (kindly provided by Emma) that I’ve recently had a go at making, and has been a big hit in the office to supplement our usual 11am coffee. Vegan butter, sugar, self-raising flour, bananas and any dairy-free milk all combine to make a delicious cake. Vegan chocolate chips are optional, although personally, we’d never opt to exclude them. Have a go, and see if it tastes as good as it looks (disclaimer: banana bread pictured is not mine, as it disappeared too quickly to get a good photo)!
Emma: Hummus chips are an office favourite for The Carbon Literacy Project team, and can often be found lurking on one of our desks. The Chili and Lemon variety is Emma’s go-to flavour and she can often be found popping over to Eighth Day to grab a bag. They are available in many smaller independent stores as well as some supermarkets, and we would definitely recommend giving them a try!
A quick reminder of why we’re doing Veganuary…
Animal agriculture is responsible for a myriad of environmental issues, such as climate change (methane from cows and CO2 from deforestation), freshwater overuse, water pollution (eutrophication) and air pollution (acidification). We hope that by cutting out meat and dairy (or cutting down if not ready to try a fully vegan diet), it will reduce our negative impact on the environment, as well minimising animal cruelty.
Furthermore, last May, the Guardian, along with other news outlets, reported on the ‘huge footprint of livestock – it provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland’. Considering the number of people in the world that go hungry every day, this seems like a tremendous misuse of land and resources. The more people that choose to eat an increasingly plant-based diet, moving away from less-sustainable meat and dairy, we will be able to more effectively, more sustainably, and more fairly grow the food required to feed all those on the planet.