Imagine this: A 22 year old engineering graduate from Kamareddy, Telangana, lives in Yelahanka, Bengaluru and travels 1 hour one way to her office in Koramangala, the start-up capital of India. This is her first job, as part of her college placement. Given the hours she keeps at work, she is usually seen browsing food aggregator websites at precisely 12.30 every day. “What do I eat today” is her daily conundrum, much like “what do I watch today”. This is the plight of most professionals across the country.
Read this now and thank us later.
Here is a cheat sheet for meals that can be prepped in under 10 minutes. It’s your lucky day today, because these meals are not only quick, but will also cost you only a fraction of the amount it takes to order. Bonus point, they will not block your arteries because restaurants add a big blob of butter to reward you for your loyalty. While a 22 year old can survive on ordering in, at 32, your gut thinks differently.
Here’s how to make those satiating rice bowls:
-Prepare rice for the next few days. Here’s the thing, cooked rice when kept in the fridge, is higher on probiotics than freshly cooked rice.
-Paneer as a protein doesn't require much cooking time. Use it a few times a week. For the other days, chickpeas (canned or boiled at home) make a good option. For the non vegetarians - grill your chicken and store it in appropriate portions.
-Keep it varied with different condiments and sauces. Pesto, or a tomato sauce can also be made for the week. If you like Indian flavours, go for the ‘flame roasted tomato chutney’ or the ‘tomato thokku’ flavours as a sauce base.
-Steam the vegetables, sort them portion wise and keep them in the refrigerator. Sauteing them in the sauces mentioned above or just reheating them will be quick on a day-to-day basis. Zucchini, spinach, broccoli, carrot and beans are some easy to chop vegetables.
- Garnish it with a mix of seeds. A good example is a ‘everything but bagel’ seasoning which makes your meal even more nutritious and flavour dense.
Swap rice with millets or quinoa and make the above into a grain bowl if you are a weight-watcher.
Some mean wich tricks for you:
-Sourdough breads can hold more fillings, but if you don't like the crust, go for gluten free, focaccia or bread rolls for your sandwiches. Do you get the drift? Choosing a bread that will be a good canvas to the art you are about to create is an important first step. Slap on some butter and refrigerate the slices. This can help them from getting soggy.
-Find your sauce. While mint chutney is a a no brainer, go for one of the boutique brands (with less preservatives and toxic chemicals) and pick up different sauces like pesto, ragu, tzatziki, ranch, sriracha, relish, salsa, mustard and others that work for you.
-Keep a mix of greens in your pantry. Lettuce, arugula, kale or your good old baby spinach
-An egg sandwich scores high on satiety and fill while a vegetable sandwich checks your fibre quota of the day. Having boiled corn and paneer handy also takes your wich game up..
-Roll it up in a tortilla/ready to eat parantha if you please or layer it up as a salad if that floats your boat. Going grain free? Throw in a sweet potato (boiled or roasted) or avocado for a fill.
What we are not hearing anymore is an excuse. Now we understand that cooking at home requires grocery shopping and post work cleaning. Take a deep breath and release. We will tackle this the next time.