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I need to replace my standard chicken lunch–vegetarian lunch ideas?

Thursday, April 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

April
21
2016

Going vegetarian isn’t going to be a huge change from the foods I normally eat. In fact, lately Lisa and I have been eating vegetarian (and often vegan) dinners more often than not. I’ve found myself enjoying the vegetarian/vegan dinners we’ve been making as of late even more than the meat-based meals we used to always eat.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do for my vegetarian lunches.

For many years my standard lunch has been the same: a chicken breast, 1 cup (cooked) brown rice and either a salad or some steamed broccoli.

I've been eating this lunch for many years.

I’ve been eating this lunch for many years.

 

I find this meal is easy to prepare, healthy, satiating and I always enjoy it. Well, at least I used to. I’ve noticed that over the past couple of weeks I’ve not really been enjoying my chicken breast lunches very much. This is especially true when I’m eating cold chicken breasts. Because I grill six breasts at a time, eat one hot and then consume the rest cold, most of my lunches include cold chicken breasts. Yesterday I couldn’t even finish my lunch (the dogs were happy to assist me with that), and I’m not really looking forward to today’s cold breast.

So lunch is really the only meal I’m sort of scratching my head over when I go full vegetarian. I’m a creature of habit, and so I need to find a meal that I love enough to eat over and over. It needs fit all the requirements of my current lunch (easy to prepare, healthy, satiating and taste great).

I know a lot of you out there are vegetarians, vegans and “flexitarians”, so I thought some of you might have some great vegetarian lunch ideas. If you do, please comment!

John Stone Fitness Comments

31 Responses to “I need to replace my standard chicken lunch–vegetarian lunch ideas?”
  1. Usually for my lunches I’ll either do brown rice with black beans & veggies, quinoa with beans and veggies, acorn squash stuffed with mashed chickpeas, big baked sweet potato with kale (& optional mozerella or vegan cheese), baked white potato w/ broccoli (optional fat free cheddar or vegan cheese), or I’ll have bean & corn tacos with salsa. I make enough for the week & alternate meals weekly. I prefer to use dry beans, they take a while to cook but I think they taste better. Hope those lunch ideas help some 🙂

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  2. When I started trying to eat clean and test out some vegan recipes I found that veggie burgers/patties were the most satisfying replacement for eating a piece of meat like steak or chicken. My current fav is the Morning Star Black Bean Chipotle burgers but there are loads of others in the store.

    I never really liked any of the soy-based meat replacement options that I tried. I’ve come to the conclusion that switching to a vegetarian or vegan eating habit is a lifestyle change that you make for the long run. In this, you start getting yourself used to not having to eat meat and this is helped by not trying to eat vague impersonations of the real thing.

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    • That’s a great suggestion! When Lisa and I were vegetarians back in the 90s, we used to eat a lot of MSF products, and always enjoyed them. I’ll bet those products taste better than ever these days. I’m going to have Lisa pick up some of those Black Bean Chipotle burgers when she goes shopping this weekend. I know I’m going love those.

      What do you use for a bun (if you use one)? Anything on the side?

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      • If was trying to avoid the carbs and wanted the protein only I’d just go with the patty and dress it up with some spinach leaves, tomato slices, and may guilty favorite dill pickle chips. Mustard has surprisingly few calories so I tended to use this a lot. Of course, when I was putting in a lot of miles on my bike I’d eat plenty of carbs so I’d go with a whole wheat hamburger bun. Sweet potato fries are another guilty favorite 😀

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  3. While I just ate that exact same chicken meal for lunch (and do so almost every day), I’m going to vote for some kind of chili (which is usually my late afternoon meal)… I make mine with ground turkey, but you could use crumbled TVP (which is probably one of the few ways I could stomach that stuff). Black beans, diced tomatoes, chopped broccoli, chopped spinach, hot sauce. Easy to make in a big batch, and holds for several days in individual plasticware servings in the fridge.

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    • Excellent idea, Phil. I’ve always made chili in large batches (using 93% lean beef), and then freeze it into individual portions. It makes for a really good quick meal.

      Funny you should mention chili, too. Lisa and I had Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili for dinner last night (here’s the recipe), and we froze the leftovers as individual portions.

      That was our first time making that particular chili recipe. We both thought it was pretty good, but not great. I wouldn’t make it again.

      Your TVP suggestion got me thinking. Seitan, which we love, would be an excellent meat substitute. I could make my favorite chili recipe with that, all I’d need to do is sub the Seitan for the meat.

      Thanks!

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    • Up until these past couple of weeks I always liked to eat the chicken breasts cold. I have tried microwaving the chicken, but that made the breasts sort of rubbery, IMO. I’ve also tried heating the breasts up in the toaster oven (wrapped in foil), and that wasn’t too bad, although I felt they really dried out like that.

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  4. Quinoa pasta is now available (Ancient Harvest is one brand) with high protein and low glycemic index. They also make a bean and quinoa pasta. Top with some fresh vegetables and/or some veggie sausage and you are good to go!

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