How to Eat Healthy Even When You’re Super Busy + Whole Food Plant Based Couscous Breakfast Bowl
By Molly Patrick
Sep 1, 2015,
Eating consistently healthy can be hard, especially if you’re busy. And who the hell isn’t busy? Everyone is juggling at least 1567 different things, a couple of which are probably kids and a job or two.
This makes the juggling act really damn hard because who wants to drop their kids on their head? If I had kids I might make that mistake, which is why I’m not having kids. But that’s not the point.
The point is, you’re busy, and I’m willing to bet that for every stretch of time that you eat really healthy, there’s an equal stretch of time that you eat like crap.
You might go a week, or maybe two with being diligent about cooking in advance, planning out healthy meals and being on top of the healthy eating game. But then something happens.
You have a stressful day, you get into a fight with your partner, your kid is acting like an asshole, your boss is being extra douchey, or you got a really bad haircut.
It’s like you were sailing along on your baby blue Schwinn, all energized, happy and healthy, and all of a sudden the bully from down the street shoved a stick directly into your spokes and you went flying off your damn bike.
It’s times like these that you wake up to find yourself amongst empty pizza boxes and Twix wrappers. There’s part of a baguette stuck to the side of your face and a few mac and cheese noodles in your hair. To top it off, your breath smells like ice cream and pizza, which in theory doesn’t sound too bad, but in reality is smelly enough to offend even your cat.
You shake off your food coma and you’re ready to get back into the kale eating game. You go through another stretch of eating healthy, and then BAM, the fucking bully does it again.
The most common reason that people find themselves going back and forth between eating healthy and eating like crap is lack of preparation.
When you’re hungry, stressed, and doing a really damn good job just to get out of bed and deal with life, and there’s nothing healthy at arm’s reach to whip up in 10 minutes or less, all bets are off.
It’s convenience food city.
And you’re okay with that because in that moment, eating leafy greens isn’t your priority. Getting calories into your mouth so that your tummy stops rumbling is the only thing that’s important to you.
The fix for this is to make sure that you do weekly batch cooking.
Yeah, no shit.
But what if you didn’t get around to it this week? Are you destined to eat instant noodles, Taco Bell, pizza, and cereal all week long? Put down the fortune cookie. I have a better plan.
All you have to do is stock up on some key ingredients and you can get through the week without having ice cream / pizza breath. Here’s how.
Go to the grocery store and buy the following ingredients:
- Organic corn tortillas
- Sprouted bread
- Almond butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Canned refried black beans (make sure they don’t have lard)
- Hummus (choose the one with the fewest ingredients)
- Canned garbanzo beans
- Whole wheat couscous
- A couple of avocados
- Red onion
- Collard greens
From this list alone, along with a few staple items that you already have in your kitchen, you can make the following items in a hot second.
- Green smoothies
- Hummus, tomato, kale soft tacos with sunflower seeds
- Garbanzo mash (add to salads, in sandwiches and in corn tortillas)
- Bean, couscous and veggie soft tacos
- Couscous breakfast bowls (recipe below)
- Bean and veggie bowl
- Almond butter and berry sandwich
- Salad with veggies, hummus, sunflower seeds and lemon juice
- Veggie sandwich with sautéed tofu and avocado mayo
- Steamed collard greens over couscous and topped with sautéed mushrooms
- Salad with sautéed tofu and hummus
- Celery with almond butter
This food should last you into the weekend. Even if you have to eat convenience foods a couple times, it’s better than chalking up the whole week as a healthy food fail and eating like you don’t give a shit until your next batch cooking day.
Here’s a hearty breakfast recipe that takes 10 minutes to whip up. Don’t think about it, just do it.
- Cooked whole wheat couscous
- Non-dairy milk unsweetened
- Strawberries sliced
- Banana sliced
- Raw sunflower seeds
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Toasted Coconut
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Small drizzle of 100% pure maple syrup
- I'm not giving you measurements, because who am I to say how hungry you are? That said, here's what you need to know about the couscous part.
- If you cook just one cup of couscous, you'll have enough for at least four breakfast bowls. Cooking couscous is super easy. Here's how.
- Bring 2 cups of water (475ml) to a boil in a small pot.
- Add 1 cup of whole wheat couscous (180g), stir, turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, fluff with a fork, and bam, ready to go.
- After the couscous cools, put it into a container and store in your fridge. When you're ready to make your breakfast bowl, do the following:
- Place as much couscous as you're hungry for into a small pot, and add enough non-dairy milk until a consistency that you like is reached.
- Heat the couscous and milk and pour it into a bowl.
- Top with strawberries, banana, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut, cinnamon powder, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with being authentic, even amongst people who don’t get you.
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Please add me to your newsletter list. I’m thinking about taking the E-Cornell Plant Based Nutrition course – is it worth it or is a good cookbook just as good if all I’m trying to do is eat better?
Hey Becky –
I added you to our Saturday emails, and I emailed you about the Plant-Based Nutrition course. Let me know when you get it!
I found you because you left a comment on Danielle LaPorte’s Instagram a few days ago. And now I’ve joined your FB group, made a shopping list based on your recipe for today’s store run and fallen madly in love. Your voice is refreshing. Your clarity is irreverent. Your example is inspiring. I’m so grateful.
Looking forward to learning more from you on this healthy love journey.
I’m so happy we found each other.
Cheers to nourishing your gorgeous body.
I am so happy I found your blog!! I’m brandy-new (mm, brandy) to eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, and it’s refreshing to find someone REAL – thank you! Look forward to reading more!
Whoot – glad you found me!
Whoop whoop! Someone else who doesn’t wear undies!!
I thought I was the only one in the whole world who went commando but no, top bird at dirty girl does too and now I can tell everyone it’s ok cos you do it ? yay!
I think undies are so unnecessary! Not sure why anyone wears them:)
Anyway, I was eating a plant-based diet and loving it, BUT my eczema got REALLY bad and they told me my gut was messed up because of my diet and now I am an itchy mess. What is the quickest way to “fix” my gut??? HELP!!!
Hi Jennifer! I was with an old dear friend who doesn’t wear undies at an event a few years back and, oh my, he had a rather hilarious evening wearing white pants when something was spilled on them.
Sorry to hear that your eczema is flaring up. I, too, have dealt with eczema for 20 years but it has only decreased in severity and frequency with my switch to WFPB. The only time I’ve noticed flares these days are the season change to warm weather where I live and occasionally I notice small flare-ups with alcohol consumption which I’m able to manage with an over-the-counter non-steroidal cream. I wish I could help you more but we’re just not equipped to advise on medical issues. Your best bet is to talk to a dermatologist, possibly an allergist, and/or a registered dietitian that can look at your history and dietary pattern closely and guide you. Wishing you good luck in figuring out what is triggering the discomfort so you can get back to even keel! ~Karen
Love, Love, love this! And your news letter!!!
Wow, that’s really important tips for busy people who want to stay healthy and productive. I hope that you will continue sharing this type of content.