I used to follow OMAD and have only one meal a day in the evening. But ever since changing companies, I get access to my new company’s canteen that has subsidized food, which is quite varied, healthy and always has 2 vegan options. Thus I’ve started to have lunch there every weekday. Occasionally I may go out to eat on weekends but on weekdays I always eat at home and it is always the same meal. Here’s why I do it:
1. Saves time
After trying a few different healthy dishes. I’ve found that this is the quickest yet tasty and satiating. I boil water in a kettle and pour it into a bowl of couscous. The couscous takes 10 minutes to cook, and while this is cooking, I pop some vegan sausages that are made out of seitan in the oven. Both of these items finish cooking the same time. Once the couscous is cooked, I mix it with a few spoons of a jar of mixed spices paste, add some hummus, cherry tomatoes, pre-washed baby spinach and eat it with the seitan sausages. The whole process takes me under 15 minutes and there is barely any time needed for clean up after. Which brings us to the next point:
2. Saves effort
Since the couscous just requires boiled water, and the sausages cook in the oven under a sheet of aluminium, there are no cooking utensils that I have to clean after eating. And since I don’t have to cut up the cherry tomatoes and baby spinach, I save up on effort there too. The only things I have to clean are the bowl and spoon I eat the food with. Ever wonder why shopkeepers keep all the junk in supermarkets near the cash register? That’s because you have limited willpower. After 20–30 minutes of budgeted grocery shopping, it is quite easy for some people to give into impulses and buy tabloid magazines, chocolate or Schnapps. We have limited will power throughout any day, and I don’t want to waste it on things that are not bringing me value (i.e. cooking and cleaning). I would rather save all this energy and and spend it working on my side hustle.
3. No need to count calories
It took me approximately 9 months to reach a body fat percentage that I am happy with. I don’t want to jeopardize this progress. The easiest way for me to maintain this body fat percentage level is to measure once and eat infinite times. I know exactly how many calories this meal has and they’re not much! It is a very filling meal and it only costs me 600 calories. These 600 calories are just the right amount of calories I need after working out in the morning and having a large lunch at work. Obviously, since we all have different metabolisms and routines, your number will most likely differ. But having such a consistent formula for me makes things very simple. A quote by Dr Phil McGraw puts this very well:
“Successful weight loss takes programming, not willpower.”
4. It makes budgeting easy
These are the costs of the ingredients:
Couscous (75g): €0.30
6 Seitan sausages: €2.80
Handful of cherry tomatoes: €0.50
Half a bag of pre-washed baby spinach: €0.50
Quarter jar of mixed spices paste: €0.50
1 large glass of light/low calorie soya milk: €0.50
This is definitely very cheap for a dinner, while not being so cheap that I’m depriving my body of nutrients. To know about how I decide where to splurge money and where to save, read “Developing a healthy relationship with saving”.
5. I’m always in stock!
Since I know exactly what I have to eat, and since most of these products can be refrigerated for 2 days at least, I am always in stock and I don’t have to wander around aimlessly in the supermarket trying to think about what to eat for dinner that night before making impulse decisions and ending up eating a super-fatty, microwaveable vegan mac n’ cheese.
6. It’s super healthy!
This meal is packed with plant protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin B12 (because of fortified soya milk) which vegans are often deficient of. Eating this meal ensures I get everything I need, so why change?
Please note that this article is not meant to be about dietary advice. You can and should change this meal to suit your dietary preferences and needs. I am simply explaining why I eat the same meal to save time, save effort, count calories without counting them every day and fulfil the nutritional needs of my body.
You may have noticed this is quite protein heavy, this is because my lunch is focused on stuff that I can’t be bothered to cook at home and get it from the company canteen. Things like a large portion of mixed sautéd vegetables usually with rice or pasta. Cooking such a plate at home would include washing, cutting, steaming then sautéing these vegetables, then cleaning the cutting board and different utensils after eating. Since I get my daily bulk of nutrients and carbohydrates from the lunch, I focus on getting enough protein at night for dinner (I do obviously eat a well balanced diet of all macro and micro nutrients and not just focus on protein!). I also keep fruits in my fridge and snack on them every now and then, when I feel like I need them.
I’ve been eating this meal for the past 2 weeks (except for weekends) and right now I am quite happy with it. If I get bored in the future, I will try to find an alternative. Perhaps in the future, if I have more time, I can design myself more of these meals that are equally healthy but when you’re as lazy and time stingy as me, it makes things quite hard!