Here are some meals for vegetarians to throw together simply and easily as you go along your health journey. These are suggestions that can be modified, explored and play around with to suit your tastes, lifestyle and personal circumstances – remember to note down which meals worked for you in terms of taste, satisfaction, digestion and practicality as you go along. If you live with an eater of meat and/or fish, see the non-veggie 7 Day Meal Plan to see how you can eat together with least stress. Also see the article Healthy Vegetarianism in a Stressful Life to prioritise inclusions in your diet that are in less density in the plant kingdom and we use up quickly in the stress response.
Trust your intuition when you feel a food doesn’t agree with you and don’t eat. Most of all enjoy your food and take time to eat slowly and mindfully. You can discuss more individual needs in a consultation with Charlotte, especially if you experience bloating, headaches, fatigue or skin complaints with any of the choices.
Some starchy carbohydrate sources (grains, beans, potatoes) are mentioned below as optional as the ethos from The De-Stress Effect is based on hunter-gatherer (aka Stone Age, Paleo) principles that we have only been eating these foods for the last 10,000 years and so they are not part of the diet with which we evolved.
It is more difficult for vegetarians to avoid starchy carbohydrates for choice, bulk and food satisfaction so eat in more traditional or long and slow cooked forms wherever possible to reduce insulin reaction and inflammation that these foods can provoke.
- Include more vegetables than starchy carbs (grains, beans, potatoes) in your diet over a whole day
- You can explore cutting them out and replacing with vegetables to see how you feel
- For some cutting out entirely can see a reduction in energy, so best choices to add in are; sweet potatoes, rye bread (especially sourdough), brown Basmati rice, buckwheat, barley and quinoa.
- Try generally avoiding wheat for the period of your consultations to see how you feel and report back for discussion. You can do the same for dairy as it is also a modern and poorly tolerated food. At least reduce these, choosing Greek yoghurt (organic, plain, live such as Yeo Valley), goat’s and sheep’s milk and cheese where possible.
NB: there is more explanation and references in The De-Stress Effect by Charlotte Watts.
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with tomato and/or spinach and avocado, with optional rye toast or crackers
Lunch: For Monday-style convenience, option to bring in a portion of Sunday’s hearty stew in a thermos or heat at work. If buying out, either opt for salad and soup from the high street or buy tofu, feta, other goat’s cheese, nuts and seeds or falafel and add to a Greek salad and small bag of leaves from a supermarket.
Dinner: Easy stir-fry with broccoli, asparagus, carrots, leeks, onions and any other veg you fancy – flavour with garlic, ginger, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and Chinese five spice with protein part from pre-cooked beans, tofu or cashews.
Breakfast: Bircher muesli – soak oats, almonds and a sprinkling of golden linseed (especially if digestion needs support) overnight in half apple juice/ half water – serve with cinnamon and optional berries and full-fat live Greek yoghurt.
Lunch: Lay watercress, sliced tomatoes, avocado and beetroot grated or cooked and chopped on a plate and add a punnet of full-fat cottage cheese and chives or goat’s cheese, half a handful of walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil. Add optional balsamic vinegar if needed.
Dinner: heat up Sunday’s hearty stew and add optional full-fat, live yoghurt and fresh coriander to serve.
Breakfast: Grilled halloumi or Portobello mushroom and eggs with tomato and/or spinach and optional rye toast. Get out a portion of Sunday’s stew to defrost during the day.
Lunch: buy a hearty stew from the high street, defrosted from your freezer or from the chilled cabinet. Add extra fresh spinach leaves while heating; option to have with small portion brown rice, rye or granary bread.
Dinner: make a healthy Thai curry with tofu, plenty of veg like Monday’s stir-fry, good quality green Thai curry paste and a tin of coconut milk (for two) and add optional extra garlic, lemon grass, lime juice or leaves and fresh coriander to serve. Make enough for lunch tomorrow too. You can also order from a good Thai take-away if time is tricky.
Breakfast: Live, natural full-fat yoghurt with berries, mixed raw, unsalted nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, Brazils, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds) and cinnamon to sweeten – can have with a portion of oat soaked overnight in half apple juice/half water.
Lunch: either have last night’s Thai curry or any of the other lunch variations.
Dinner: Boiled/poached egg or nut burger with avocado, tomatoes, asparagus, spinach or any other salad combination – make double for breakfast tomorrow.
Breakfast: see last night’s dinner and sit down to your Friday feast!
Lunch: Pre-cooked or bought in bean salad or falafel and houmous with a salad of plum tomatoes with heaps of Cos salad leaves, balsamic vinegar, half an avocado, sliced and half a handful of sunflower seeds.
Dinner: If having a take away there is the option to omit starch eg have dhal instead of rice or have smaller portion at least – with curry or stir-fry with beans or tofu and with vegetable side order – avoid damaging MSG flavour enhancer.
Breakfast: big weekend breakfast buffet: any savoury choices you like of a Mediterranean flavour; halloumi, avocado, goat’s cheese, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, houmous, grilled artichokes, roasted cherry tomatoes with lots of salad veg (watercress, baby spinach, rocket etc) much like a Turkish breakfast – a feast to set your metabolism and appetite satisfaction for the day.
Lunch: Mix a few handfuls of watercress, half a chopped avocado, plenty of olives, nuts and seeds and cherry or sun-dried tomatoes. Dress with one tbsp extra virgin olive or flaxseed oil, some sea salt and a drizzle of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
Dinner: any dinner you have enjoyed in the week, with a small dark chocolate mousse for dessert if entertaining friends. If out for dinner, choose a starter with bitter tastes for good digestion (olives, radicchio, grapefruit) and opt for a main with extra veg instead some/any of bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. If drinking, choose quality over quantity – pay more for a better wine and drink less; quaffing rather than guzzling!
Breakfast: Healthy English breakfast – quality grilled vegetarian sausage, halloumi or nut burger, poached egg, grilled tomato, mushrooms, small portion baked beans, optional rye toast.
Lunch: vary the Sunday roast – hearty nut roast or the veggie option when out and heaps of big veg like cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, carrots etc. and treat yourself with one or two small roast potatoes, sweet potato or parsnips if you’d like.
Dinner: big,hearty stew with slow-cooked beans (ensure plenty garlic and onions) and greens – include plenty of big green leaves like kale and cavolo nero, plenty of calming celery and warming spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chilli. Slow cook during the day so it’s ready for when you come home from your afternoon outdoor activities for a cosy, relaxing Sunday evening. Make enough to freeze some portions for mid-week ease.
- Snack Options
In The De-Stress Effect, snacking is recommended kept to a minimum, with satisfying meals (particularly breakfast) providing the sustaining energy and metabolism that encourages optimal digestion, detoxification and a good relationship with food and freedom from the tyranny of cravings. However, it can be more stressful to not have a snack if the timing of your life or high energy output demands and you can discuss this with Charlotte, especially if a solution to avoiding cravings later on or making less healthy choices. Best options in those times of need are:
- Celery with some nut butter – the ultimate De-Stress food, celery calms the nervous system and the creamy taste of nut butter (we love the praline like taste of hazelnut) provides satisfaction from fats and more calming magnesium and vitamin B6
- Mixed raw, unsalted nuts – add a few dried sour cherries or blueberries for a sweet taste that helps regulate rather than upset blood sugar balance and therefore weight, energy and mood
- Treat option; dark choc covered Brazil nuts, dark chocolate has shown to help us cope with stress and the added protein and healthy fats in nuts keep any blood sugar spiking effects in check
- Fruit – fresh always better than juice for slow sugar release and full complement of soluble fibre.
See also: 7 Day Meal Plan for non-veggies