How to Meal Prep a Week’s Worth of Not-Boring Lunches in Two Hours | Healthyish

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This story is part of the 2019 Feel Good Food Plan, our two-week mind-body-belly plan for starting the year off right.

This year’s Feel Good Food Plan lunch strategy is all about doing more with less. This weekend you’ll make three big-batch recipes (Chickpeas! Roasted vegetables! Eggs!) and two flavor-packed sauces. Grab some fresh greens at the store, and you’re set for a week of never-boring lunches. Here’s how it all comes together:

Cooked chickpeas are the anchor of this plan; you’ll turn them into a week’s worth of soups, salads, and creamy hummus. Before all that can happen, though, you’ll want to soak 1 pound of dried chickpeas overnight to cut down on tomorrow’s cook time. (If you’re using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, there’s no need to soak.) The next day, when you’re ready to meal prep, start with the chickpea recipe below. Luckily the hands-off cooking method, inspired by Mina Stone, makes it easy to prepare everything else while you wait.

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This hands-off method was inspired by Mina Stone, author of Cooking for Artists, who swears by adding lemon zest and olive oil for brightness and full-on flavor. We wholeheartedly agree!

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If you’re using an Instant Pot, combine the chickpeas with 8 cups of water and cook for 33 minutes on high pressure. After the beans are cooked, use a manual pressure release.

While the chickpeas are simmering, you’ll tackle the roasted vegetables. Use sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, onions—whatever you’re going to want to eat this week. Just make sure to chop them into relatively equal sizes so they cook at the same time.

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Roasted vegetables are the perfect, hands-off way to prep healthyish lunches for the week. Use asparagus, brussels sprouts, onions—whatever vegetables you’re craving.

SEE RECIPE

While the roasted vegetables and chickpeas are going, cook any hard-boiled (or soft-boiled) eggs you’d like to eat this week. You’ll use around six eggs throughout the week, but add in a few more if you’d like to prep for breakfast too.

For hard-boiled eggs, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower eggs into the water one at a time. Once the water comes back to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let cool until just slightly warm, about two minutes. Gently crack eggs all over and peel, starting from the wider end, where there’s a handy air pocket

Finally, take a few minutes to prep two essential super sauces that will liven up the simplest middle-of-the-week lunch. We suggest a creamy tahini-ranch and a just-basic-enough shallot vinaigrette, but choose any dips or dressings that call to you from this list.

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We would never ask you to use your blender if it didn’t make a smoother and better dressing. The effort is worth it; you’ll have enough sauce to get you through a week of lunches.

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This is a great excuse to treat yourself to some seriously delicious vinegar—check out this list of our favorites.

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Finally, creamy hummus is an excellent base for roasted vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and any raw vegetables you have on hand. Plus, it can be prepped up to five days in advance. Make the hummus by blending 1.5 cups drained chickpeas with the juice of 1 large lemon, 1 garlic clove, ½ cup tahini, ¾ tsp. salt, 10 cracks pepper, ¼ tsp. cumin, and 2 Tbsp. water. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Two hours later, everything you need for a week of great lunches is at your disposal. (If you’d like to save some of the chickpeas for another week, submerge them in their cooking liquid and freeze. When you’re ready to eat them, reheat the chickpeas and liquid in a saucepan with a splash of water.)

Monday through Friday, you’re just a few steps away from any of the lunches below.

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Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Sue Li, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski

Lunch idea 1: Easy Mezze Plate

If you haven’t prepped your hummus, follow the above instructions. Once it’s made, all that’s left to do is assemble. Snip some tender stemmed cilantro or mint, halve a hard boiled egg, and crumble up some feta. Place the toppings onto the hummus with some of your meal-prepped roasted vegetables, then freshen it up at lunchtime with a lemon wedge or drizzle of olive oil.

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Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Sue Li, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski

Lunch idea 2: Chickpea Salad with Bitter Greens

Radicchio is wonderfully bitter and crunchy, and makes a hardy base for cooked chickpeas, eggs, and any vegetables you have on hand. Those meal-prepped chickpeas and eggs are the only cooked components you need, so all that’s left to do is a bit of quick assembly. Prep any sturdy green, slice a few Persian cucumbers, chop up your favorite herbs, and halve two hard-boiled eggs. Put down a layer of radicchio or any green you fancy, then scatter your toppings on top and finish with a generous drizzle of tahini ranch (or another dressing) and a few cranks of black pepper.

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Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Sue Li, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski

Lunch idea 3: Smashed Chickpea Sandwich

Tuna salad goes vegetarian with this creamy, crunchy chickpea sandwich recipe. Crush a generous scoop of drained chickpeas with the back of a spoon, then add yogurt, olive oil, or tahini ranch for creaminess and heft. Mix in chopped celery, capers, or pepperoncini, then layer with thinly sliced vegetables and lettuce on whole grain bread. Wrap your sandwich tightly with butcher paper or parchment paper to keep stray chickpeas from falling out.

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Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Sue Li, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski

Lunch idea 4: Brothy Chickpea Soup

This soup is made by doctoring up the delicious brothy, super flavorful chickpea cooking liquid with two teaspoons of white miso. Place chickpeas and their liquid in a small saucepan, drop in chunks of roasted sweet potato or other roasted vegetables (which you already meal-prepped!), and gently heat. Tear and add sturdy greens like kale or collards for additional heft. Add a thinly sliced egg once it’s all hot, and a dash of hot sauce or chile crisp. If you’re working with a microwave, thin the miso with a splash of chickpea liquid before adding the rest of the chickpea mixture, then add vegetables and heat. Add the egg hot sauce once the soup is hot.

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Students at Edmonton school get into Christmas spirit by making lunches for city’s homeless – Edmonton

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Even as the school term winds down ahead of Christmas, students at St. Bernadette School in Edmonton’s Beverly neighbourhood were beyond busy on Tuesday.

The students weren’t learning through books, but rather through benefaction, however.

Most of the Catholic school’s 220 students were busy preparing 500 lunches to be delivered to homeless Edmontonians who could use a meal.

READ MORE: Boyle Street Community Services launches #ThatsBS campaign to draw attention to poverty in Edmonton

Students packed lunch bags containing sandwiches, cookies and mandarins that will later be distributed to several shelters in the heart of the city. Tuesday’s initiative was associated with Santa YEG, a push to help impoverished Edmontonians. It held an event last month, which inspired a St. Bernadette School teacher to involve her students.

Most of the 220 students at St. Bernadette School in Edmonton’s Beverly neighbourhood were busy on Tuesday, preparing 500 lunches to be delivered to homeless Edmontonians who could use a meal.

Albert Delitala/ Global News

“We would hope that after experiencing this today, they can feel really good about going into Christmas feeling like they’ve actually done something for somebody else — shared some kindness, compassion sent messages of love through their cards and care packages,” Lisa Mullen-LaBossiere said. “Some of the kids will also be handing out the meals.”

Yardstick Testing and Training, an Edmonton-based company, paid for a significant portion of the meals assembled on Monday.

–With files from Global News’ Albert Delitala

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Teacher Strike Eats: ‘Strike Tacos,’ Delivery Pizza, and Bagged Lunches Fuel a West Virginia Walkout | Healthyish

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Earlier this year, teachers across the state of West Virginia left their classrooms and went to the State Capitol Building to demand better wages and healthcare for all public employees. After nine days standing and holding signs on highways in bitter February weather, the teachers won a five-percent pay increase from the state legislators. Jessica Salfia, a public school teacher at Spring Mills High School in Berkley County, West Virginia, says that she and the teachers couldn’t have kept going without the steady arrival of gift packages, pizzas, and what became known lovingly as “strike tacos” from supporters locally and across the country.

Since the West Virginia teachers returned to their classrooms, similar statewide strikes have happened in Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Salfia has been a public educator for 15 years and is one of the editors of 55 Strong: Inside the West Virginia Teachers Strike, an oral history of the strike published by Belt Publishing. Here Salfia talks about how the West Virginia teachers’ strike was fed. – Brooke Shuman

That first night of the strike, my friend and I drove to Charleston, West Virginia and spent the first two days at the Capitol, lobbying. That was exciting. I learned a lot about what legislators know and don’t know about the struggle of the public educator. I learned a lot about how legislation works, which the whole public needs to take a course in because I think we’d get a lot more done if we all were as engaged as the West Virginia Public Employees were then. I’ve never been more inspired by my fellow West Virginians, by my fellow teachers. I don’t know if I’ll ever see anything like it again.

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Salfia

A sign at the West Virginia teachers’ strike.

A lot of legislators, when it looked like we were for-sure going to be walking out, began using lunch and food as a weapon to vilify educators. They said, ”If teachers leave their classrooms, kids aren’t going to eat.” Our local delegate published an op-ed in the Berkeley County paper leading up to the strike that said, « Teachers are threatening to strike against our students, » which was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. ​People don’t realize that, in schools every day, teachers are feeding kids that need fed. They’re putting clothes on the backs of kids who need clothes. They’re going on home visits. They’re buying school supplies for kids who don’t have it. So if we’re not gonna take care of our teachers, then those kids are not gonna get taken care of.

Local school boards issued ads in the paper and sent out emails saying they would accept food donations. Then teachers converged on those locations to pack a grab-and-go-style lunch. They had such an overwhelming response to the first couple calls for donated food. It was all day on the picket line and then an evening of lunch packing somewhere. The packing of the lunches was first an act of love but also an act of strategy because it sent a clear message to both the public and the legislators that this was not about leaving our students behind.

Those first days, there was a line that wrapped out across the Capitol grounds and you had security walking down the line saying, « You’re at two hours. You’re at three hours, » to get in. So once you got in you didn’t want to get back out. You didn’t want to leave because maintaining presence in the Capitol was so important to keeping pressure on legislators, and so those pizzas, that food that got delivered to the Capitol, was critical to keeping teachers present and keeping pressure on the legislation. I would say there were hundreds of pizzas delivered from all over the country to the picket line. I know pizzas got delivered from California, from Wisconsin, from neighboring states. I think I cried every day over food. I have never seen support in the form of food in such a way.

We were right outside this little Mexican restaurant called Cinco de Mayo; it’s in the strip mall, and someone stopped by, a parent, and went in and purchased like $200 worth of tacos. They’re so good. And so here comes the guy who owns Cinco de Mayo out with these giant pans and you could just hear this hush come over the crowd, like, « Are those strike tacos? » Another day these two teachers from Michigan took the time to ship a six-pack of beer with a sweet little note inside of it that just said, « Hey, you guys are crushing it. Stay strong, keep going.”

And just the knowledge that so many teachers, not just in West Virginia but all over the country, were watching our fight for respect and for healthcare—it was just so important to see that recognition come in the form of food. And I mean, it was cold. It rained really hard. It spit snow. The weather was not good. And that’s something that made that food that people brought over so special, because when you’re cold and tired and someone shows up with hot coffee and hot soup … that is love in its most pure form, in my opinion.

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