June 02, 2014

What To Eat When You Have No Food Left in the House

Ok, so this scenario isn't really what to eat when you have absolutely no food in the house, but is more about what to eat when you are missing most of the major staples in your daily diet; you know, those times when you really needed to go grocery shopping yesterday. These are the days where you feel like you have no food, but there is always a way to make it work.

I had one of those days this weekend. J and I were rationing the last of our vegetables and I had no fresh fruit (except 4 strawberries) which is a major bummer because I thrive on fruit in the summers. Well, thank goodness for frozen fruit because that saved my day!

One great thing to do to avert having nothing to eat is to always have your pantry stocked with dry and canned goods. That way, you aren't tempted to run to the cornerstore and get through the day on corn chips and salsa, dark chocolate bars, or a gallon of orange juice - unless you live in New York City and have the luxury of filled-to-the-brim-with-healthy-vegan-food bodegas and fruit stalls everywhere. In which case, what are you reading this for? Go!

I always have a variety of grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, oats, buckwheat, and various varieties of rice (if you're a pasta person, you can stock up on pasta, too) as well as a selection of canned beans which can always be thrown together for a filling meal. Of course, if you're low on fresh produce and love veggies as much as I do, you're sure to miss them on your plate. But it's only one day, and sometimes a vegan's gotta do what a vegan's gotta do. I managed to gather enough ingredients to satisfy me throughout the day, but if I hadn't, I would've definitely cooked up some grains and beans for meals besides dinner.

Grains and beans are extremely affordable, even more so when you buy dried as opposed to canned beans, and can get anyone through a produce dry spell. Preparing for fruit shortages, on the other hand, could be a little more pricey depending on where you shop. Dried fruits, while low in water content, high in sugar, and fairly expensive, can provide many vitamins as well as energy, though it's not advised to subsist on an entire bag if you're low on fresh fruit. Sprinkling them on your food or adding a few tablespoons to a smoothie though is fair game. Frozen fruit is perfect for replacing fresh fruit, but can also run on the expensive side unless you're freezing them yourself. Even when I think I've stocked up fully on frozen fruit, I still feel like these lulls in fresh fruit completely wipe me out! But, as I said, do what you gotta do. Always go for the healthiest choice possible.

Mangoes freezing on baking sheets for smoothies and ice cream

Green powder can be a saving grace for me. I use Vitamineral Greens (love, love, love Healthforce Nutritionals!), but you can use any brand that you enjoy. In an ideal situation, we wouldn't need to rely on green powders - and please don't rely on them for an everyday source of greens! -, but they're perfect for providing my leafy green fix when I run out of the fresh stuff. Plus, it has a lot more nutritional goodness in it than just leafy greens.

Another great thing to have on hand is protein powder. Extra protein is not necessary, but it can help with satiation on days like these. My breakfast and lunch is usually a smoothie and salad. I get my protein from my greens in these cases (I use a lot of greens in my smoothies and my salads are ginormous), sometimes also opting for beans or tempeh on my salads. Of course, eating the grains and beans mentioned above will give you enough protein without using powders, but if you eat tons of raw foods in the summer like me, protein powder is a fine option, too. Plus, the one I use thickens up my smoothies so that they're creamier. I love the consistency!

If you have health issues, too, running low on food can be a problem, even when it seems to others that you have plenty. As I mentioned above, I thrive on fruit in the summers. And, while I've seen some health improvements since the beginning of this year, I still have a few kinks to work out. The number one thing that keeps me going is fruits and vegetables, and when I know what my current best feels like, I don't want to settle for anything less! Despite being so low on produce, I pulled together these cooling, energizing meals for myself, and my body loved me for it. I didn't feel a lag in energy during the day, which can happen when I'm not eating enough of the right stuff, and my food even kept me in a mellow mood. (It's true! Try keeping a food diary and tracking your moods after meals. You'll start to notice which foods are affecting you both negatively and positively!)

Here's what I ate:


Mango pudding made with frozen mango, my 4 remaining fresh strawberries, Vitamineral Greens, khadrawy dates, hemp seeds, and fresh ginger. 


Berry sorbet using frozen raspberries and strawberries, vanilla bean powder, coconut flakes, and 1 scoop of protein powder.


Our remaining produce stash (oh no!) was saved for our dinner salad. The dressing was a simple vinaigrette with dried basil and minced garlic clove.

I also made sweet potato fries in the oven and mexican spiced beans and rice.

What I did differently

Breakfast: It was pretty normal for me since I just substituted frozen fruit for fresh, but I used more dates than I usually do to bulk up the calories for the day. I was missing my mountain of fresh greens, and I sometimes like to throw a lemon and cucumber/celery/fresh herbs in there as well.

For lunch: I don't generally make smoothies. I may eat a big bowl of fresh fruit or top a salad with a bunch of fresh fruit. If I don't eat fruit, I usually add several slices of avocado to my meal. I'll have a rice wrap (which I was also out of) filled with vegetables, avocado, and some kind of sauce, or make a kitchen sink salad with tons of fresh vegetables, avocado, and a homemade dressing. In other words, I am usually eating a crap ton of vegetables. I felt fine, but would've preferred a more satiating lunch if I had the options available. 

For dinner: This is pretty standard fare for a fall/winter dinner (although my salad is usually much larger and what is on the plate is usually a slightly smaller serving). However, it was 84 degrees outside and sweet potatoes and beans and rice was just too hearty a meal, and I didn't feel exactly amazing after dinner. I think sweet potatoes are a cold weather food for me.

As you can see, because I was stocked up on pantry items and frozen foods, I was able to feed myself nourishing foods without my body feeling the lack of fresh produce too much. When you're healing or generally eating for health, every single day is important. Every day affects how you feel on the whole. Things happen all the time to get in the way of plans (like grocery shopping). You know what you need. Set yourself up for success!

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