Making Changes: From Gourmet to Grab-and-Go

quinoa pilaf
a working lunch!

In the past few months my eating style has gone from gourmet to grab and go!

The past few months have been a fun and wildly busy change of pace for me. In February I quit the job that kept me busy for three years and started a new adventure with a new food start-up. In my previous role as Outreach Assistant for our local health food store, I has a super flexible, four-day schedule, and was almost ways home to cook dinners for myself and my partner. I got a great company discount on food and was always finding new ingredients to try, and everyday came home with an armload of produce and bulk items. Many of my evenings were spent cooking and prepping for a week worth of awesome meals.

tomato barley soupIMG_1807

But, that’s all changed. My new job is a big promotion and takes me from assistant to a managerial role, and all the work hours responsibility and duties that it entails. No more four-day work weeks for me, and virtually no more time for cooking. I’ve traded my vegetarian gourmet for grab-and-go on a daily basis.

But I’m not complaining: I am super excited about my new job, and really happy to be working for a company that has values and vision that match my own (how often can you say that, right?). Our company makes wildly delicious superfood veggie burgers, condiments, dressings and more. Right now we’re based in Hawaii, but we’re looking at a mainland debut in the near future.

For years I’ve taught cooking classes in the islands, and one of my favorite tips is to prep during the weekend, and then have good foods all week long. I now realize how misguided this idea might seem to some people. Some weekends, I barely have time to cook for one day, let alone a whole week. And for those weeks I do have time to cook and prepare, sometimes I just plain forget to bring what is ready-made, or I just can’t find the time to put it all together into a proper meal to-go. Thankfully, we do have a kitchen at my main office, so I can cook quick meals there. I’ve taken to grabbing a few veggies, some leftover grains and cooking up some of our awesome soy-free mung bean tempeh and calling it lunch. And of course there are days when lunch (and maybe dinner) comes from the health food store that previously employed me!

Learning the hard way that my make-ahead technique lectures may have been slightly misguided is discouraging, but I hope that it can help me make better teaching decisions in the future. So I’m still trying to cook healthy foods at home, but my new favorites are super quick-meals, of which I have many here on Vibrant Wellness Journal. Here are some of the new-old staples in our busy kitchen.

Quinoa Pilaf: 10 minutes of chopping and 20 minutes of cooking equals a complete meal.

Best Baked Tofu: make a double batch and eat all week

Kale Salads: Easy to make, keep and enjoy for the next few days.

Ethiopian Chickpea Stews: This one features Ethiopian flavors, but swap out the berbere spice mix for curry or other spices for an equally delicious cultural dish.

Soups: Any soup is a great make-ahead meal. Standout favorites are my Creamy Split Pea Soup, Sun-dried Tomato and Tomato Barley Soup.

If you are looking for more quick meal inspiration, check out our Quick Meals tag for lots of great, mostly fast recipes!

the finished salad!
gorgeous kale salad with roasted veggies

a working lunch!
a working lunch, with quinoa pilaf.



This post may contain some affiliate links. Currently I am affiliated with Avocado and Mountain Rose Herbs, and Amazon Affilaites to support my favorite supplements and superfoods. If you purchase something from these links I make a small commission that supports my work and keeps the site running. Thanks for supporting Vibrant Wellness Journal! 


About Andrea Bertoli 597 Articles
A vegan chef, cookbook author, wellness educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in Honolulu. Follow my delicious adventures on Instagram

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