As the country reels from the news that family staples are now off limits due to the Listeriosis outbreak, many may be wondering what to eat for breakfast or lunch, that can be prepared with little time or effort while on a budget. Here is a few suggestions of easy, healthy and delicious meat free alternatives for those breakfasts and lunches that are stressing mums out country wide.
1. Smashed Beans on Toast
Dried beans are a cheap way to get quality protein in with many health benefits and it can be superior to canned beans in taste and texture. To prepare, cover your beans in water before you sleep and allow to soak overnight. The soaking will reduce cooking time and help leach out any phytic acid (an anti-nutrient), thus improving digestion and absorption of beneficial nutrients. Rinse your beans and boil it with salt and Bicarbonate of Soda the next morning. Smashed White Kidney beans (or Butter beans) go exceptionally well on toast when prepared this way. Top it with your favourite seasoning or stick it in the microwave with some butter and curry powder before using. Ground cumin is an especially good combination with beans in whatever form. Make a large batch of beans and freeze it in portions to whip out for meals or snacks throughout the week. Oops but what about flatulence? Most people's stomachs will get used to digesting beans after they eat it regularly for a little while, thus changing the population of good bacteria in your gut microbiome and enabling your body to digest beans more effectively.
Chickpeas are so versatile. You can prepare it as you would smashed beans. As an alternative, a can of chickpeas with lemon juice and oil in a food processor make a quick fuss free hummus and you can go ahead and add your favourite seasonings. Use a little of the water that you boiled the chickpeas in or the water from the can, to reduce the amount of oil you will need. This is great topped with cucumber or chillies. Store it in a jar in the fridge to be used over the next two or three days.
Touted as a super-food, avocados make for a sensible and sensational breakfast! Best eaten freshly cut, scoop some onto your toast, crackers or rice cakes, sprinkle with seasoning and serve. Store any remainder in a tied plastic bag in the fridge for tomorrow. My family's favourite is the Flavour Max Seasoning from Woolworths which contains onion and garlic powder. Some people complain about the price of avocados, especially if they are out of season, but if you compare it to the price of fresh meat, avocados on toast stretch your money further.
4. Nut butters
Peanut butter is already a staple in most South African homes. If you are bored with pairing it with bread, then turn it into a banana and peanut butter milkshake for breakfast. Yum. Top with chia seeds for some extra proteins, healthy fats, fibre and calcium if you'd like. Other nut butters such as Almond, Cashew and Macadamia are also delicious but can be pricey unless you have a food processor to make it at home. If you do, don't forget to soak your nuts before use to remove the phytic acid.
If you can figure out how to get your family to eat more spinach, it will be worth the effort. Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients and can keep your energy up, your immune system strong and your skin and hair healthy. If you own a blender, try spinach, banana and cucumber smoothies or a spinach, basil, nuts and cheese pesto to top on your toast. If you have a few more minutes then cook your spinach with onion, garlic and a bit of tomato to top on toast or in a sandwich. The hardest part about preparing spinach is washing it. Wash all your spinach on the weekend and store it in a sealed container to grab as you need and save time all week.