As we head into 2019, I’m looking more closely at my nutrition. As a vegan, most people think this is something I have done all along. But, to be honest, I have more of a sweet tooth than I would care to admit, and a penchant for so many of the vegan “cheat foods” and over processed selections that seem to line the shelves of grocery stores these days.
This week is all about getting back on track for me personally. Part of that process includes reviewing the nutritional contents of what I’m eating. A common tactic is to slap the word “Vegan” on food packaging and the perception among many is that is equates to “healthy”. While many companies genuinely do produce healthier vegan options, oftentimes the preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients remain the same as in vegan options as in their non-vegan counterparts.
Today I’m making the Lentil Protein Bowl from Chip and Kale, which is a perfect option to “re-set” my health and get things back on track. Most importantly, the nutritional information is easily accessed on the website, which means I can make sure I’m getting the vitamins and nutrients my body is craving after an overindulgent holiday. Plus, I know this food is prepped and made with fresh ingredients in Chef Zita’s kitchen! No preservatives here, just clean, healthy food.
Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition in the Lentil Protein Bowl.
That’s a lot of protein! And often it’s the one ingredient that Vegans are accused of neglecting. This protein packed dish has the lentils to thank. While lentils do not create a “complete” protein on their own, the grains (farro) and nuts included in this recipe provide the amino acids the lentils lack. Why is protein so important? It’s the building block of muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood. Additionally, if you’ve made a commitment to work out more regularly this year, then protein is essential to repair the micro tears to muscles as they grow stronger.
Let’s be honest, carbs get a bad rap these days with many people seeing the results they are looking for from low carb diets. However, dietary guidelines suggest that adults ingest between 225 – 325g of carbohydrates a day to ensure you have the fuel your body needs to get through the day. There are many sources of carbohydrates, both good and bad. The whole grain, fiber rich lentils (17.3g of fiber), and vegetables in this dish are all excellent sources. Plus, they taste great!
When you hear “diet”, fat and calorie intake usually come to mind. Over the years however, there has been debate over which of these two numbers is more important to focus on. While this dish is admittedly high in fat, it is intended to be the “main” meal of the day. And fat is important to brain development, hormonal balance and ultimately mood (something any dieter can tell you is a struggle). Plus, like protein, fats are important for energy.
As far as calories, this dish is a low-calorie selection on our menu, which is impressive considering how rich and filling it is!
We are focusing on nutrition throughout this month, as many of you surely are as well. Take the time to review the nutritional information on all the upcoming menu selections, which are available as always in our weekly emails and online under the menu tab. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more about how our meals are an easy way to provide clean and complete vegan nutrition.
Have a happy Veganuary!