Meatless Monday Recipes To Boost Circulation
In a world dominated by meat-eaters, it can be hard to find quick and easy meatless options on-the-go, especially dishes that are healthy and nutritious. We broke down a few recipe options that are meat-free and help to increase circulation, fight inflammation and more! Check out the recipes below:
Overnight Oats Recipe:
This quick and easy recipe will have you starting your day off right! Oats are an excellent breakfast choice, rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and minerals. Oats can also help lower blood sugar. Plus, overnight oats are one of the easiest breakfasts to make! Here’s how:
First things first. Take out a glass or mason jar for each serving of overnight oats that you want to make. Add in 1 cup of steel cut oats per jar.
If you want some extra flavor and texture in your overnight oats, you can add in all kinds of things to switch up the flavors for each day of the week. Some ideas include: adding any kind of nuts (I like sliced almonds), raisins, all kinds of berries (fresh or dried), coconut flakes, chocolate chips, flax seeds or chia seeds.
These yummy additions are super nutritious and delicious. You can also add in a little bit of sugar, honey, cinnamon, or even agave or maple syrup to sweeten it up. Once you’re done adding in your extras, pour in 1 cup of milk. You can use any kind of milk or even water if you want to be super healthy. I personally prefer unsweetened almond milk.
Shake or stir all of the the contents and store it in your refrigerator overnight. Grab it and go in the morning for a yummy and healthy breakfast. Or, the next day, you can top the overnight oats with yogurt, (I use nonfat yogurt but greek or plain is also ok), fresh fruit like bananas, berries, cherries, apples, pears, or anything else you want. You can even sprinkle on some cinnamon, nuts or coconut flakes. Fresh fruit, cinnamon, chia and flax seed help to increase circulation and decrease inflammation.
Comment your favorite ways to eat overnight oats in the comments!
Fruit Salad Or Smoothie Recipe:
Another good breakfast idea that’s fast and easy is a fruit salad. Fruits are naturally low in calories, fat and sodium, plus, they’re packed full of vitamins, potassium, and fiber! Just cut up your favorite inflammation-fighting fruits such as, bananas, pineapple, cherries, apples or blueberries. Blackberries and watermelons are great for circulation. Some super-fruits that help with both blood flow and inflammation are oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and avocado.
Throw some of these nutrient-rich fruits into a salad bowl to take with your or eat quickly before heading out to work. Another option that’s a great quick and easy breakfast that you can take with you is a breakfast smoothie. Throw some of these fruits into a blender with some yogurt and kale (which also helps with circulation) for a quick, on-the-go nutritious breakfast.
We all need some snacks to get us through the day! Some healthy options to help boost circulation and fight inflammation include nuts, celery and peanut butter, sunflower seeds and even dark chocolate - lucky you! Make a yummy trail mix or grab the ingredients individually. Watermelon also makes for a nutritious and delicious snack too. Watermelon helps to keep you hydrated, helps with digestion, is full of vitamins, and helps to fight cancer and inflammation. Some say it even helps with muscle soreness. Add in some of our other health-defying fruits and you have a party. If you skipped the fruit for breakfast, now would be a good time for that fruit salad we just mentioned!
Avocado is also a fantastic snack because it is so versatile, plus it has fantastic health benefits since it is filled with tons of vitamins, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. Yet avocados contain no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat! Avocados are also said to help with arthritis and weight loss. You can make fresh avocados into guacamole, a dressing, and even cook or bake with them. Gutting a fresh avocado and putting a little white vinegar and salt and pepper for taste is a great topping to put on your salads, burgers or just a as a side. Really, you can’t go wrong with avocados!
Stuffed Pepper Recipe:
This recipe looks like it’s made by a pro, but it’s pretty simple to make! Plus, this recipe a great source of fiber, antioxidants, protein, and great to help with your blood sugar. This stuffed pepper is great for increasing blood flow and fighting inflammation. The stuffing is also super healthy for you! Zucchini contains zero fat and is filled with fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals like potassium and manganese. Zucchini is also said to improve digestion, slow slow aging, boost energy and promote weight loss. Zucchini, onion and tomatoes, are said to fight cancer, heart disease and obesity.
Throw the quinoa and vegetable stock into a pot and boil. Reduce the heat once its boiling and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, cut the bell peppers in half and place them on a baking sheet. Drip olive oil onto them and sprinkle salt, pepper and cayenne. Roast them in the oven for roughly 20 minutes on 375 F until soft and tender.
In a large pan, heat olive oil, garlic and onion and saute, adding in zucchini and cayenne a few minutes later. Add in the diced tomato and cook until soft. Sprinkle in the parsley, then add the quinoa and stir until mixed.
Fill the peppers with the vegetable quinoa mixture. Cook them at 375 F until warm all the way through, or wrap these and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. That was easy, right?
You can saute asparagus or broccoli as a side dish as well! Asparagus is great for blood flow and broccoli helps to reduce inflammation.
Quinoa Salad Recipe:
Another great option for lunch is a quinoa salad. These 2 lunch recipes use similar ingredients, so it's a great way to switch up the meals and still get the same nutrition throughout the week. You already know how good vegetables can be for you, but did you know quinoa has some great benefits too? It is gluten-free, non-GMO and usually organic. Quinoa also helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. However, quinoa is high in oxalates so if you have kidney stones or kidney problems, ask your doctor if this would be good for your diet or not. This recipe is also super easy to make and will keep you full until dinner. Here’s how to make it:
First things first, let’s get this quinoa cooked! Combine dry quinoa and water following cooking instructions for the quinoa on the back of the package. While the quinoa is cooking, combine chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, mushroom, onion, and parsley in a mixing bowl. Add in the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and cayenne pepper.
When the quinoa is done cooling, add it to the vegetable mixture and stir until well combined. Throw what you want in a serving bowl and eat. How quick and easy is that? If you aren't cooking for a lot of people, I like to keep the same amount of ingredients and meal prep for fast meals throughout the week!
Veggie Stir Fry Recipe:
Veggie stir fry is my go-to quick and healthy vegetarian meal. Switching up the sauce or spices you use can really change the flavor so you don’t get sick of the “same old” recipe. You can buy a variety of marinade and sauce flavors to keep the dish new and fresh every week. Traditionally, many people use soy sauce or create their own stir fry sauce. For a quick fix, I used P.F. Chang’s Kung Pao sauce.
(To make a homemade soy sauce: To do so, mix 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium bowl.)
In one pan, prepare the tofu. Depending on what kind you buy, some comes with sauce included, others just include the tofu. Dry and cut the tofu (if needed) into ½” squares and place in the pan. Cook until golden brown. Pour no more than half of the sauce over the tofu and let it soak in, stirring as needed.
In a different large frying pan, add olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add in onions, zucchini, and bell peppers and stir them around. Next add in the minced garlic, stirring it to make sure it doesn’t burn and sprinkle in cayenne pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes then add in the broccoli. Sautee the broccoli for a few more minutes then add in the mushrooms.
Once the veggies and tofu are done, combine in one large pan. Pour the sauce of your choice over and mix until well combined. Stir for a few minutes then viola! The dish is ready to go. You can serve it by itself or over rice or pasta if you prefer. Any leftovers you can store for meal prepping!
Sweet Potato Brownie Recipe (Makes 8 Brownies):
Looking for something to satisfy your sweet-tooth without undoing all the healthy decisions you’ve made all day? Well, you have to try these sweet potato brownies that are packed with fiber. Sweet potatoes are a powerful health food with a wide range of health benefits including preventing arthritis, regulating blood sugar, and aiding digestion. Vein doctors support regularly eating sweet potatoes because they are so rich in fiber. A healthy digestive system means less pressure on the vascular system and better circulation.
To start, preheat the oven to 350 F and spray or line an 8x8 baking pan. Use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potato and cook it in the microwave until soft. Mash ¾ cup of the sweet potato. I did a rough mash of mine, and you could definitely see the sweet potato in the finished brownies. If you don't want that - make sure you mash them into a smooth consistency. Add almond butter and maple syrup and whisk. Next, add the sugar (or a healthier option like Stevia), salt, baking soda, flour (I used whole wheat flour, but you could use a Gluten Free option like almond flour), vanilla, and cocoa powder. Stir until combined.
Once the batter is mixed, pour it into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. You will know when it’s done by placing a toothpick inside the brownie, and when it comes out clean, the brownies are done!
If you want to go the extra mile, you can create a sweet potato frosting too! Simply take another ¾ cup of cooked sweet potato, mash it, and add chocolate chips into a saucepan. You can use any kind of chocolate chips - I use dark chocolate to help with inflammation! Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Once the chocolate has melted, remove and stir until smooth. Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies.
I thought there was going to be way too much frosting, but the amount was perfect. I served this up to the BrightLife staff - despite skeptical looks, everyone liked it! It’s not overly sweet and it’s pretty filling.
What are your favorite recipes to fight inflammation and promote circulation? Plan to try one of these recipes? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!