Vegetarian+Office+South Beach?
April 25, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Office-lunch-friendly South Beach food for vegetarians?

I've had success before with the South Beach Diet, and I've just restarted Phase One. I happily cook for myself on the weekends, but I work 10 hour days M-F and am seemingly incapable of remembering to bring lunch to the office. I do, however, have a freezer, a fridge, and a desk drawer at my disposal. So far at work I've been eating (a lot of):

canned (vegetarian) chili from Trader Joe's
miso soup
black beans
green salads with fake chicken (but this with less frequency, because I sometimes forget about the greens and they go bad before I think to eat them)

I've been tracking my food on SparkPeople and have learned:
a) I really have to stop buying nuts and keeping them at my desk, because I blow through them like crazy and that's not part of the diet. I do, however, appreciate their delicious crunchiness, which I've been hard-pressed to find elsewhere on South Beach.
b) I genuinely love beans, but I eat a ton of them and can't help but feel their carb content is too high to be a total staple for South Beach.
c) I am much, much more likely to eat food I can store at my desk, but I also do pretty well with frozen food. Food that stays in the slightly gross fridge gets slightly gross and forgotten.

So, savvy MeFites: what foods can I eat on the South Beach Diet (especially Phase One) that are a) shelf-stable or amenable to long freezing, b) suitable for a vegetarian, and c) not beans? Are there clever recipes or preparation techniques I should be looking into? I shop mostly at Trader Joe's (previously), but also go to more traditional grocery stores and produce stores. I am also extremely broke, so any food suggestions that isn't too expensive is welcome.
posted by c'mon sea legs to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
"food suggestions that aren't too expensive are welcome," that is.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 4:55 PM on April 25, 2011

I don't even know how many times I've recommended Kalyn to those interested in SBD or just eating healthfully and tastily.

Kalyn's Kitchen Phase 1 Vegetarian dishes.

I tend to do vegetarian lunches (meat gets heavy on me in the middle of the day), and some of my favorites are:

Chickpea Salad
Spicy Red Lentil & Chickpea Stew

Vegetarian Lentil Soup Recipe with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Cumin (I like to use red lentils for about 1/3 of the lentils called for here)

I make this stuff and then serve it out over the week. FWIW on South Beach, I notice a marked improvement when I eat LESS processed foods, even if I eat way, way too many nuts. I also am probably cheating a bit but I do like plain greek non-fat yogurt with some splenda and vanilla extract.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:15 PM on April 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

Hmm, it seems like the perfect low-carb lunch food is salad (with some protein ingredients added, eg. tofu/edamame/beans/hard-boiled eggs/tuna). If the fridge at the office isn't a good option, would it be possible for you to get a mini-fridge to keep in your cubicle? That way, you could prep a bunch of salad ingredients on the weekend, with an eye to things that aren't too moist and will last a few days in the fridge (e.g., not chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, rather lettuce, carrots, celery, maybe a small tupperware of peas or corn kernels, mushrooms, onions, etc., and some proteins), and keep that in the fridge, with some dressing. Then, when it's lunch time, you can assemble it.
Or, if you have all these ingredients prepped in your fridge at home, you can assemble it in the morning quickly (bring dressing on the side, or keep a bottle in the fridge at work).
Also, sunflower seeds are great on salad, and give you the nutty crunch you like, without needing too many of them.
Finally, not sure if this is low-carby enough, but a sandwich I like is whole wheat pita with pressed tofu, arugula, and olive tapenade.
posted by pompelmo at 11:52 PM on April 25, 2011

I've also had good luck with big salads (mostly not-greens, like peppers and tomatoes and cucumber) with shrimp on top. I found pre-cooked frozen shrimp for not that much at the grocery, and if I just through 4-5 on top of the salad in the morning they've thawed by lunch. I've also used canned tuna, salmon, shrimp or flavored tofu on top.
posted by ldthomps at 5:15 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

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