The central principle of Ayurvedic cooking is that food be freshly made and served warm so that it’s nourishing, balancing to the doshas, and easy to digest. In our busy, fast-paced world, remembering to bring a healthy, freshly cooked lunch to work or school can seem daunting.
However, it’s possible to prepare a warm meal while you’re getting ready for your day with the following easy Ayurvedic lunch recipe ideas and tips.
Use a Thermos
Invest in a stainless steel or glass core thermos to keep your meals warm until lunchtime. Try to avoid plastics as they may leach chemicals into your food. Thermos makes excellent food jars that are convenient to eat from. In the morning, cook some fresh vegetables, dhal, and a whole grain.
Thermos Kichari Lunch is an easy one-pot meal. Transfer it to your insulated food container after cooking. Pack some ready-made chapatis, flatbreads, or matzo crackers.
Try a Slow Cooker
Store a slow cooker at work if you have a lunchroom. Prepare all the ingredients ahead of time at home. Try Slow Cooker Quinoa Kichari, or a hearty vegetable bean soup. When you get to work, just add the pre-cut vegetables and measured beans, spices, and grains in the slow cooker with water. Your lunch will be done by the time you are ready to eat, and it will be fresh and hot. (Don't forget to turn on the slow cooker, though!)
Favor Fresh Homemade Yogurt and Lassi
Maharishi AyurVeda experts recommend avoiding commercial flavored yogurts because they’re cold, difficult to digest and often contain a lot of added sugars. They also may have been sitting on grocery shelves for weeks.
Fresh homemade yogurt is best because it has lactobacilli in it that helps keep the intestinal flora healthy. Turn yogurt into a delicious digestive drink—Ayurvedic lassi. This diluted form of yogurt is lighter and boosts the toxin-elimination process. It’s recommended to enjoy lassi before or with lunch. Try Basic Lassi, Sweet Lassi, or Salty Digestive Lassi.
Bring Healthy Snacks if You Need Them
In general, Ayurveda discourages snacking between mealtimes so as not to interfere with digestion. However, if you need a bite to carry you over to the next meal, try these suggestions.
Pitted dates stuffed with ghee, tahini, or almond butter; almonds and raisins; or fresh, sweet juicy fruit will help keep you feeling energized and balanced. Warm milk with Raja's Cup is great for your "coffee" breaks. If you are feeling a bit irritable or frustrated, try eating a spoonful of Organic Rose Petal Spread. This delicious preserve helps to balance Sadhaka Pitta, which governs our happiness quotient.
Sip Warm Water. Skip Iced Drinks.
Warm water works like a broom, moving accumulated toxins faster through your system. This reduces bloating and heaviness, making you feel lighter.
Go one step further and add spices to your drinking water. Cumin is especially beneficial for digestion. Dry-toast a teaspoon of cumin seeds until they release their aroma. Coarsely crush them with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder. Stir into plain water, strain, and enjoy.
Cold and iced drinks douse the digestive fire. It's like setting up a barbecue and then, inexplicably, turning it off before grilling. Just like the veggies on that grill cannot cook without fire, your lunch will sit heavy inside you for a long time if ice has dampened the metabolic energy required for good digestion.
Make Lunch your Main Meal
Agni (digestion) is strongest in the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak. Therefore, it’s recommended to eat your biggest meal at lunchtime. Eat up to about three-quarters of your capacity to maximize digestion and comfort post-meal.
With just a little planning ahead, it’s easy to prepare your own Ayurvedic lunches. Investing in insulated containers and utilizing simple recipes to cook from will set you up for delicious, nourishing Ayurvedic lunch success!