Welcome to Next Gen Natural, a column where we share a Gen Z perspective on natural health and wellness. I’m Michelle—alive’s Digital Assistant and creator of the Healthy Num Num food blog. I love healthy living and want to inspire you to integrate wellness into all parts of your life, regardless of your age.
Eating a plant-based diet provides a multitude of benefits for both your health and the planet. It is also becoming increasingly common among younger generations. According to a recent study, Gen Z is leading the shift towards adopting a plant-based lifestyle with 79 percent of the population choosing to go meatless one day a week and 65 percent aiming for a more plant-forward diet.
Plus, good news if you’re looking to save more money: eating more vegan and vegetarian meals can reduce your food costs by up to one third.
Want to start eating more plant-based meals but don’t know where to start? Try incorporating one whole food, veggie-based meal a day. I like to prepare plant-based lunches ahead of time to have during the week. These tasty lunch recipes from alive are full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—all helping you stay full and satiated throughout the day.
This stir-fry is made with Brussels sprouts, carrots, and tempeh, served over rice, and garnished with peanuts. Giving each serving 23 grams of protein, tempeh, which is part of the traditional Indonesian diet and is an easily digestible protein source, is pan fried, and then mixed with the vegetables. Tempeh has a strong nutty flavor and absorbs this recipe’s Asian-inspired sauce.
Made with a variety of roasted vegetables and mixed greens, this nourishing salad is topped with toasted hazelnuts and balsamic vinegar. To add more protein to this antioxidant-rich lunch, mix in cooked chickpeas, chopped tofu, or tempeh.
This pasta salad is equally delicious served at room temperature or warmed up. It’s also great for meal prepping since it can be made up to three days in advance. Chickpeas are high in fiber and are the star of this recipe as it calls for both chickpea pasta and hummus.
Lettuce, cashews, and carrots—all ingredients used in these fresh wraps that give each bite a satisfying crunch. Find yourself with leftover peanut dip? Use it as a flavorful sauce to drizzle on other lunches, such as stir-fries or roasted vegetables.
For this lighter lunch, homemade jam is made with strawberries, chia seeds, honey, and lemon juice. To make this recipe vegan, replace the honey with 100 percent pure maple syrup and the brie cheese with your vegan cheese of choice. This sandwich is a convenient option if you are eating on-the-go.
If prepping this one bowl taco salad ahead of time, make sure to keep toppings such as tortilla chips separate until serving to keep all contents crisp. To add even more flavor to this recipe, replace water for veggie broth when cooking the quinoa.
These meatless burgers are primarily made of pinto or Romano beans, brown rice, carrots, and onions. Beans are full of fiber, protein, and iron and give a great meat-like texture when mashed. Go gluten free by replacing the bun with extra lettuce.
This Bolognese is made with tomatoes, tempeh, garlic, and fresh parsley. Increase the protein in this comforting recipe by serving with chickpea or red lentil pasta. Plus, there is no need to worry about garlic breath since parsley reduces the odor of garlic.
With 24 grams of protein in each serving, this hearty soup is filling and pairs well with a slice of cornbread. Make this a three-bean chili by replacing some of the black beans for cooked red kidney beans and chickpeas.
Made with buckwheat pasta, this noodle bowl is filled with tofu and Brussels sprouts and topped with crispy chili oil. Not a fan of Brussels sprouts? Swap them for broccoli florets instead!