This sweet potato pita with tahini sauce has become one of my favorite lunches, mainly because it takes less than three minutes to put together if you have prepped everything the night before (and these three minutes are super important if you are constantly running late for the train that is less than five minutes from you house).
In theory, I prefer a slow, low-stress morning routine. Ideally, this would consist of rising early (sans alarm, since loud alarms are too jarring in the morning), jogging through mountain trails as the sun rises, showering, then sitting down to drink coffee and read for two to three hours (preferably outside in the sunlight).
Reality: my alarm blares at 5:30; I hit snooze and burrow into my blankets. I’m almost always ready to go by 6:30, yet, somehow, I am always rushing to catch my 7:00 train. Every morning, I tell myself that I won’t fall into the same pattern, yet I do it anyway (I guess that’s why it’s a pattern).
I think there is a lot of value in having morning habits, whether that’s writing, meditating, going for a run, or just working on a personal project. There is more space in the morning; time for a deep breath before plunging into daily to-dos and email and social media. I think that Leo Babauta from Zen Habits describes my ideal morning perfectly in his post “Creating a Lovely Morning“.
Although I am a morning person and actually look forward to waking up and beginning my day, on weekdays, I have trouble doing anything else with my morning other than getting ready for work. I blame this on my long commute (1.5 hours), but I actually have plenty of time to meditate, do yoga, or journal.
If we want to change, sometimes the only way to do that is by being firm with ourselves and our goals. Don’t settle for excuses. I want to write more, both to clear my thoughts and to improve my writing, but I, as much as I hate to admit it, I won’t ever just naturally sit down and write. I need to create time for it and, at least initially, force myself to write.
My goal, then, is to begin writing every morning. Instead of hitting snooze, I will spend those ten minutes writing in a journal (which will be on my nightstand, so I don’t even need to get out of bed). If I do this long enough, it will become habit, and I will therefore be much more likely to continue doing it.
I have found this post by Matt Frazier on No Meat Athlete to be extremely useful when I was trying to make exercising after work a habit (which it now is). I started with a 30 day commitment to working out everyday. Before, I often excused myself because I have a long commute, or told myself that I could sit down for ten minutes and then workout (these ten minutes almost always turned into one hour). After ending my commitment to working out everyday, I reduced it to three times a week – and now I’m at a sustainable four times a week. Now when I get home from work, I change into my workout clothes immediately, without even thinking about it. And I always, always feel better and more energized after working out. I never regret doing it.
If I’m being real with you, though, I will admit that, at least a couple of times a month, I go out with friends and have more junk food and drinks than necessary. I enjoy myself in the moment and have no regrets afterwards. We should not punish ourselves for doing things we enjoy, nor spend our time after thinking, “oh, I shouldn’t have had that second (fill in the blank, although, for me, this blank is usually a whiskey and ginger).” As long as we live an overall healthy lifestyle, overindulging every once-in-a-while shouldn’t prevent us from achieving our goals, nor cause us any remorse.
The point of all that ruminating was to describe why I value a lunch that is quick to put together in the morning (which this sweet potato pita with tahini sauce is). The sweet potato rounds are nice and crispy when you eat them straight from the oven and, the next day, they are tender and the perfect addition to this pita. I topped it with spinach, radishes, and pickled onions (my favorite quick recipe for these is from The Kitchn). They will last for over a week in the refrigerator and can be added to almost anything.
The tahini sauce is smooth and creamy, and so easy to make if you have a food processor (but can definitely be made without!). I used mint and parsley in mine, but I think dill would be excellent here. I also thinned out some of the leftover tahini sauce and used it as a salad dressing.
Do you have any habits that you want to form? Maybe bringing a lunch to work everyday should be one – and you can try this sweet potato pita with tahini sauce!