Vegan Meal Planning
What do vegans eat? The real question should be, “What do vegans NOT eat?”. There are so many wonderful things that a plant-based lifestyle allows. For instance, you can eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and pastas! SO. MUCH. FOOD.
When preparing meals for your week, there are some tips that you want to keep in mind:
1. Consider what you currently have
Most kitchens already contain a number of food items whether they're cans of beans, bags of rice, or boxes of pasta. When thinking of the meals that you are going to have for the week, consider the ingredients that are already within your kitchen. You want to make sure these are used before you start buying more food and completely forget about them. Wasting food should also try to be avoided. Of course, make sure that all ingredients are plant-based. The goal is to incorporate the ingredients you already have + those you will need to buy.
2. Commit to a weekly schedule
It's best to sit down once a week and plan out the meals for the next 7 days. Make sure to consider the amount of people you are cooking for to ensure you get the correct amount of ingredients. While planning, be sure to include these four categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, & Snacks. These meals could be handwritten on a mapped out chart, describing what meals are planned for each day. If you choose to hand write your plan, it might be best to also print out different recipes that you plan on using for your meals, that way you have them on hand. If you like to use an online calendar, you can also incorporate your weekly meal planning into this scheduler. Or, find an app that lets you meal plan! If you're just starting out, you can even use the "Notes" app in your phone. This allows you to take it to the grocery store, along with anywhere else in case it's needed. You can also add links here to saved recipes that you find online.
3. Grocery shop wisely
After planning these meals, then it's time to shop! Make sure to bring a list. On your list will most likely be items such as whole grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Be sure to stick to your list, because this will prevent you from buying more than you need which will eventually turn to waste.
Most grocery stores carry healthy products in their fresh produce section. Green vegetables should be one of your staple foods. Fruits are also highly recommended. Limit your consumption of nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut, as these items are high in fat. Otherwise, go wild in your grocery store's produce section. Outside the produce section, the vast majority of products you will find in most grocery stores, including health food stores, does not comply with the a plant-based diet and should not be purchased or consumed. Some grocery stores are better than others, in our opinion. With that said, our favorite chains are:
Trader Joes: These smaller stores tend to have lower prices than most other grocery stores, but because they are smaller they don't have as wide a selection of products as many other stores do.
Whole Foods: These larger stores have a wide selection of plant-based foods, including some items we cannot find in any other grocery stores. However, for common items, you may find them at lower price at other stores.
3. Incorporate new recipes
After a while, you may start to cook the same things over and over again. Some meals can get boring over time, and you start to crave something different. To satisfy this craving, seek out inspiration of new recipes. You can end up down the rabbit hole of delicious plant-based recipes if you go on Pinterest. The recipes will never end! You can even look up your favorite vegan blogs and see what new recipes they're coming out with. Don't forget vegan cooking sites and vegan cookbooks (One of our favs is Better Than Vegan - https://www.nusci.org/movies-and-books). Don't be afraid to experiment with new recipes, and even try out some on your own (it’s okay if you fail!). You may discover your new favorite dish!
4. Hire a meal planning company
Now this is a BIG one! If you don’t have time for cooking (which face it, most of us don't nowadays), hiring a meal planning company is the perfect solution. Someone else prepares meals for you with plant-based food, so you don't have to worry about a thing.
Little Green Forks meals are 100% plant-based, prepared fresh every morning, sealed & packaged, and sent out for delivery (https://littlegreenforks.com/menu/#/menu). We make it extremely convenient for vegans to be able to eat healthy, tasty, & still adhere to vegan standards, while not having to worry about cooking or shopping for groceries. If you're busy with school, work, kids, don't like to cook, or just don't feel like it at times, these meals can easily be pulled out of the fridge (or freezer), heated up in the microwave or oven, and enjoyed instantly.
You can actually plan out some Little Green Forks meals into your week for a few lunches or dinners, and that will help lighten the amount of shopping and cooking you have to do each week. You can do breakfast cookies for the morning, soup for lunch, and one of our delicious entrees like Portobello Mushrooms with Lemon Garlic Asparagus, for dinner. The menu is rotating so you can always have something different too! Currently we deliver in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. If you're in that area, check out our website & order your meals today!
Extra tip! Take all of your veggies that are going bad, cut them up, and bake them in the oven. Put over a whole grain and, voila! Dinner is served.
We hope these tips helped! Let us know your tips for Vegan Meal Planning in the comments below.