If you’re interested in a plant based diet, there are plenty of websites and books to help you get started. But what happens when you’re already on your own? How do you keep things simple when it comes to planning meals and not getting bored with the same foods over and over again? Here are some tips for making it easy:
Do as much as you can in advance.
- The more you can do in advance, the less stressed you’ll be when it comes to cooking and preparing food. Make a shopping list and stick to it; plan meals for the week (or at least one day); cook double portions on Sunday night so you have leftovers for the week. These are all great ways to save time and effort during busy weeks or days when you don’t feel like cooking but still need something healthy on hand.
- Relax! Cooking is not only great for your health; it’s also an excellent way to unwind after a long day at work or school. Be sure that whatever method(s) of preparation work best for your lifestyle, whether it’s roasting vegetables in bulk before putting them into individual containers so they’re ready-to-go whenever hunger strikes or making pasta sauce from scratch with fresh tomatoes harvested from your own backyard garden!
Make time to cook.
Cooking is a great way to spend time with your friends and family. It’s also an excellent way to relax, especially if you’re feeling stressed out. Cooking can be something you get really into and make a hobby out of it—you could even teach cooking classes! For families, it’s also a good way to get kids involved in the kitchen.
Use your grocery store’s website when you’re planning meals.
If you’re a beginner, this is a great way to get started. You can search for recipes, look up the ingredients and nutritional information of foods, and even shop online! This can save you time and money in the long run. Plus it’s easy to create an account with your grocery store so that you can start saving on coupons.
If you’re already familiar with vegan cooking though, then here are some other tips:
- Create lists of things that you want to buy when planning meals for the week or month ahead (each person in your household may have different tastes). Then create a shopping list based on what’s on those lists. That way you won’t forget anything important!
Don’t make all of your meals from scratch (unless you want to!)
You don’t have to make everything from scratch. You can find plenty of quick vegan recipes online, and apps like Happy Cow and VeganXpress are great for finding nearby restaurants that offer vegan options.
You could also get creative with pre-made vegan meals. For example, you could buy some tofu and seitan (wheat gluten), plus some soy sauce or tamari, then use them as a base for stir-fries and other dishes. If you’re in the mood for something sweet then try making a batch of brownies using chocolate chips or carob instead of dairy chocolate!
And there are many other convenience foods that are made with ingredients like flax milk instead of cow’s milk, such as yogurts, cheeses, and ice creams.
You’ll need a few new kitchen gadgets.
To cook the vegan way, you’ll need to invest in some kitchen tools that will help you prepare ingredients. Get yourself a food processor (one with multiple blades is ideal), blender, steamer, pressure cooker and slow cooker. Plus any other gadgets that can make your life easier. For example: rice cookers; vegetable steamers; garlic presses or citrus squeezers; handheld blenders like the Magic Bullet or NutriBullet are great for making smoothies and soups on-the-go.
You might find it easier to shop online for plant based diet and vegan ingredients, especially specialty items.
You might find it easier to shop online for vegan ingredients, especially specialty items. Online shopping is convenient and allows you to read reviews on products before buying them. You can also buy in bulk, which is good if you’re trying to save money or store food in your pantry so that it doesn’t go bad before you eat it. If there’s something that’s hard to find at a local grocery store (like peanut butter), searching online may be the best option for finding vegan ingredients that are often only available online because they’re specialty items.
Grocery shopping on the weekends can help you plan your meals for the week.
Grocery shopping on the weekends can help you plan your meals for the week. This will save time, money, and help you eat healthier!
- Planning meals ahead of time is much easier than trying to figure out what to cook every night when you get home from work. Planning is also a good way to save yourself some money by buying in bulk at once instead of making multiple trips to the grocery store.
- By planning your meals for the week ahead of time, it’s easier for you to stick with eating healthy foods because there’s no guesswork involved in what kind of food you’re going to eat each day. It might take some extra effort now but it’ll pay off later!
If you love cooking and have time, fresh produce is great.
If you love cooking and have time, fresh produce is great. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always best, but if that’s not possible, frozen fruit and vegetables are better than canned. Canned food tends to be loaded with salt, sugar or preservatives (or all three!).
Frozen fruit and vegetables will save you money and make meal prep faster.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are great for saving money. You can buy them in bulk and store leftovers for later, which will save you time and money over buying fresh produce every week.
Buying frozen fruit is also convenient because they’ll be ready to eat straight from the freezer. You don’t have to worry about washing them or cutting them up before cooking them—just pop one in your blender with some ice cubes and water for a healthy smoothie!
There are plenty of meat substitutes that don’t contain soy.
With so many vegan meat substitutes being made from soy, it’s easy to think you’ll have to give up your favorites like bacon and sausage. But the good news is there are plenty of meatless options that don’t contain soy.
- Pumfu – pumpkin seed tofu
- Beyond Beef, Impossible Burger
- Seitan (wheat gluten)
- TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
- Veggie burgers
Soak beans overnight for a quick alternative to canned beans.
Soaking beans overnight is a simple way to make your plant based diet more digestible. The process of soaking beans in water helps remove phytic acid, which can make them difficult to digest. It also softens the skins, making them easier to peel off after cooking.
Soaking beans in saltwater can also help reduce gas production during digestion because it reduces osmotic pressure (meaning less fermentation).
If you’re worried about gassy beans but still want to soak them before cooking, try adding baking soda or lemon juice into the water before you cook them.
Save time with pre-chopped veggies and fruits, or buy them frozen.
It may seem like a time-consuming process, but chopping up veggies and fruits can save you time in the long run. Vegetables that have been pre-chopped (like celery, onions, bell peppers and carrots) are easily available at many grocery stores. They’re also frequently included in ready-to-eat dishes from restaurants like Subway and Panera Bread.
When buying fresh vegetables: choose vegetables that are in season locally—they’re usually cheaper than imported produce and taste better as well! The exception to this rule is bananas; they’re typically inexpensive no matter what time of year it is.
A plant based diet is accessible if you plan ahead
Planning ahead is key to staying on track with your plant based diet. If you think of your meals as individual components, it’s easier to plan out how many servings of each type of food will be needed for the week. You can also use grocery stores’ websites or apps to create shopping lists, which makes it easy to order at the store if they don’t have what you need in stock.
If making all your meals from scratch isn’t something that interests you, don’t worry! There are plenty of other options available too!
You may need some new kitchen appliances though: A blender and juicer are great for getting started with fruits and veggies respectively; a pressure cooker can help speed up cooking time for beans and legumes (which are protein-rich sources); an air fryer lets you make fries without frying them in oil; a slow cooker is perfect for soups/stews/chilis/etc.; a rice cooker will help save time when making grains like quinoa; etc..
A plant based diet is a great way to eat! It can be easy if you plan ahead and make sure you have the right ingredients ready for your recipes. If you’re looking for more information on how to get started, check out our blog post on getting started with a plant based diet.
Until next time,