Basic Meal & Menu Planning
In this easy vegan meal prep guide, I'll outline everything you need to know to plan your own healthy meals. Meal planning depends on several factors, such as the number of people eating, meal times, special dietary concerns, budget, available foods, recipes on hand and likes and dislikes of everyone who will be eating. Begin by choosing foods and recipes that you enjoy and know how to prepare well. If one or more people have special dietary needs, like nut allergies, plan ahead for substitutions. Breakfast Ensure you have some staples in your cupboards like fruits, bran cereal, porridge oats and bread. That way, you will have quick options when you don’t want to think too much about what to make. Here are some easy and nutritious breakfast ideas: - Bran cereals with bananas and plant-based milk (this will be a winner for your fibre intake) - Oatmeal in a jar (add some fruit for extra flavour...it tastes AMAZING!!) - Bread with natural peanut butter and jam (preferably a healthy jam with limited artificial sugars and flavourings) - Fruit salad (with a plant-based yoghurt for protein) Lunch Depending on your schedule, lunch can often get missed out. However, it's important to give your body that boost of energy in the middle of the day. Meal preparation can help you to ensure you don't miss your lunch again. Many options can be quick and made in advance, such as: - Salad in a jar - Hummus Veggie Wrap - Vegetable and Lentil Soup Dinner In general, dinner is the time when individuals spend more time with friends or family. A plant-based dinner can be a combination of vegetables, grains and legumes. Here are a few examples: - Veggie Burger with sweet potato fries - Vegetable, black bean and rice stir fry - Rice and beans with plantains - Grain bowls - Risotto with roasted vegetables Feeling a little overwhelmed by menu planning, or in need of step-by-step recipes? Every month, my WE-llness Club members get a new recipe pack (complete with shopping list!) to take all of the planning out of feeding your household delicious and nutritious recipes. If you're interested in checking it out, visit www.naturallyfed.co.uk/club Whether coming up with your own meal plan or using mine, if you have other family members in the house, get them to jump in and prepare meals some nights and on weekends. Kids enjoy making macaroni no-cheese, so host a mac-no-cheese night on Wednesdays, for example. There are tonnes of vegan mac n cheese recipes online! Then alternate different vegetable combinations, colours and textures to vary the menu on a weekly basis (no need to let boredom take over on Wednesdays with the same routine). Varying your vegetable intake will also ensure you get all the vital nutrients your body needs. To help with family food budget concerns, food cooperatives and farmers markets available in your area may offer special pricing for groups or large purchases, and buying local is always a great option. It's unfortunate, but fast foods, especially those that are high in fat content (fried, greasy foods), are often cheaper than good, healthy food choices. For example, cereals high in nutritional value are often priced much higher than the low-cost, sugary brand names. Low income and homeless people are often struggling with this situation, regularly needing to turn to the less healthy food choices for survival. So if you're in a comfortable financial position, whenever possible, your plans might want to include a small donation to homeless shelters or food banks, who would probably be more than willing to take extras off your hands.