vegan meal planning

Easy Vegan Meal Planning Tips for Dinner

I know how overwhelming it can be to plan all your vegan meals for the week.

In this video, I share some tips on how to save time (and hopefully some coins) in the kitchen.

Recap of the tips:

  • Veganize your favorite meals — Love spaghetti? Use vegan crumbles instead of ground beef.

  • Save time on grocery shopping and cooking by using services like Instacart (someone else can shop for you) and Purple Carrot (use discount code “brownvegan” to save $30) will eliminate some of your overwhelm.

  • Be open to experimenting in the kitchen and expect to fail a bit too!

  • Use Pinterest, YouTube and cookbooks from the library for recipe inspiration.

  • Keep a list of all the recipes that worked well, so you can refer back to them when you get too busy to look at Pinterest or YouTube for inspiration.

  • Theme your dinners — Taco Tuesdays, leftovers on Saturdays, pasta on Wednesdays, etc.

  • Plan for leftovers, so you don’t have to cook daily.

  • Establish 3-5 go-to meals that take less than 30 minutes to cook.

Resources mentioned in the video:

  • Brands that have vegan crumbles (to replace ground beef): Beyond Meat & Gardein

  • My t-shirt is from https://www.healthywholealive.com/hwa... 20% of the price will be sent to the Evangelical Church of Liberia who is committed to feeding hundreds of children in need. Support this dope cause!

  • Evernote is the free software I mentioned to clip and save recipes

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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4 Vegan Meal Planning Tips for Busy Folks

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One of the major keys to vegan success is to have a meal plan.

I literally just sat here and planned a few days of meals in my notebook to go to the grocery store tomorrow (I order groceries from Instacart often too).

When I started my own vegan journey in 2010, I wasn't used to meal planning at all. I would go into the grocery store and shop based what was on sale for the week.

If you're new to this, it may take time to get used to vegan meal planning and grocery shopping, but I promise it will get easier once you get into a routine.


HOW TO START MEAL PLANNING RIGHT NOW


*Think about meals you're already eating and how you can make those meals vegan.

Here's a quick example using this chicken enchiladas recipe from Food Network
These are ingredients you would need to switch out to make the meal vegan:
-Replace the chicken breast with a vegan chicken alternative from a brand like Beyond Meat or use black beans.
-Replace the dairy cheese with a vegan cheese or use more sauce instead of vegan cheese.
-Replace the sour cream with a vegan version (you can make one out of coconut cream, salt & lemon juice).
Everything else in the recipe is naturally vegan (no other meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.)


*Keep a food journal - As you move forward, get a spiral notebook and jot down:

-vegan recipes you have tried with your family
-their reaction
-where you got the recipe from
Using this method will help you establish some go-to recipes and save time when you're too busy to meal plan.


*Keep breakfast and snacks super simple - Dinner is enough to worry about, so try to keep your breakfast and snacks on autopilot. Start off by planning two vegan breakfasts each week, then buy enough to last several days to save both money and time. 
For snacks, you can enjoy pretzels, trail mix, fresh fruit, kale chips & smoothies.


*Establish go-to recipes and consider vegan options/convenient meals near you. When I meal plan, I always build in meals that are convenient for those days I don't feel like cooking (it happens so always include convenient meals). Simple meals like spaghetti, a local takeout place that has vegan options on the menu, or even a pre-packaged option like the Gardein Skillet Meals (I reviewed this product on my YouTube channel).


What you should do right now...
I want to encourage you to start meal planning today.
Even if you're only adding one vegan meal to your meal plan this week, I promise this first step counts!
You don't have to be a gourmet chef every night.
Keep your meals simple, so that you can gain confidence to move forward.


You can (and should) do this!

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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10-Minute Vegan Chili Dogs

On the way home from the airport yesterday, Eric suggested that we eat chili dogs while watching the game.

After traveling for the last 2 weeks, the last thing I wanted to do is cook a meal.

In comes 10 minute chili dogs!

I picked up 2 packs of Field Roast frankfurters, a can of Annie's vegan chili (I have a recipe for homemade chili here) and diced up an onion.

This is a quick and easy recipe for those "I can't be bothered" days and a perfect way to make your non-vegan family feel like they're eating meat.

Veganize it, baby!

I've tried several brands of vegan hotdogs and Field Roast is the only one worth buying. It has the perfect flavor and texture - ain't nobody got time for soft hotdogs!

Enjoy! 

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How to Plan Vegan School Lunch for Kids (VIDEO)

If you're new to vegan life, the easiest way to transition your kids to vegan school lunches, is by veganizing (make a vegan version) some of the meals they're already enjoying.

Think about it like this.... if your kids love turkey sandwiches - start experimenting with vegan deli slices (I like the Field Roast brand) and use vegan mayo (Just Mayo is a good brand), lettuce, tomato & mustard to make their favorite sandwich vegan. Also, check the ingredients on the bread to ensure that it's vegan (no milk, eggs or butter). 

Try not to overthink it. You want to keep weekly lunches simple for you and delicious for them. :-)

I have an easy formula for making simple and delicious daily lunches....

Main entree + Fruit/Vegetable + Treat/Junk Food + Drink =                                                Vegan School Lunch

I talk about making school lunches and even show you how I put one together for my boys in this video...

Main entree - sandwich (peanut butter and jelly is a great option), burrito, taco, wrap (one with hummus, red bell pepper, lettuce & tomato is an easy option) or leftover soup from dinner in a Thermos

This is a pic of my youngest son, Brandon's lunch from when he was about 6

This is a pic of my youngest son, Brandon's lunch from when he was about 6

Fruit and/or Vegetable - any whole fruit that you have on hand - berries, banana, apple, pineapple, etc. Mini salads with lettuce, tomato, carrot & cucumber served with balsamic vinaigrette or any vegetable and hummus.  If you have older kids, a fruit and vegetable is probably a good idea because they eat more. Smaller kids should get one or the other so they don't waste food.

Treat/Junk Food - Don't skip out on the treat because kids love trading snacks! I know I used to back in the day. Plus, I think it's important for some of their food to look familiar.

Vegan junk food options mentioned in the video: Oreos, plain Lay's potato chips Earth Balance vegan cheddar popcorn, Late July chips (not all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients)
Clif Bar (not all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients) and Stacy's pita chips (not sure if all of their products are vegan; check the ingredients)

There are so many healthy junk food options out there! You can also check out PETA's accidental vegan list for some familiar (not healthy) snack options 

Drink - Water is best but I used to give my boys an organic juice box one week out of the week. You can also send your kids to school with almond or coconut milk (they even sell chocolate flavored versions of these) in a Thermos or drink box.

Remember to keep it simple, get the kids involved and have fun!!

 

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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