4 Vegan Meal Planning Tips for Busy Folks

veganmealplanningtips.png

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!

Gardein Skillet Meals Review(Video)

gardeinskilletmealsfirstimage.jpg

When I started my vegan journey back in 2010, I didn’t cook from scratch much, so I wasn’t sure how to put a vegan meal together for the fam.

I appreciate brands like Gardein, because they make super convenient options for folks who don’t cook or those who don’t feel like cooking.

I’m all for making this journey simple, delicious, long-term, and fun!

When I heard released Gardein’s four flavors of skillet meals, I had to review it on my YouTube channel.

Check out the full video below...

**The actual review starts at 1:32**

I tested out all four flavors after picking them up at Target & Harris Teeter.

gardeinskilletmeals.JPG

The current options: Chick’n & Fried Rice, Chick’n Florentino, Italian Style Rigatoni n’ Saus’ageChick’n & Fiesta

Cost: $7.50 at Target & $7.99 at Harris Teeter

Overall thoughts: The package says it serves two but the serving size seems much smaller than that. I love that each skillet only takes about 10 minutes to make.

Is there a favorite one? I enjoyed the Chick’n & Fried Rice the most.

Will I buy it again? Probably not. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the skillet meals, I’m excited this option is available. Plus, since it’s a new concept for Gardein, I know they will improve it like so many of their other products.

Visit gardein.com to see where you can pick up these vegan skillet meals near you. 

Have you tried the Gardein skillet meals yet? What did you think?

FTC: Not sponsored -- I spent my own coins and this is my honest review.

7 TOOLS I USE TO RUN MY BUSINESS

7toolsiusetorunmybusiness.png

I remember when I was afraid to spend more than $20 to build and grow my business.

For the first couple of years, my only business expense was Squarespace -- my website and hosting.

That was it. No fancy software. Nada.

Then I went from one extreme to another...from being afraid to spend any money to spending way too much.

There was a time (like a couple of months ago lol) where my business expenses were well over $600.

This was madness because most months I wasn't bringing in enough money to justify it. 

Even though I don't believe in spending thousands of dollars to start your business, I do feel you need certain pieces of software to save you money and time.

These days, I try to minimize my business expenses and have figured out a way to use one piece of software for multiple functions.

For example, I use Leadpages to collect emails, host webinars, make sales pages, collect payments, and deliver products. 

I'm all about making life easier, so here are the seven tools I use to run my business.


Seven tools...

1. Squarespace - I've been using Squarespace for years. I started off with a free site on Wordpress, but Squarespace is more of my speed. It's easy to use (I'm not tech savvy), affordable, and their tech support is top notch. They used to make mini tutorials back in the day. I told you I'm not tech savvy. lol 

2. Teachable - I use Teachable to host my course. I love how user-friendly the software is, and how it organizes content in a way that is easy for customers to consume. 

3. Acuity Scheduling & Calendly - I use free accounts (Acuity came free with my Squarespace account) for both of these businesses to schedule business consults and podcast interviews. There's no need to go back and forth with guests or potential clients when all you have to do is link them to your calendar to schedule appointment. The more hands off the better!

4. Leadpages - I use this software to set up opt-in pages (to get folks to join my email list -- like this page), host webinars, make sales pages (like this one), collect payments, and deliver products. 

5. Libsyn - I use this software to host my Brown Vegan and This Biz Life podcast episodes.

6. Convertkit - I started off with Mailchimp, but Convertkit is amazing for building my email list and automation. For example, when someone signs up for a course on Teachable, I set up automation to send them a welcome email. Like I said above, the less hands off I can be the better. Plus, you can't beat giving your customers a better experience.

7. Wavve - You already know how much I believe video is important for building and growing an online business.  I love using this software to share snippets of my podcast episodes on social media to get listeners to click over to Apple podcasts or my website to listen to the full episode. 

Let me know in the comments what tools you use to run your biz.

You can also schedule a biz consult with me here

How to Make GOOD Vegan School Lunches

schoollunch.jpeg

With school starting for so many families, I want to share some tips and recipes to make the vegan shift as fun and long-term for your family as possible.

Check out videos and blog posts and tips below...

Videos:

3 Easy & Affordable Vegan School Lunches

How to Plan A Vegan School Lunch For Kids

Blog posts:

How to Make School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat

Lunch Box Tip# 1: Fresh Fruit, Veggies, And Dips

Lunch Box Tip#2: 3 Reasons Water Bottles Are Better Than Juice Boxes

Try not to overthink vegan school lunches!

What are you already packing for your kids' school lunch? Work on replacing that meat, dairy, and eggs with healthier and more compassionate vegan options.

 

Quick examples:

  • Instead of a turkey sandwich with dairy cheese and mayo ---> Send sandwiches with vegan deli slices (Field Roast brand is good) and vegan cheese slices and mustard OR peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  • Instead of dairy milk ---> Send chocolate almond milk, juice or water

  • Instead of Cheez-It crackers (contains dairy) ---> Send popcorn, pretzels or Ritz crackers (it's vegan)