Sunday, July 21, 2019

Vegan Diet Made Easy: Meal Plans

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It’s okay, you’re easy. I mean, your life is so complicated that if you manage to eat a few m&m’s for breakfast you consider this to be a really good breakfast. And you read my site and you are like “If she only knew how busy I am! I do not have time to be crumbling tofu”

Right. Okay, so you need easy, you thrive on easy, and you are not about to go soak cashews overnight to press it into a date infused pie crust. I get that. But it’s no excuse to eat crappy, and it’s no excuse to not have a healthy vegan life.

Easy Vegan Breakfasts: (all take under 5 minutes to make)

Fruit!

  • Smoothies – go green!
  • Get a shake mixer (cup) you can have  a shake anywhere, and most health stores sell non animal protein powder (my favorite is Vega)
  • Cereal with non dairy milk. (check the cereal first)
  • Cereal with fruit
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Raw Bar or Lara Bar (there are a few other good vegan nutrition bars, and some that are raw & delicious)
  • Waffles (Vans makes a lot of vegan waffles and they are so tasty- top with agave syrup and fruit)
  • Easy bean burrito with avocado
  • Wheat Bagel with non dairy cream cheese or peanut butter. Top with fresh fruit (or jam if you have to)
  • Nuts and fruit
  • Non dairy yogurt mixed with cereal or nuts and fruit

Have to eat breakfast out?

  • Jamba Juice – vegan smoothies, oatmeal with fruit (I love their oatmeal) Quick time out: just because it’s a smoothie or a juice doesn’t mean it’s good – check the sugar!
  • Restaurants: Oatmeal is usually the best bet (with out milk) fruit salad, breakfast can be tricky at a regular american type resturant. Some will also do smoothies, and ask, they probably have soy milk. Peanut butter on a bagel or english muffin is another option.
  • Starbucks: You can use soy in any drink, although, really, lay off the caffeine if you can – go with green tea instead. Get a bowl of fruit and oatmeal.
  • A bagel place – a bagel (not an egg one) with peanut butter and a cup of fruit
  • If you go to McDonalds I’ll smack you. Seriously. Go to a gas station and get food, it will be healthier… speaking of:
  • Convenience store: Nuts, fruit, pretzels, some carry small things of soy milk and single serve cereals. trail mix, granola bars.
  • Grocery store: Fruit, veggies, hummus, pita bread, bagel with non dairy cream cheese or peanut butter, vegan nutrition bars (be sure to check labels!) individual soy or rice milk with cereal. Naked drinks are a good option (check to make sure they are vegan)
  • Amy’s has a a few good vegan breakfasts – try Tofu scramble or the tofu breakfast pockets. You can even stock these at work. Make sure you get the vegan ones though!

Easy Vegan Lunch:

Eating at Home

  • Frozen: Amy’s has a bunch of stuff to pick from, and it’s almost in any grocery store.
  • Salads – big huge salads!
  • Vegetable broth based soups
  • Veggie sushi
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Egg-less egg salad (a lot of health foods places and whole foods and trader joes stock this)
  • Hummus with pita bread and cucumbers
  • Cheese-less pizza with lots of veggies
  • Cucumber sandwich with non dairy sour cream
  • Veggie burger (be sure it is vegan)
  • Mushroom meatball sub (or vegan meatballs) – just heat them up, put on whole wheat sub roll with tomoato sauce, good to go.
  • Chicken less chicken sandwich
  • Big sandwich with hummus, veggies, sprouts, sliced cucumbers. You can just go to any salad bar and load up on the veggies for your sandwich (and often hummus), get a roll from the bakery, and you’ve got yourself a tasty sandwich.

Eating lunch out:

  • Mexican: YOUR FRIEND eating out. Guacamole, tortilla chips, beans, salsa. Veggie burrito (no sour cream), Veggie fajitas, beans and rice. You can do vegan at chipolte and places like Baja Fresh pretty easily
  • Chinese: Tofu instead of meat in your noodles, rice, soup (be sure there is no egg)
  • Japanese: My favorite: Veggie sushi! and miso soup they also usually have some great tofu dishes
  • American: Bleh. But if you have to – salads are usually a good bet, or do sides of veggies, rice, potato.
  • Roadside stand: Really? Okay, unless you are near LA who has a vegan roadside joint. You might be stuck with nuts, a pretzle and fruit if they have it.
  • Grocery store: Hummus! Pre packaged fruits and veggies. Carrots and celery with peanut butter, big huge salad from the salad bar.
  • Indian: Lots of vegan options! Be sure to tell them you can not have dairy, some of the sauces have dairy in them.
  • Thai: Again, substitute with tofu, be sure there are no eggs or dairy in the ingredients.

Easy Vegan Snacks:

Keep a good supply of tasty vegan snacks near you to avoid things like break rooms!

  • Nuts (be sure no one around you is allergic to peanuts, it’s an airborne allergy, and it’s serious)
  • Dried fruit
  • Trail Mix
  • Granola Bars (also check ingredients)
  • Crackers (you can even find a good hearty flax seed cracker)
  • Seeds (like sunflower)
  • Nut butter for your crackers
  • Dark chocolate (most are vegan)
  • Dates
  • Vegan cookies (if you really need a fix – something like the trader joes version of Oreo’s)

Easy Vegan Dinner:

  • Again, Amy’s has some good vegan options!
  • Lentil soup
  • Bean burrito
  • Kashi Brand has a LOT of vegan frozen dinners that are pretty tasty.
  • Vegan Soup (there are lots of options in more healthy stores.
  • Trader Joes – if you have one learn to use it. If you want to be easy. They have a lot of vacuum sealed things like steamed lentils and beans – that are fantastic. They also have frozen things like “Birds Nests” , chinese dumplings (veggie) , shu mai (with edamame), frozen edamame, spicy lentil wrap, lots of hummus… There is a lot, so if you have one near you, check it out.
  • Same goes for Whole Foods and stores like it – they tend to have a lot of vegan foods that are easy to prepare.

Easy Vegan meals:

  • Veggie Stir Fry – seriously if you want go to the frozen section and look for a stir fry mix (all veggies of course), I like getting some rice noodles (they take like 3 min. to cook) and then some tofu chopped up, stick it in a pan throw some soy sauce on it – you’ve got yourself stir fry.
  • Easy stuffed peppes : Soy Chorizo or “meatless crumbles”, rice (you can get it pre-made if you need to), mushrooms, diced tomato. Cut open top of a pepper stick it under the broiler while you heat up crumbles, rice mushrooms and tomato. After a few minutes put filling into pepper, stick back under broiler for a couple of minutes. You can top it off with some diced tomato’s or tomato sauce (vegan). Easy and hot. hmmmm.
  • Big huge salad – go ahead go to town, eat sprouts till your stuffed
  • Pasta (brown rice if you want to be healthier) with tomato sauce, veggies, and non meat meat balls
  • Lentil stew: pre-cooked/steamed lentils, can of diced tomato’s, frozen red potato’s (diced works well) spices. Throw in large pan and cook.
  • Chilli: All sorts of things you can do, but the simple way is to get a couple cans of beans, canned diced tomato’s with chilli’s and put in pot with some spices. You can put it over elbow macaroni or rice.
  • Tofu steaks: Get tofu, slice it up put it on a pan (use olive oil) and cover it with various spices throw on top of some spinach with vegan dressing.

Vegan Cooking batches for the Week

There are some things you can make a big batch of that will last for several days, or in some cases (chilli, soups) you can freeze and then take out and heat up later like…

  • Chilli – go to town! There are a billion vegan chilli recipes
  • Big vegan macaroni salad – great for the summer! Just cook pasta (I use brown rice) add in chopped veggies, olives, black beans, veganaise (to taste) crumbled tofu if you’d like and spices.
  • Tofu Scramble: Crumble up firm tofu, add in diced red potato’s (frozen is fine), beans, olives, spices, a little bit of non dairy sour cream or veganaise.
  • Soups: A good veggie noodle soup using vegetable broth, your favorite vegetables and noodles.

Easy Desserts:

  • Fruit and soywhip (whipcream)
  • Non Dairy Ice Cream – Coconut milk ice cream, rice milk and soy… and if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that you can buy raw ice cream? It is better than any dairy ice cream I’ve ever had, and trust me on this, I used to eat a lot of ice cream.
  • Vegan cookies – like the trader joes version of oreo’s! Newmans Own makes a lot of good stuff as well.
  • Dark Chocolate – most is vegan, ALL is tasty
  • Baked apple with cinnamon, brown sugar and some nuts.
  • Vegan smores! Look for vegan marshmallows (if you can’t find them in your area, you can always find them online)
  • Melted dark chocolate and fruit. I mean, that alone should make your day.

In all of this, I will say that you still have to be careful in what you eat, you can do fast and easy and healthy. You can almost always grab fruit and good nuts somewhere, and start adding in veggies where you can, the more you use them, the more you will like them. TRUST ME, I’m drinking kale and spinach in the morning, and if you would have told me that a year ago I would have just slapped you.

Be sure to drink your water as well! It’s a must to flush out and to feel better!

AND there are bad for you vegan foods!

Drinking pepsi and eating potato chips might be vegan, but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Try more and more each day to eliminate harmful chemicals from your diet. Aside from messing up your body and overwhelming your adrenal glands, all those chemicals have to be tested on animals, just like you would be more apt to buy something that says “cruelty free” on your cosmetics, think of the foods you eat the same way, just because it doesn’t have animal products in it, doesn’t mean that an animal was not killed so that you can enjoy your diet coke. (Oh, and if you think I’m passionate about being vegan just wait till you hear what I have to say about diet drinks and fake sugar, actually, you should pretty much resign your diet drink addiction now, because I promise you that you will be sickened by what I will tell you on all of that).

I’m going to open up the comments to all you vegans out there that would like to help those who need some simple solutions. What are your easy vegan food choices? What advice do you have to busy new vegans? Or new vegan moms? Please share, and if you are vegan curios, please ask questions! We vegans like to be helpful

60 COMMENTS

  1. Melisa

    Homemade guacamole with multi-grain tortilla chips. I will seriously have this for dinner some nights.

  2. Julia

    Vegans eat plants, pure and simple. Fresh fruit and veggies, cooked to perfection, seasoned with delicious spices and sauces, over whole grains, with nuts and legumes on the side.

    Love love LOVE fresh sauteed kale with garlic, butternut squash and ginger soup, and whole wheat tortilla “paninis” with sweet potato and yam in the (vegan out of the box) George Foreman. Can’t beat salads or fruit smoothies, either. And CURRY!

  3. Joe

    Today this vegan will be eating fruit, edamame, miso soup, raw veggies and a big salad with nuts, seeds, quinoa and a raw nut dressing. Mmm Mmm.

  4. Sophie

    Potato chickpea enchiladas with pine nut crema and green tomatillo sauce, with sides of tostones, refried beans, lime and coriander rice and guacamole. With mango and papaya sorbet for dessert? I think so.

    Yum.

  5. coco

    black beans with chopped green onions and olive oil, peanut butter on whole wheat, bananas, oatmeal with pumpkin and soymilk…

  6. beth

    Yay plants! I’m currently anticipating a nice warm bowl of oatmeal to pair with the rain outside.

  7. Danu

    Last night I cooked a curried vegetable quinoa pie with a topping of seeds and nutritional yeast flakes, served with yellow split pea daal. All the protein and B12 represented!

    For breakfast today I had porridge with berries and sultanas and a pinch of cinnamon and agave syrup. About to have lunch time snack of rosemary crispbreads and my homemade hummus. Later I will make a roasted vege lasagne.

    I might even make my heavenly chocolate cake with cashew nut butter filling.

    I bet many omnivores won’t be getting that range of goodness today, or possible even as much protein!
    x
    x
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    x

  8. tofu

    What do vegans eat? So very much! Quinoa stirfy, tofu breakfast scrambles, blueberry cornmeal pancakes (I thought I’d died and gone to heaven the first time I made these!) and the list is never-ending.

    I’m so happy that more and more chefs are willing to explore veganism because that means more delicious meals for us!

    And most importantly, no matter what we eat, we’re reducing the harm and suffering in the world. Delicious and just!

    That’s a feeling I get to enjoy every time I overdo it on a big bowl of banana ice cream or plan a just-filling baked seitan salad.

  9. Megan

    Right now I am eating whole wheat toast and an apple. Later I will eat a smoothie, green with fruits and some pea, hemp and rice protein! Then a HUGE salad! For dinner, not sure yet, I will report back 🙂

  10. Meg B

    We eat only the most delicious foods and meals ever! And if you do it right, you can eat 5 meals a day and not gain an ounce 😉

  11. Ross

    Whole wheat tacos with cilantro rice, sauteed tofu, homemade salsa, avocado and a little daiya cheese melted on top 🙂

  12. cassandra

    Taco slop, basicly tortillas and what ever fresh veggies I have in the house made in a casserole dish!

  13. Vegetarian Mommy

    What do Vegans eat? Lots of nuts! Check out this recipe for Raw Energy Bliss Balls… mmmm….

  14. Julia

    Organic whole wheat pasta and cashew “cheez” sauce. Also lots and lots and lots of organic fair trade coffee. Planning a huge pile of broccoli later. My midterm study snacks totally beat omni junk food.

  15. Maria

    Vegans eat…a lot! This here vegan is about to tuck into a sandwich and butternut squash soup…

  16. Megan

    Right now for my mid afternoon snack I had hemp plus oatmeal with blueberries, chia seeds and some peanut butter! YUM!

  17. Jen

    They eat tofu steaks over a bed of arugula with water sauteed mushrooms, onions and garlic AND mashed potatoes!

  18. Jim

    This past Saturday, my neighborhood had the annual Chili party. I made a Three Bean with Garden Fresh Vegetables. As an organic gardener for over 24 years, I used 4 kinds of peppers, 3 kinds of tomatoes, herbs, and garlic, plus onions and a can of corn for color. My wife said she did not even miss the meat and non of the neighbors complained

  19. megan

    For dinner we had whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce, mushrooms and some boca ground crumbles. On the side we had baked butternut squash. We also had steamed broccoli and kale! Yum!

  20. jesi

    tahini, kale, Daiya cheese, French baguette, and chili peppers!

    btw if anyone has a recipe that utilizes all of these ingredients, please, please, please let me know!

  21. Vegan Spark

    those ingredients would make a great panini. Blend the tahini and the chili peppers and spread on the split baguette, sprinkle with the cheese and kale, and toast it in a pan with a weight on top.

  22. Veggie Spark

    Anything that doesn’t walk, crawl, swim, or fly. If it comes from something with a face and/or a heartbeat it’s off limits.

  23. Kris

    This morning’s vegan meal is steel cut oats cooked with dried figs and cinnamon, topped with sliced almonds. Yum!

  24. Nat

    wow you guys are awesome – I’m still running the giveaway through tomorrow! you can enter again 🙂

  25. Maria

    Vega protein shakes! And later tonight, a burrito with roasted veggies on the side…mmm…

  26. Mellisa

    Favorite foods I cook for myself (which is saying something because I don’t cook much!): Vegan Blueberry pancakes for breakfast, Mock Tuna or Egg Salad sandwiches for lunch, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan for supper.

  27. Judith

    Leafy greens, fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, fungus, seaweeds & yeasts 🙂

    Today I’m having black eyed peas & barley soup over cornbread.
    I eat simple foods; beans and grains in their multitude of combinations are my mainstay.

  28. Vanessa

    For lunch I had a homeade veggie lentil burger topped with avacado, arugula, sprouts, onions, tomatoes & pickles all in a freshly baked 5 seed whole wheat bun! it was WOW!

  29. Becca

    What don’t we eat?! Pie, cookies, homemade pop tarts, oatmeal, bean burgers, asparagus… Yum.

  30. Veggie

    Great article, Natala. You put a lot of work into this. SO many great vegan healthy options for easy meals at home or out!

  31. Nat

    Thanks – I should like to the new college vegan cookbook! That looks like it has a lot of easy vegan stuff in it. Maybe that will be my follow up – easy vegan resources.

  32. Amy

    Am driving the 2 hours to the nearest Trader Joe’s on Friday and bringing the cooler!! 🙂

  33. Nat

    Oh good! Let me know if you need any suggestions. I have been really liking trader joes – especially the selection of nuts, dried fruits – makes for yummy trail mixes.

  34. Mark

    Great advice, Nat! One of my favorite easy meals is good ol’ spaghetti. I boil pasta, make sure I’m using vegan sauce, maybe throw in a few meat-free meatballs, and voila! I usually add a large green salad on the side. I probably eat this four times a month.

  35. Leslie

    Great suggestions! My favorite fast breakfast is a piece of Ezekiel bread toasted and covered in something like hummus or vegan pesto. It’s really satisfying and filling. I take a banana, bag of spinach leaves, and maybe some crackers for snacking at work. Herbal tea is good all day too.

  36. cherry

    Really like the advice on eating out, Natalamc. I used to eat out quite often but always end up going to the same restaurants because I was afraid there might not be any vegan options in others.

    I think I will try Mexican more often now I found a place with vegan burritos.

  37. Ginny

    Wow, great suggestions! I’m going to bookmark this. My fave protein bar for snacks right now is Luna Bar, which is vegan and found just about everywhere.

  38. Alex

    Nice one Natala! I would also suggest in the eating out section that Lebanese restaurants are your friends too: falafel, pita bread, taboule, humus… all of those are vegan, very tasty and very good for you 😉

    I was so glad to read that your favorite vegan shake is Vega, I haven’t tried it yet but I am reading the book written by the dude who started Vega. His name is Brendan Frazier and his book is called ‘the thrive diet’ and yes, it’s like the 3rd time I mention the book in your comments section 😀
    But seriously this book is so interesting that I can’t put it down! He talks about energy efficient food, the different sort of stress and stimulation that we experience through what we eat… I love it!

    Take care,

    Alex

  39. veronikag

    My favorite easy meal is wraps. Always have a variety of tortillas on hand and just thorwn what ever is at hand. Great way to get rid of leftovers & kids can add just the stuff they like.

  40. Niki

    Great post Natala!

    I also live on nuts and fruit for snacks during the day.

    For easy lunches, piling a bunch of veggies into a tortilla with humus is great – and you can add premarinated tofu into it too.

    My other easy lunch is wholemeal pita bread with a selection of dips (humus, harissa, pumpkin.. all sorts, just check the ingreds) plus some brocolli or celery for the dips too. Yum.

    Easy dinner is vegan spaghetti bolognaise – can of tomatoes, can of lentils, herbs, garlic, onion, maybe a bit of stock powder or tomato paste for flavour. Then whack in some baby spinach leaves at the end and serve over pasta.

  41. Jenna

    Hi…I would like to go vegan (have been vegetarian for about a year) but I am worried about adequate nutrition. I was wondering if there are any charts out there that tell you how much of the various nutrients (protein, calcium, vitamin D, viatmin B12, etc) that you should be eating daily. Ideally, I would like something I could hang on the fridge. Thanks!

Nat
I went on a plant based diet after diabetes almost took my life. Now, almost 2 years later not only have I reduced my type 2 diabetes symptoms, I have lost close to 200 pounds (and still losing). This is a place where I write about my journey as I continue the quest for health, and living a good life for today, and long into the future. Get hold of me on [email protected]

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