Meal planning is important for many reasons: planning saves time, allows you to ensure your diet is well-balanced, and helps you to keep within your food budget. Whether you are just now thinking of trying out the vegan lifestyle, or if you have been vegan for a while and want to create a sustainable meal plan, follow on for Vegan Meal Plan: 5 Tips for Creating One You Can Stick To!
1. Research, Research & Research!
The transition from another diet to a vegan diet is so much easier now than it would have been ten years ago, due to the vegan industry’s recent growth.
However, a lot of information that you’ll need to know, you’ll still need to look for! Luckily for you, recipes, how to maintain a balanced diet and get enough protein whilst you’re vegan, and many other things are easily found online nowadays.
So, before you start your vegan meal plan, make notes of the meals you wish to make, and research into how you can make sure you are getting all the right micro and macro nutrients. Make sure you look into as many sources as you can: ask friends, find recipes online, and get vegan cookbooks!
2. Write Down Your Favourite Alternatives
If you have been vegan for a while, I’ll bet you know what your favourite vegan cheese is! Whilst making your vegan meal plan, make sure you keep a list of your favourite alternative milks, cheeses, proteins and chocolates! This will make the process of planning much faster for you, and again, make sure you research along the way.
3. Variety is Key!
One of the things that will cause you to lose enthusiasm about your vegan meal plan is boredom.
Do not make, for instance, every Monday the same – you will soon get tired of the same preparation and tastes. Try not to have the same meal twice in the same week, also make use of different colours in your foods, different colours often mean different vitamins and minerals. Try new meals often too, there’s always new vegan food arriving on supermarket shelves!
4. Plan to Batch Cook & Make Use of Leftovers
Sometimes those following a vegan lifestyle overlook the importance of minimising waste. Cooking your meals in batches and freezing them for a later time uses less fuel, and is also a great time saver.
Remember to use your leftovers instead of throwing them away if you can – if you have leftover veggies from one of your meals, make a small soup as a snack the next day – never waste food!
Planning to cook enough to leave leftovers is important too if you like to buy veggies in big quantities to save money, then you can cook and freeze them (for 3-6 months) before they pass their expiry dates – now that’s pretty clever.
5. Remember to Add in Your Cheat Days
Following a meal plan is great for your physical health too; you can plan your food so that you get the exact amount of nutrients and calories you need per day. But it is impossible for anyone to stick to a meal plan with no breaks. Solution? Plan your breaks!
Add cheat days into your meal plans, where you can go off the regular timetable and treat yourself to an easy day of easy meals, or even treat yourself to a takeaway. That way, you won’t feel guilty if you cheat – because it was on your plan after all!
Everyone has their own way of planning their meals, whether it’s on paper and stuck on the fridge door, or entered into a complicated meal-planning app on your smartphone. Making a meal plan is especially important for vegans, since it can often be difficult to ensure you’re getting everything you need. Which tip did you find the most useful, and what ideas do you have for sticking to a vegan meal plan? Let us know in the comments below or join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!