Menu planning is critical for success with any healthy eating plan and is particularly helpful with a vegan, whole food plant based diet. I see what’s in my CSA box and plan accordingly.
Caramelized Onion, garlic pizza. This pizza looks perfect but I want to add sun-dried tomato and spinach to mine. The white cashew garlic sauce looks amazing for pizza or pasta.
Tabouli and roasted chic peas. Roast seasoned cooked chic peas on parchment paper covered sheet pan at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. I use Trader Joe’s everyday seasoning.
Lentil beef, zucchini boats: Scoop out the center of a long cut zucchini and fill with lentil “beef”, Italian herbs and quinoa. Top with marinara sauce and bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
Vegan Enchiladas: These look great with cauliflower walnut “meat” and cashew cheese sauce. There is also a recipe for homemade enchiladas sauce. Nora Cooks is a terrific vegan blog.
Meal planning and prep is particularly helpful when eating a plant diet. I batch cook quinoa, barley or wild rice for quick additions to salads or soups. I buy canned beans like pinto, chic peas or kidney beans or I presoak and cook them in the instapot. Legumes are always in my refrigerator. I wash multiple greens every week from my CSA basket so I can grab kale, spinach, arugula or lettuce for lunch and dinner. I wash and shred purple cabbage every week. I cut up melon and or pineapple every week and you will always find apples in my refrigerator.
Just like you, if I don’t have foods prepared then I get discouraged and go looking for unhealthy food to eat. We do keep some vegetarian Indian meals from Trader Joe’s in the freezer for nights when I don’t want to cook but you can bet that there is a salad and fruit on the table too. I also have whole multigrain bread and peanut butter for emergency snacks. I keep a supply of pasta and jarred marinara sauce which can be jazzed up with lots of vegetables and legumes in minutes.
Every day I try to eat grains, beans, berries, greens and cruciferous vegetables, an apple, nuts or seeds, flax seed and coffee. I make almond milk every other day for my coffee. Rinse and repeat. There are a million ways to mix up and season these power foods so I haven’t been bored eating only plants.
If you’re interested in the science behind a whole food plant based diet these are good sources of information.
NutritionFacts.org Has free videos by Michael Greger, MD discussing the latest research data in WFPB diets without a commercial bias. He wrote the book, How Not to Die.
Neil Barnard, MD at Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine Has a 21 Day Vegan Kick Start plan to get you started. He’s very entertaining and there is lots of free information here.
The Food Revolution Network is also a great resource.