With 9.7 million Americans opting for a plant-based diet, is it time to join the healthy and compassionate eating bandwagon? Many people recognize that veganism helps conserve the environment, is kinder to animals, and is suitable for health. However, they may hesitate before going vegan because they are concerned about how they will make new types of meals quickly and whether the ingredients will be more costly.
The secret to making new diets sustainable for the long-term and affordable is meal planning. But, just as impulse shopping can set your budget off course, deciding spontaneously what to eat can cause people to go back to their old habits, grab something unhealthy or spend too much.
Therefore, learning and mastering the art of meal prep can help you successfully adopt a plant-based diet. The following tips will get you into the habit of planning what you eat ahead of time.
- Start on Sunday Night
- Link the planned meals to your shopping schedule
- Have a few backup options
- Put the meals in convenient containers
- Have a few meals frozen
- Pack some snacks
Assuming you go to work on Monday, use Sunday night as an opportunity to plan the week. This is true of school preparation, your budget, housework schedules, and meal planning. You write out what you plan to eat the following week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and plan your shopping schedule accordingly. Sunday is also an excellent time to prep some meals, so you don’t need to worry about what you will eat when you get going on Monday.
Your meal planning should sync with your shopping schedule. This will prevent you from overspending at the grocery store and help you stick to your list and buy only what you need. In addition, you may notice that when you plan the week’s meals ahead of time before going shopping, your grocery bill may be much less, which will be easier on your pocketbook.
Always have a backup. That is true in many areas of life and also applies to meal planning. Not always meals turn out the way we expect. Something could get burned, or you may find that you don’t enjoy something. Have some extra salads, leftovers, a soup, something in the freezer or vegan spread, and healthy crackers to fall back on if a meal goes awry.
Think like a restaurant or a takeout place. Invest in individual portion containers that can be heated up quicklySo have or at least put your food in a dish ready to be heated up. If you are making stir fry, have everything cut up ahead of time and ready to go. It can be done the same day if it needs to be fresh, but putting them in Ziploc bags will keep them tasty.
In addition to having backup items in the refrigerator, keep a few individually wrapped things in the freezer. Then, when you feel tempted to order takeout and spend too much money, instead, you can take something out of the freezer and heat it for a meal in a few minutes.
Even with the best meal planning, there is no guarantee you won’t get hungry between meals. To avoid grabbing an expensive or unhealthy snack (after all, potato chips are vegan but not the best choice), always have some snacks with you, including nut-filled dates, homemade granola, roasted chickpeas, or halva. The secret to staying healthy and adhering to a vegan diet is consistency. Having snacks available will help you stay the course.
Meal Prep Takes the Guesswork and Expense out of the Vegan Diet
It can be annoying trying to figure out what to eat after a full day’s work. Take the guesswork out of the vegan diet with meal planning.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of our food bill is spent on eating out. Much of these are last-minute orders when we don’t know what else to eat. Deciding what to eat ahead of time can save thousands a year and is a fresher and healthier option.