Switching to a vegan meal plan might seem overwhelming if you are unsure about planning a healthy and balanced vegan meal. Planning a meal include deciding on the recipes and foods that you will eat. Vegan meal planning can be a great way to ease into diet changes, save time, and ensure that all the nutrient requirements are met.
Why Should You Plan Your Meals?
Meal planning can help you ensure that you have a stress free week ahead. Planning your meals in advance will provide you many conveniences. Some of them are:
- Less decision making while shopping for groceries
- Easy decision making
- Trying a variety of recipes in the kitchen
In the case of plant-based diets, there are some more reasons why meal planning is important.
- Plant-based diets might need more work in the kitchen
- More nutrient considerations are needed to have a plant-based menu that is balanced on nutrients.
- As many of the plant-based food items are perishable, it will be a good idea to have a plan to use produce wisely. It can help reduce wastage and save money.
Creating A Balanced Vegan Meal
While creating a balanced vegan meal plan, the first step is to decide on the level of detail that you require in your meal plan. Many people like to plan their dinner and one or two snacks and there are many others who like to plan all the meals for the week. Moreover, it is usual to plan weekdays and leave the weekends free.
If you are just starting your vegan meal planning, it will be a good idea to start with one meal to plan, else, you might feel overwhelmed planning for the complete week. You need to consider the time of the day or meal that is the biggest struggle for you and plan for that meal. After deciding on how much planning you want, you can follow the steps shared below to have a balanced vegan meal plan.
Decide The Recipes
In this step, you need to choose the recipes that are necessary to get through the week. You might have the same recipe twice or you may need a new recipe each day. Do not forget to include a yield in your recipes so that you will be able to know the portions that each recipe makes. Moreover, you need to make use of your personal judgment to find if one of these portions is enough for you.
Tips To Have Recipe Variety In A Vegan Meal Plan
One of the many reasons why people fall out of meal planning is that they get bored eating the same things or they get tired of having the same flavor. To overcome this, you may:
Categorize The Recipes By Flavor
Categorizing the recipes will help you choose recipes from varying flavors every week.
Try New Recipes
Always make sure to have a list that includes new recipe ideas you wish to try and plan to try at least one new recipe every week, every other week or month, whichever is comfortable for you.
Check The Nutrition
The recipes that you decide to include in your vegan diet plans are hopefully balanced nutritionally. But, this may not be the case every time and you need to do a nutrition check for the recipes that you have decided to include in your meal plan. There are two ways to check the nutrition of a recipe.
- Check the breakdown of nutrition of the recipe
- Look for a variety of ingredients or food groups among the recipes
Checking The Breakdown Of Nutrition
While checking for the nutrition breakdown of a recipe, keep an eye out for proteins, iron, calcium, zinc, Vitamin D, iodine, and Omega 3s. Vitamin B12 is also important and it is usually recommended to supplement vegan diets with B12.
Checking Nutrition Based On Food Groups
If you are planning to have a variety, you can aim for recipes that include whole grains, fruits, legumes, seeds, vegetables, and nuts. Adding these items to your vegan meal plan can ensure proper nutrition.
Put It Together
After checking that your recipes will offer balanced nutrients, the next thing to do is to put together your vegan meal plan. You can note down what recipes you will have for which meal on which days of the week. Using a planner or a calendar can help make the job easy. You can note down the days of the week on a side and the recipes to use that day near to it. It is also important for you to keep in mind the schedule for the week as it can help avoid confusion later.
Congrats, now you have a vegan meal plan that is balanced and healthy.