I often joke about the fact that if I had a private chef, I could be 100% vegan. I absolutely love plant-based foods and I am not the girl that craves bacon or a big juicy steak. The biggest hurdle I have had to overcome during this challenge with One Meal a Day is figuring out what I am going to eat each day. Meal planning has never been a strength of mine, and if I’m not going to the store at least twice a week, I’m definitely doing something wrong : ). In partnership with One Meal a Day, I have decided to replace one meal each day with a plant-based dish free from dairy, eggs, and meat. Last week, I shared some tips on How To Get Started With a Plant-Based Diet. One of my best tips is to plan your meals. In order to help you prep, I’m sharing a Vegan Shopping List with some of my favorite foods.
Meal Planning and Why It Is Essential For Plant-Based Diets
It isn’t uncommon for me to get home after my kids’ sports and after-school activities, and stare blankly at the refrigerator, willing for it to tell me what to cook. Even more common is actually dreaming up a brilliant recipe, only to find out that I’m missing half of the ingredients (or worse, one). There are so many benefits to meal planning, not the least of which is the time you’ll save going to the grocery store every other day.
To follow a plant-based diet, meal-planning really is essential. Having a week’s worth of meal ideas and the groceries needed to prepare those meals will save you time and money (since you will be less tempted to eat out). You will also be more likely to stick with your plant-based diet if you have everything you need to prepare your vegan meals.
Vegan Shopping List
One Meal a Day has a comprehensive resource on How to Stock Your Plant-Based Kitchen. To complement that resource, I thought I’d share some of my personal kitchen staples, particularly since most of the meals I create are kid-friendly.
- Fruits & Vegetables: We happen to live in a state where most of the country’s produce is grown, so our selection of seasonal produce is expansive. I also strive to purchase organic and locally-grown produce when possible (try your local Farmer’s Market). If you do not have access to organic produce or it is too expensive, at the very least strive to purchase these 12 fruits and vegetables in organic, locally-grown varieties. Since some produce only lasts a few days, consider buying frozen varieties to complement your meals.
- Whole Grains: When you shop for whole grains, be sure to read the label to confirm that the breads and cereals you are purchasing are in fact 100% whole grain. Our favorites include brown rice, quinoa, steel cut oats, farro, and wraps/tortillas.
- Legumes: Legumes are one of my favorite ways to get in my daily source of protein and fiber. Lentils, whole beans (white, kidney, black, pinto, navy, garbanzo), and edamame are excellent sources of nutrients and help our meals feel satiating. Some of my favorite ways to use legumes include soups, stews, and chilis. You can also serve them as a side or include them in wraps, salads, and tacos.
- Seeds and Nuts: If your family does not have a nut allergy, I recommend adding a variety of nuts and nut butters to your pantry. Snack on nuts in between meals or make your own trail mix using a combination of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. You can also include nuts and seeds in your baked goods such as muffins and breads. Additionally, have a supply of flax, chia, and/or hemp seed on hand to add to smoothies and baked goods.
- Dairy Alternatives: Replacing dairy has admittedly been my biggest challenge. I do not tend to eat much soy, so finding nut-based alternatives has been a challenge. Most grocery stores now sell nut milks and milk made from pea protein. You could also opt for rice or coconut milk. Nut-based cheeses, yogurts, and ice cream are also available at natural markets and can be substituted for dairy in most dishes including baked goods.
The One Meal a Day Challenge
Now that you have a Vegan Shopping List and some Tips for Starting a Plant-Based Diet, I encourage you to join the One Meal a Day Challenge. Simply swap out one meat and dairy-rich meal every day and see an improvement in your health while making a difference for the planet. Sign up for the OMD newsletter and take the challenge today!