Vegan Menu Planning: Ideas, Tips and Tricks.

Hello Snuggle Friends! How was your week this week? Mine was just fine. Just continuing my journey of getting in touch with my hippie self. Ok, that’s enough of that. So I was out grocery shopping with my husband and he is always asking me to help him plan a healthier menu for the week. Then the light bulb went off in my little head and it occurred to me that I would like share with you all some tips on menu planning.

Now since I am vegan, this is an essential part of my week. Personally, I have a very hard time winging my grocery list and then whipping up delectable delights to fit in with all of the food stuffs that I bought. It just doesn’t work. I either end up throwing out a bunch of produce or eating out because I’m missing one crucial ingredient to make anything. Total waste of money. To help me cut down quite a bit on the spontaneity of my shopping trips I subscribe to my weekly  CSA box and this really helps with saving on the grocery bill and prevents me from buying a lot of junk food.

So with that being said, Here’s what I do to plan my food week.

  • Consult my weekly email to see what I’m getting for the week. My CSA usually send me a list of about 7-9 items I will be getting in my weekly share. Sometimes they make a last-minute switch but most of the time the list is finalized before they charge your card.
  • Consult my foray of cookbooks to see what fits with my box. If I have all the ingredients for something, then all the better. Otherwise I look for things where I can use staples and I only need to buy a couple of complimentary items.
  • From the recipes that I choose, I plan out breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole week. This usually means that I eat the same thing for a few days in a row, but that has never bothered me, growing up in a family that pretty much always had leftovers.
  • Afterwards, I run to my local Whole Foods or farmers market, depending on the day, and grab what I need. I try to stay on target but sometimes I can get delayed and distracted. (Ahem, the Whole Body section is ah-mazing!)
  • Then I usually reserve Sunday evenings to get most of my menu cooked because ain’t nobody got time to cook during the week. (Or at least this girl doesn’t).

So a typical breakfast for me is pretty light since I have a hard time eating in the morning. I focus mostly on fruit and if I have the time I add oatmeal with nuts and seeds on top. Right now I’m really digging my Peanut Butter Banana Boats.

  • What I do is slice a banana down the middle. I then spread any type of nut butter that tickles my fancy (right now it’s Trader Joe’s Sunflower Butter-OMG delish!) Then I sprinkle granola on top and add a few dates or whatever fruit I have on hand to the side. It doesn’t sound like much but I find it quite filling.

Peanut butter banana, vegan, breakfast

Lunch is usually some type of greens and a soup or sandwich of some kind.

  • Since I am getting a butt load of kale and other dark leafy greens right now, my salads are typically very green with some other veggies thrown on top. I like to add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds for added nutrition and texture as well as dried cranberries.
vegan pumpkin soup

Pair pumpkin soup with a leafy green salad and you have an antioxidant party on a plate.

Dinner is usually my more elaborate dish.

  • I like to do some kind of rice or pasta dish. For example, a really simple red beans and rice or pad thai. This is were I feel I can get really creative. Some of my other dinner favorites are spaghetti squash with marinara, vegan nachos, or chickpea patties with mashed sweet potatoes.

And then sometimes I like to throw in dessert.

If you have trouble menu planning, there are some great apps out there that you can download for your iPad or iPhone or whatever gadget you have that are awesome at helping you plan shit out. My app of choice is the Whole Foods app. It’s free and you can do all kinds of neat stuff with it and it has options for showing only specific menu ideas to cater to all diets. I love doing this on my iPad because then my grocery list and menu plan are all on one device and that saves paper (you know once you save paper you should probably go hug a tree or something) Another great tool is just using a dry erase board. Yeah you can get a pretty big piece of dry erase board at Home Depot for about $2 and you can mount it on your wall with something sticky (I use velcro) or whatever you have. It’s pretty awesome, I’m not gonna lie.

So have fun with this. Food is supposed to be fun not boring. Think of creative ways to use your leftovers in another dish to make them exciting. For example, make extra rice one night for stir fry and then create some delicious soup the next night and just add your left over rice. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.

whole foods, vegan, menu planning

Even Calypso can get excited about grocery shopping!

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