I love meal planning. And while I’m a beginner vegan, I feel that for any diet change to be successful, you need a good plan. At my house, I use apps, calendars, and lists to plan out meals and I shop and prep on the weekends. Sometimes I prep a whole meal ahead of time or I just plan the meals I’ll eat every day and do the cooking when the time comes.
Meal planning can be so simple and make your life a lot easier. The dishes and cleanup are more manageable when food is pre-prepped. It’s easier to eat healthy when I know I have a great dinner to look forward to. And the leftovers make next-day lunch a breeze too. I’m going to share my meal planning tips so vegan eating can get a little easier for you too.
Use Tech Tools
I bet you didn’t expect to learn about tech and apps in a vegan article, but here we are. To effectively meal plan without pulling my own hair out, I use some convenient tools.
Trello or Evernote is where I recommend storing recipes. I can share them with my roommate so we both have access on any device. I store my favorite recipes in there along with some new recipes to try. This really helps when it comes time to set my meal plan for the week but can’t think of what I’ll want to eat. I just go through the list and pick out whatever sounds good.
Then, I use Any.do to create a grocery list for the week. I usually stand in the kitchen naming off ingredients from the recipe and checking to see if we need more. The list makes it super easy to organize items by the departments they are found in the grocery store.
I also use Pinterest and Flipboard to find new vegan recipes and snack ideas. And my meal plan for the week is on my Calendar so I can quickly see what to expect for dinner that night.
Plan “Eat Out” Days
My meal plan always includes at least one “eat-out” day. I know there is usually going to be one night where I don’t feel like cooking. If this happens on an evening that I planned to cook, I can either switch the plan around, or I know that I’ve got an eat-out night coming up and suddenly I don’t feel so lazy.
The tough part is knowing where I can get a good vegan meal. This requires a little planning too. Whether you’re looking for a brunch spot in your area or a quick and easy dinner, search local listings ahead of time to find vegan-friendly restaurants.
Planning eat-out meals ahead of time gives me the flexibility I need to stick to my plan. Life can be unpredictable and you don’t want to be the stiff vegan friend that declines every invite because it doesn’t fit into your meal plan.
Find Good Recipes
You will fail at meal planning if you constantly plan and eat the same meals. To succeed, you need to make a regular effort to find new and exciting recipes. You’ll also need some good and easy recipes that you can do any night.
As I mentioned, Pinterest and Flipboard are good resources for finding new vegan recipes. Here are a few to get you started:
Homecooked Vegan Enchiladas look like an easy comfort food option.
Vegan Spinach Lasagna Rollups with herbed Cashew Ricotta if you’re feeling fancy.
Don’t forget dessert! Make room for some Seriously Delicious Vegan Cheesecake.
A successful meal plan uses tech tools to stay organized, plans for a little wiggle room with eat-out nights, and is always exciting with new recipes every week. Good luck!