Whether you are new to a plant-based life or you have been eating animal free for years, there are days you don’t want to have to think too much about your next meal nor do you want to find some of those tricky ingredients. I have put together some easy and fast tricks that you can use to make your meal prep a breeze.
Something I always do when I am grocery shopping, is to stock up on plant-based items that are on sale. So even if I don’t really need another tin of chickpeas or a bag of frozen kale, if it is on sale, I grab another one. Stocking up on just a few ingredients will make your meal planning much easier. In my pantry I always try and have several tins of beans – black, pinto, chickpeas and kidney; cans of cooked tomatoes and even cans of veggies (some people frown on canned veggies, but for the most part they are pretty good); bags of red and green lentils, rice, couscous; instant oatmeal; mushroom and veggie stock; canned coconut milk; nut butter; seeds and nuts (including flax and hemp seeds); breads and bagels; oils and vinegars; and loads of dried spices and nutritional yeast. I make sure my freezer is filled with frozen veggies and fruits (these are delicious and quite often much less expensive than fresh and obviously last longer); some convenience food like vegan pizza, veggie pot stickers or a mac and cheese. Lastly, I keep pre-made sauces; tofu; pickles; olives; nut milk; vegan butter; and fresh veggies in my fridge.
With a basic stocked pantry/freezer/fridge you can easily put together fast and delicious meals. Let’s start with some quick breakfast ideas.
1) Nut butter toast with sliced bananas and Chia seeds – Most bread and bagels are vegan but just check before you buy. Slather on your fav nut butter on two pieces of whole grain toast, add a sliced banana and sprinkle with Chia or Hemp seeds.
2) Instant Oatmeal with apples and spices – Make your instant oatmeal and top with diced apple and your fav spices. I use cinnamon, maple syrup and cardamom. Then sprinkle it with hemp or chia seeds and top with a little nut milk if you like. You can add any type of fruit and even use frozen.
3) Breakfast smoothie – there is no limit really to what you can add to this fast breaky meal. I always use whatever frozen fruit I have, some frozen kale or spinach, hemp and or chia seeds, cinnamon and nut milk. Sometimes I change it up by adding nut butter or instant espresso powder.
4) Avocado bagel/toast – Another simple and delicious meal! I mash my avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper and often top it with sliced tomato, bean sprouts or even pickled jalapeno, but you can get creative with whatever you have in your fridge. A trick to keeping your avo’s at the ripeness we like is to put the unripe fruit in the fridge and take one at a time out and set on your counter – after a day or two it will be at the prefect ripeness. Also, if you are looking for a lower carb option, skip the bread and add diced tomatoes, jarred peppers (sweet or hot), some nutritional yeast and chopped cilantro.
5) Overnight oats – These couldn’t be simpler because you make them the night before and they take only minutes to prepare. The choices here are endless but basically you add about 1/3 cup of instant oats along with the same amount of nut milk, then top with frozen berries, hemp, flax or chia seeds, and any spices you like to any type of container – I use mason jars because they hold the perfect amount and are transportable. Place the container in the fridge overnight and in the morning, they will be ready when you are.
6) Smoothie bowl – This is completely customizable and is a great way to use up fruits in your fridge or freezer. Basically, this is a smoothie but just thicker and you eat it with a spoon. So just prepare your fav smoothie and don’t add as much liquid. Put it into a bowl, top with more fruit if you like and sprinkle with nuts or seeds.
7) Breakfast Burrito – these will take a bit more prep time than a smoothie or toast, but the good thing is you can make a bunch up on the weekend and freeze them. Take one out the night before and put in your fridge. The sky is the limit with the fillings and a quick google search will give you hundreds of recipes but essentially, they are filled with either scrambled tofu or egg replacements, some beans, cooked or fresh veggies, some spices and plant-based cheese if you like. In mine, I include scrambled tofu which I add salt, pepper and ground cumin to while cooking; drained black beans, chopped avo and tomato, some salsa and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to a whole wheat tortilla.
8) Bacon and eggs – That is tempeh bacon and scrambled tofu. Most grocery stores stock tempeh bacon and it cooks very fast. Putting together a tofu scramble (firm tofu crumbled with your fingers, frozen kale, nutritional yeast, some chili powder, salt and pepper) takes only a couple of minutes, then fry up some tempeh bacon, add sliced tomato and your breakfast is done.
9) English muffin breaky sandwich – Once again, the sky is the limit! One that I love includes mashed chickpeas with ground cumin, sliced tomato and avo, vegan cheese and salsa. I put the ingredients on a toasted English muffin and put it in the microwave for a few seconds or under the broiler in the oven. So good and so easy!
10) Really lazy options – There are tons of prepared plant-based food options in your grocers’ freezers and shelves. Try vegan waffles topped with frozen fruit (heated up on the stove with a touch of water), maple syrup and hemp seeds. A bowl of cereal with sliced banana and chia seeds takes zero effort. Or a big plate of sliced fruit is another simple choice!
Whatever options you choose, eating a plant-based breakfast is much easier than it may seem. It is simple, delicious and animal free - good for you, the planet and the animals!