In our everyday lives, we put together meal plans all the time. Whether it's for a nice dinner to serve in-laws, quick bagged lunches for your kids, or nightly dinners for the family, we always have to piece together healthy, balanced meals.
Whether you're heavily involved in carpools and PTA meetings, or you have an important career to fuel and support, it's often hard to find time to cook. By the time you get home and actually have a spare minute, the last thing you want to do is actually think about what to cook. While takeout may be easier, it gets expensive in a hurry, and it almost never tastes as good as homemade.
Even though the internet is stocked with amazing vegetable recipes and you have a shelf full of vegan cookbooks, when there's little time, you need more than a cookbook or a recipe. You need a plan.
We do not want to have to pry open a few cookbooks every night to come up with one creative, nutritious, and delicious meal. We do not want it to be gourmet or difficult, but just simple, whole foods put together in a delicious fashion. We do not want to stare into the fridge looking for inspiration, we want to know up front what we need for the week.
We do want to spend time with our family and friends, not planning out our week.
To make a balanced vegetable meal, keep these points in mind:
- Half your meal should be a mixture of vegetables and fruits, and the more diverse and colorful, the better
- One quarter of your plate should be whole grains like quinoa, millet, oats, wheat, or rice
- One quarter of your plate should be beans, giving yourself a variety each day
I do not think it's absolutely necessary for most people to worry about proportion size, as long as they take their time eating and really think about whether or not they need to keep eating. A controlled eater eats food, chews and swallows, and then decides whether or not to keep eating. When you are eating whole plant foods, even some overeating is not going to be devastating to your body.
If you have trouble controlling your eating, keep a food journal and try to stick to the recommendations of the vegan food pyramid:
- 6-11 servings whole grains per day (1/2 cup hot or 1 oz is a serving)
- 3-6 servings vegetables (1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked or juice is a serving)
- 2-4 servings fruits (1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked or juice is a serving)
- 2-3 servings beans (1/2 cup beans or 4 oz seeds is a serving)
- 2-3 servings fortified milk substitutes (8 oz. Is a serving)
What more can we do to make a balanced meal every day?
1. We need a weekly vegan meal plan
2. We need a grocery list that corresponds exactly with the plan
3. We'd like the nutritional information for each recipe
4. We want seasonal, fresh, whole, normal (not gourmet) foods
5. We want pictures to see what the end result should be