Hi All! I’m continuing my three part post series all about my switched to a plant based vegan diet. You can read part one here about why I switched and part two here about how it changed my health, specifically migraines and infertility. Today I am excited to share what to eat on a plant based vegan diet. Specially, easy vegan recipes. This has been your most asked question! Below I am breaking things into:
- My main resources
- Easy plant based dinners
- Easy plant based lunches
- What my family eats
What to Eat on a Plant Based Vegan Diet – My Main Resources
As I shared in post one, I primarily read How Not to Die and have used the How Not to Die Cookbook as my main resource for easy vegan recipes. The second book I read is called Plant-Strong and includes recipes. For the most part everything we eat besides what you see below is found in one of those two books. I have found them to be very informative and for the most part easy to recreate. No crazy ingredients, etc. If you’re starting out, I recommend purchasing, reading, and using one just as a starting place. Having one main source really helped me not get too overwhelmed. I also use Pinterest a lot and save recipes there. I’d love for you to follow along!
In practice, I meal plan for the whole week one time. I make one or two of the recipes for dinner from the above books and fill in with my own easy creations below. I try to pick one recipe that I think will feed us for two nights or double it so that it will. This helps me not be in the kitchen all the time.
Things I Always Have on Hand – Vegan Pantry Staples
- Sugar free, jarred marinara sauce
- Microwave brown rice
- Baby carrots
- Veggies to chop and add to anything or eat with hummus
- Canned beans/chickpeas
- Steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s
- Amy’s brand canned lentil soup
- Ezekiel 29 Bread – our favorite, whole bread (we freeze extras)
- Peanut Butter
- Chickpea or lentil pasta
- Nuts and/or trail mix
- Sweet potatoes
- Fresh fruit
- Frozen, steamable broccoli
- Frozen, steamable cauliflower rice
- Trader Joe’s stir fry rice
- Trader Joe’s gnocchi
- Frozen berries and bananas for smoothies
- Frozen spinach
Easy Plant Based Dinners
I decided the easiest way to share our favorite easy plant based dinners was to include screenshots from what I have shared on Instagram as they have text explaining them. You can find these and more on my “plant based” highlight via my Instagram profile. I always share what I am making in real time, so be sure to follow along! Most of these I have made up or they are pretty common, but they are the backbone of our diet making daily vegan cooking easy.
What to Eat on a Plant Based Vegan Diet – Lunch Ideas
When I started I found what to eat for lunch on a plant based diet more difficult than dinner because I didn’t want to have to cook twice, ugh. Since getting more used to living this way, it’s no longer a source of stress. Below are some of my favorites. I don’t have a photo, but I will also often make a large kale salad like the one pictured above and eat on it for a couple days. The same is true with a bean salad, or a layered salad bowl with quinoa.
Green Smoothies – A Vegan Staple
I also make a lot of giant, green smoothies. These help me get in all my greens and leave me feeling energized. I often make one at lunch accompanied by one piece of peanut butter or hummus toast. In the beginning, I felt like they were an obligation almost making them because I had to. Now that I have found a recipe I really enjoy, I look forward to them. They are so great because there are so many options! You can make one pretty sweet with dates without feeling guilty too if you need a sweet fix.
What Does Your Family Eat??
Most of you know I am married with a 3.5 year old and another sweet baby on the way. So what does my family eat?? I am SO fortunate that when I got my health diagnosis, my husband, Russ, was incredibly supportive of anything I needed to do to be well. He has happily eaten vegan with me since day one. I truly wouldn’t be able to do it without him. I can’t imagine trying to make multiple meals. He doesn’t stress as much about it, eats meat on work trips, etc. He calls himself vegan-ish. 😉 While at home though, he easily eats what I cook.
When it comes to Ivy Jean, I would say she is mostly vegetarian. I would never and have never forced any eating lifestyle on her. She does like and sometimes eats meat when we go out to eat. And don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t survive without frozen chicken nuggets. Ha! She loves mac and cheese too, so those are often what she eats when she doesn’t want our dinner.
That being said, she is a great eater. She LOVES hummus. As in, I think it is her favorite food. She often asks for brown rice mixed with hummus. She will also eat any fruit you put in front of her and asks for more steamed broccoli (to dip in hummus of course). When we eat lentil soup, pasta, or stir fried rice so does she. As for Mexican inspired dinners, she will usually eat beans, rice, and fruit. We also stock most of the traditional toddler favorites like Goldfish, pretzels (she loves them as a snack with hummus or peanut butter), apple sauce, graham crackers, yogurt, cheese sticks, etc.
So there you have it – what to eat on a plant based vegan diet including lots of easy recipes and vegan meal ideas. If you are considering this, I recommend just going for it! I went cold turkey so I could really see the health changes. That doesn’t mean you have to though. Try a couple things and see how it goes. It really did take a bit for me to mentally adjust and learn a new way of cooking. Now it is much more second nature. Let me know if you have any questions.