Hi guys, today we’ll talk about how to start a vegan diet for beginners. You’ve decided you want to go vegan. Great stuff. But now, you need to actually start eating vegan.
To make things as easy as possible, I’ll share how I plan my vegan diet.
I have 10 tips that will make it easier, no matter of your lifestyle.
But before we dive in, let’s get real;
I know when we scroll down the Instagram there are absolutely gorgeous looking Buddha bowls and mouth-watering vegan desserts.
However, when reality kicks in and we come home from work later than expected, the cooking doesn’t look darn beautiful no matter which filter you put through.
My goal today isn’t to present you with amazingly easy and delicious vegan recipes (you can check my recipe section for that or social media).
My goal is to make your vegan start as easy as possible, to save you time, money and nerves..put down 10 tips that will hopefully keep you organised, well fed and happy.
The 10 tips to start a vegan diet for beginners are:
1. plan your weeks menu
2. have two interchangeable meals
3. leftover save the day
4. grain on the go
5. legume on the go
6. fresh veggies and fruits
7. smoothie jars
8. sauce it up
9. grocery list
10. jam it up
Tip #1: plan what you are going to eat over the week and stick to it.
Stick to it. It’ll make your life so much easier if you stick to your weekend diet plan. Changing your diet is also changing yourself and change takes discipline. That’s why, stick to it.
I recently read a quote: “Discipline is remembering what you want.”
Do some meal planning and some grocery shopping and some meal prep. This will save you time and money no matter what diet you eat.
I don’t know what your schedule is like, but I make my week’s meal planning on Saturday morning. I have a quiet cup of coffee and simply write down what I want to eat the coming week. I also do shopping on Saturday.
So pick a day that works best for you. It can be Saturday or Sunday or if you have a really flexible schedule, maybe a couple days a week that you can work on stuff and then stick to it and work on that for a while.
It’ll start to become a routine and then you’ll have to have made for the week and you’ll feel good to go so stick to the weeks menu plan.
Tip #2: decide on two interchangeable meals or recipes that you’d like to have an available for lunch and dinner.
What do I mean by that?
So, usually, I’ll have some mixed lettuce in a fridge for salad ready to make, as well as something more proper like a risotto or a curry and some burrito stuffing or something like that.
This way, I only have three or four foods but I can shift between them as I wish.
If I want one for dinner one day and one for lunch the next day I can swap, throw some salad with it and it’s done.
I can have the risotto with the salad. I can then put risotto leftover in a burrito with some veggies and it’s so easy.
Just by having at least two things made and ready to heat up, can make a huge difference. If you’re feeling really overwhelmed and can’t do divided, separate meals for each day and breakfast lunch dinner and all that, just pick two kinds of interchangeable lunch and dinner recipes and stick with that and that will be really helpful.
Tip #3: make enough food when you make a food to have a good amount of leftovers for the week.
Don’t just make one bowl meal for one particular meal. Instead, make it for 2 or 3 times and refrigerate it, freeze it, or have it available as leftovers. This can save you so much time.
Leftover are underrated guys.
When I make barley minestrone, I’ll just make it as much as I can, usually a whole pot and then have it for the week.
There’s always the evening situation of “What am I going to eat at work tomorrow?”. Leftovers will save you. Whatever you cook for dinner today, make some extra so you can lunchbox it for tomorrow.
Tip #4: make a large batch of some sort of grain.
Grains a super important part of any diet and since we threw out meat and dairy, there’s more space on the plate for grains.
What type of grain depends completely on your taste and preferences.
For me, it’s usually brown rice or barley (I love barley). Having some sort of large batch of grain on hand helps heaps.
This way you can quickly add some veggies and legumes to it and have a quick meal if you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like cooking much.
Tip #5: have a large batch of some sort of legume as well.
Black beans, Kidney beans, Pinto beans..beans in general. Then lentils, peas and chickpeas.
I cook mine in my instant pot – if you want a recipe for one pot veggie barley soup, then definitely check out Vegan for beginners Facebook group. I have instant pot recipes other vegan recipes all that useful stuff so check it out.
By making sure you have a large batch of a grain and a large batch of legumes, you’re 2/3 done with meal prepping.
Tip #6: stock up on fresh veggies and fruits.
You’ll need them for snacking, for salads, for bowls, etc.
One of the biggest hindrances is when you’re hangry you just want something! to eat and having healthy snacks ready is a big relief.
You can cut carrots into stick and have them with hummus, or celery.
Sure, junk food Friday is all good and much deserved treat but in between, try to snack on the healthy veggies, fruits, dry fruits, etc..
Tip #7: make smoothie jars.
Are you a smoothie lover that’s always running late in the mornings?
Prepare a smoothie jar a day before, or a zip lock bag. Whatever works best for you and your schedule.
Simply put your smoothie ingredients in a jar or zip lock and in the morning, put it in a blender, add some water and blend. Done.
Doing this, will probably save you 10 minutes at least. 10 minutes to sleep longer.
Tip #8: sauce it up, dress it up.
Before I went vegan I put sour cream on everything, or butter or cheese. I love creamy dishes.
When I started my vegan diet I missed that creaminess and I didn’t take a lot of effort to properly research what’s the vegan substitute for sour cream.
I think this lack of creaminess can be a deal breaker for people starting a vegan diet.
So what I suggest is to pick one sauce, for the week and learn how to use it. I’m currently a big fan of vegan substitute for sour cream – made of cashews.
Having a sauce or dressing or something creamy on the hand is super super helpful to have, specially in transition stage.
There’re tons a different kinds of recipes. You can do it yourself as long as you have a powerful food processor or blender, and it’s not expensive to do it. Do a little Pinterest search and see what out there. People have different tastes and we come from different cuisine regions, so find something that sounds good to you and make or buy that.
Tip #9: keep a grocery list on your fridge and feel it our as you go.
Having a grocery list on your fridge is super convenient. When you’re cooking and notice you are completely out of pasta or beans or whatever ingredient, you can write it down right away.
That way you keep track what’s in your kitchen and what you need. And when you make a list to go to the store you already know most of what you need. Use the fridge grocery list for you grocery shopping.
You can also have a little separate section where you put down other things you want to add based on what you want to make that week.
You can call them “Need” and “Want” grocery list.
Tip #10: don’t take it too seriously, you’re doing great.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with difficult recipes and fancy ingredients. Choose the dishes you would usually eat and tweak them into vegan. Pasta, risotto, salads, soups, etc. are easily veganised. You probably already eat some vegan dishes and on’t even notice it.
Starting a vegan diet for beginners isn’t difficult. Like with any other diet, large batches, freezing, leftovers, some basic prepping and grocery lists will make it easy to stick with starting the diet.
Planning a diet and meal prep doesn’t have to be boring.
Put on some music, dance and have a quality me time. That’s what I do: lately, I’ve been listening to Elderbrook pretty much all the time and I have such a jam prepping food for the week. It sort of became “my day” and I love it.
What I’m trying to say is, make it enjoyable. Whatever vibes with you is good.
Maybe you have children that you can include and involve them in food. Kids tend to eat better and try more new foods if they’re involved in decision-making when cooking and such.
Maybe you have an audio book that you don’t get a chance to listen to. Or you don’t get enough of You time and can do something similar as I do.
Again everyone’s different and you have to find what works for you. Food is an important part of our lives that we kind of pushed aside and started to think of it as a chore. It’s not. It’s a part of who we are, what you eat becomes you – literally you. So it is important to feed yourself well and enjoy it.
Don’t overwhelm yourself and do it at your pace.
Also remember that meal doesn’t have to look instaworthy. What you see on social media, cookbooks, magazines and blogs are professionally styled foods. Yes, people have carriers making food look you just want to devour.
I hope this was a helpful post. I hope that you found inspiration for how to save some time in the kitchen and make meal planning easy.
If you liked what you’ve read, please leave a comment bellow so we can chat some more. Your comment help to push this post so more people can read it and find the info they were looking for.
You can also find me on social platforms, under the “Vegan for beginners”..just click that FB icon below and I’ll talk to you soon.
I love hearing from you guys.
Till next time,