I want to share with you some helpful hints on how cooking low-fat vegan and plant-based meals at home can fit into your schedule and help you on your way to losing weight without too much fuss.

1. Plan in advance what you will be eating (at least 5 days a week) breakfast and lunch and then 4 or 5 nights for dinner if you like.

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Take a few minutes to write down some ideas for what you enjoy eating (that is healthy and nutritious) and what you think you can manage preparing for the week. It is very hard to stick to a healthy diet if you don’t do this crucial first step in figuring out your meal options.

2. Shop once a week on a weekend for all the food you will be eating throughout the week.

Know how many fruits, veggies, and bags of salad you will need for the week and keep it on hand. If you have healthy items in the fridge, you are more likely to eat them than if you have nothing around when you’re short on time and have hunger pangs. Also, cleaning out your fridge regularly and keeping it organized will help you see not only what you have to work with, but also prevent you from letting food go to waste by spoiling or freezing if it’s stuck at the back of the fridge.

3. Eat the same (or very similar) thing for breakfast and lunch during the week to keep things simple.

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Studies have shown those who eat the same healthy breakfast or lunch every day have an easier time sticking to their diet plans and reaching their goal weight. Control temptation for eating on the go and grabbing takeout by planning in advance and eating meals you love every day during the week.

Breakfast ideas during the week: large fruit smoothie, large green smoothie, steel cut oats with dried fruit and nuts, fruit salad with toast and jam and/or peanut butter, fruit salad with coconut or almond yogurt (available at the health food store), fruit salad and a whole grain muffin etc.
Lunch ideas during the week: large salad with fruit, vegetables and homemade nut based dressing (oil-free of course), steamed vegetables and/or lentils and rice with a homemade or low fat store bought sauce, baked potato with hummus and a side salad, homemade soup, stew or chili, roasted vegetable sandwich on whole grain bread with fruit, etc.

4. For hot meals (or salads), do your cooking (or prepping) once or twice a week.

Make a big batch or double batch of soup, stew, casserole, curry etc. that you can easily pair with a whole grain such as rice or quinoa and a salad or veggies. For salads, use large tupperware containers and portion out your lettuce and assorted veggies, dried fruit, and toppings. Make a homemade dressing or find a tasty oil-free dressing you enjoy and have little containers to take with your salad each day.

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5. Use cooking devices such as slow cookers or pressure cookers to save active cooking time in the kitchen.

With a slow cooker, you can prep everything on a Sunday morning or afternoon and then, by dinner time, you will have a hot meal ready to eat and you can save any leftovers for meals throughout the rest of the week. With a pressure cooker, you can easily make homemade vegetable broth, soup, or fresh beans in only a fraction of the time so you don’t have to hang around watching the stove for an hour while things cook.

The most important aspect to sticking to a healthy diet and lifestyle is planning ahead. Life can get hectic at times and we can feel rushed and make a lot of excuses for eating unhealthy snacks and meals on the go, but if you master the art of shopping in advance and learn how to make a few healthy recipes you like to eat every week, you will be well on your way to success.

Just schedule yourself some time every week for shopping and preparing a few healthy recipes. A little effort in these areas can make a big difference to your health and not to mention your waistline…

I hope I’ve inspired you to take the next step and get back into the kitchen.

You can do it. I believe in you!

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Vegan Comfort Foods From Around The World by Veronica Grace can be found here

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