In an age where several food options are available with a click of an UberEats delivery button, choosing what to eat can be quite unmotivating, costly, and, at times, difficult. For this reason, I aim to help you reinvent each meal in a manner that is amusing, creative, and healthy by providing you with a “What I Eat in a Day: Plant-based Edition.” I listed potential plant-based meals for you and your family to cook at home for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition, I provided an assortment of snacks that are quick, affordable, customizable depending on your preference and style, and most importantly, plant-based!
What is a plant-based diet?
Before we delve deep into the aisles of the supermarket, it is essential to know what a plant-based diet is. This diet is an eating pattern that focuses on eating foods primarily from plants. This involves fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, and omits animal products and by-products. Due to its intake of fruits and vegetables, a plant-based diet is plentiful in nutrients, including vitamins and fiber, and low in saturated fats and cholesterol levels. Therefore, a plant-based diet is known to lower the likelihood of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
Ideas for plant-based meals
Over the past few years, I have come across several plant-based recipes on Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, and other forms of media. Although there is a wide array of choices to choose from, here are some of my favourites to help you get started.
Creamy Oatmeal with Banana
Oatmeal has always been a household staple for its versatility and savoury goodness. After taste-testing many variations, I resort to this creamy oatmeal recipe known for its richness and caramelized bananas. This recipe is recommended to those who enjoy a sweeter and warm bowl of oatmeal for their first meal of the day. To spice it up, try this recipe with almond butter!
What I admire about this vegetable frittata recipe is that it repurposes leftover vegetables into a dish that is easy, inexpensive, and filling; serving up to 6 people. Although frittata is naturally egg-based, this recipe manipulates the dish using tofu and a combination of other vegetables. It is also open to change; meaning that you can add additional vegetables to your liking. The vegetable frittata is a great hearty meal to experiment with for small to medium gatherings!
Sweet Potato Quesadillas
I can never shy away from a good homemade quesadilla. This sweet potato quesadillas recipe is stuffed with black beans, sweet potato, corn, and topped with vegan cheese. They are quick to assemble; making it great for individuals on the go or pressed for time. Another advantage is that quesadillas can be served with a variety of different dips, ranging from hummus, guacamole, and sour cream. The possibilities are endless! I hope you enjoy this one.
Stuffed Potato Cakes
After stumbling upon this stuffed potato cakes recipe last year, I have now recreated and shared it with many friends and family. This easy-to-make lunch option is ideal for those who want to get creative in the kitchen by testing various sauces, herbs, or vegan cheese (which is optional). It is beneficial to watch the video provided as it outlines the consistency of the dough and the finished product. Overall, this recipe is suitable for potato lovers that crave a fried unique treat!
This is easily one of my favourite vegan recipes! It serves up to 2-3 people, so I recommend sizing up to a 9x13 dish for a larger group. This vegan eggplant parmesan recipe does require more ingredients than the choices mentioned above, but I assure you that the “mozzarella cheese” is worth the effort. This dish is excellent for individuals that are searching for something both crispy and saucy for dinner. For more information, please refer to the original eggplant parmesan recipe.
Teriyaki Cauliflower Wings
During the pandemic, my biggest obstacle for food was figuring out what I wanted to eat for dinner. It was not until I landed on this vegan cauliflower wings recipe when I knew I found the perfect meal to share with my family. These “wings” are also very simple to whip up in the kitchen, and they make for a sweet and crispy feast. Likewise, they can also be served with other sauces, such as vegan ranch, BBQ, or vegan honey garlic. Now it is your turn to get imaginative!
If you have a sweet tooth but are looking for a healthier alternative, then this is the right snack for you! This recipe of zucchini brownies is a favourite among my family because they are rich in chocolate, gluten-free, and made with simple ingredients. I suggest partnering this dessert with a cold glass of plant-based milk or even vegan ice cream!
Avocado Mango Smoothie
Another option to enliven your day is the classic avocado mango smoothie. This avocado mango recipe requires only 5 ingredients, yet it satisfies that early-morning or late-afternoon fruity craving. Avocadoes are known to be abundant in fiber, vitamins, and a great source of healthy fats. This smoothie option is a great addition for the warmer days ahead.
Tips when shopping for plant-based ingredients
- Explore the international/ethnic food aisle
- Trying variations of specialty sauces and ingredients, such as Thai peanut, can vamp up simple dishes
- Avoid pre-chopped vegetables and fruits
- Some resort to pre-cut vegetables and fruits for convenience but consider buying and cutting produce at home. In doing so, you might reduce air exposure and possible food contamination from commercial facilities. It also increases the items’ longevity on the shelf.
- Meal prep weekly
- Rather than purchasing too much at once and increasing the likelihood of food waste, it is recommended that you prepare meals prior to the start of the week and bring a shopping list when grocery shopping. This enables control over portions and money. In addition, it saves time and reduces stress as you already know what your meals will look like ahead of time.
- Avoid shopping when you are hungry
- Although this may sound evident, I do make this mistake sometimes. This tip will avoid excess eating or picking up unhealthy, convenient junk food.
Even with a minimal number of ingredients, eating plant-based can be rewarding, tasty, and inventive for you and your loved ones with a little planning and organization. I hope this short blog inspires you to enhance your cooking habits in the kitchen and encourages you to incorporate plant-based ingredients in your diet, and everyday life! This is only the beginning of your plant-based journey.
Let us know if you enjoyed this mini-blog and how your plant-based journey is going @uwsustainable.