If you’ve ever found yourself eating fast food because you were hungry and didn’t have anything planned for a meal, you’re impulse eating. Planning your meals in advance helps avoid this diet pitfall and provides a number of other benefits. When you plan ahead you make healthier food choices and save money. Meal plans allow you to create healthy recipes using in-season foods, but are also customizable. For example, the recipe ideas below are all vegan, but substitutions can be made for those with nut allergies. The nut butter for breakfast can be replaced with low-fat whipped cream cheese. Nuts on the lunch salad may be omitted. Also, the repurposed cauliflower potato soup may be enriched with cream or plain yoghurt for those who prefer dairy as a source of protein.
Plant-based recipes are a delicious way to use the wonderful variety of nutrient-dense vegetables available this time of year when the weather cools and autumn leaves turn.
Here are some suggestions to get you started and hopefully you’ll be inspired to create your own meal plan for the upcoming weeks/month:
- English Muffin with Spread and Fresh Fruit
- 1 whole wheat or sprouted grain English muffin
- 1-2 Tbsp. natural, no sugar added peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
- 1-2 Tbsp. blueberries, half a banana sliced up, or any other favorite fruit such as ripe pear or figs
- Tea or Coffee
Toast the muffin. Spread nut butter on each half. Top with fresh fruit.
- Orange, Beet and Bean Salad Recipe
- 4-6 medium beets, peeled and cooked (available pre-cooked at Trader Joe’s and Costco)
- 2 oranges, zested, peeled and segmented
- 2 c. cooked navy beans or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
- ¼ c brown rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. minced dill
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 4 c. mixed salad greens
- 4 Tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted.
Drain and cut beets into wedges. Place in large bowl. Add orange zest and segments, beans, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper. Toss lightly to combine
Divide mixed salad greens on 4 plates*. Top with beet salad and garnish with almonds.
*If you’re prepping meals in advance, don’t combine the salad greens and the beets until you’re ready to eat, as they may get soggy!
- Potato and Cauliflower Curry Recipe
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 Tbsp. oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 pound Yukon gold or other waxy potatoes, cubed (half-inch)
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper)
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp. cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup green peas
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro or mint
- Salt and pepper to taste
1) Steam cauliflower and potatoes in salted water just until tender and a fork penetrates into the potato easily without the cube falling apart. Drain, but set aside 1 cup water for later.
2) Meanwhile, sauté onions in 3 Tbsp. oil over medium heat for 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Add 1 Tbsp. oil along with tomato paste, jalapeño, garlic, ground ginger, cumin, coriander, and crushed red pepper flakes. When paste begins to sizzle, add diced tomatoes and cloves.
3) When tomatoes are soft, add in steamed cauliflower and potatoes with turmeric. Pour in enough water to keep veggies cooking and add bay leaves. Cook for 10-12 minutes on low heat. Add peas and cook 5 minutes longer.
4) Remove bay leaves, garnish with chopped cilantro or mint. Serve over brown rice or eat with naan bread. Serves 4.
The curried cauliflower and potato dish may be repurposed as a soup. Puree the vegetables with 4 cups of vegetable stock: using a blender or food processer, add 1 cup of vegetable stock at a time until the preferred consistency is reached. Pour puree into a stockpot and heat. Serve with a garnish of thinly sliced green onions. Sprinkle with cilantro. May be accompanied by a side of toasted crostini or your favorite bread.