Tag: plant-based

What I wish I’d known my first year being plant-based

What I wish I’d known my first year being plant-based

I’d make the choice to be plant-based again in a single heartbeat. I’ve loved how it’s elevated my spirits, heightened my awareness, and helped my body feel cleansed. I also love how it’s taught me and my family ways to live a more ethical compassionate […]

My September Vegan Grocery Store Favorites

My September Vegan Grocery Store Favorites

Okay, time to spout out my favorite vegan grocery store favorites from this month. We are totally loving and welcoming in these three products into our home right now, within our plant-based vegan lifestyle. Our new favorite non-dairy milk, my old faithful green juice you’ll […]

A Week’s Simple Vegan Meal Plan for Families with Kids

A Week’s Simple Vegan Meal Plan for Families with Kids

Looking for some ideas? Here’s a sample of a simple weekly vegan meal plan we just used for our family of four (two adults, a four-year-old and almost-two year old). We have been very busy, as have most people! So when that happens, we grab a few more convenience items off the shelves. You’ll notice that in the plan below! However, this meal plan still remains pretty clean, and provides all the necessary nutrients my family needs to stay healthy, happy, and active!

When I have extra busy weeks, I get lazier with cutting and chopping vegetables, so we drink a lot of fresh, cold-pressed juices, especially green ones! And we may even stop by the local juicery if we have the budget for it. On busy weeks, I’ll try to have a green juice most days if not every single day. I feel my BEST when I do this.

Seeing a meal plan from someone else always helps remind me of great ideas and keeps me inspired for the week! Hope this does the same for you!

This meal plan incorporates mostly super fast, easy recipes and throw together items! There are one or two recipes in this meal plan that may require about an hour of prep. But that’s it – the rest of them should be VERY easy for any busy vegan, plant-based family to fix up and enjoy! If you’re looking for some more inspiration, check out an older post with some additional ideas on how I sometimes break down a meal plan by the day.

And don’t forget to stay hydrated during the day by drinking plenty of water between meals. 🙂 Thought I should through that in there since I don’t mention water in the meal plan. But do it- drink enough water. 😉

 

Sunday: 

  • Breakfast: Hot Steel Cut Oatmeal bowls with walnuts, hemp seeds, and fresh peaches, organic raw brown sugar
  • Lunch: veggie burgers on sprouted buns, snap peas, organic tortilla chips and salsa
  • Dinner: Acai Protein bowls topped with organic peanut butter and Meusli granola. DELISH.
  • Snack: Air-popped popcorn and Kite Hill almond milk yogurts and cold-pressed green juice

Monday

  • Meusli granola with Good Karma Flax Milk and Fresh Papaya (the kids may prefer to eat a bowl of So Delicious Coconut Vanilla yogurt and some veganic cereal with their papaya, instead of the Meusli. I’m totally okay with this.
  • Lentil Pasta Mac N Cheese from Modern Table (20 Grams of protein per serving!) and steamed broccoli- I make my own using the lentil noodles, a cup of So Delicous coconut-based cheese, two tablespoons of Tahini, and a Tablespoon of vegan butter or other healthier oil such as coconut or avocado.
  • Dinner: Sandwiches. My sandwich – lettuce, avocado, fresh tomato, sprouts and hemp seeds on sprouted bread! YUM! The kids – a treat of peanut butter and strawberry sandwiches with snap peas.
  • Snack: A total treat – tried vegan maple bacon jerky for the first time!

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Green Juice and Banana Protein Monster Smoothies (frozen bananas, protein powder *for kids, not so much* and fresh green spinach! Blend up with a non-dairy milk or water!
  • Lunch: flatbread pizzas with sprouted flatbread from (this brand), a blend of fresh or roasted veggies (we will sometimes use a blend of roasted veggies, made ahead of time, sweet potatoes, zucchini, onion, even carrots) and top with a sprinkle of vegan cheese.
  • Dinner: Lentil “meat” loaf. This recipe [HERE] is my favorite (!!), and although at first, I thought it looked intimidating because the ingredients list was so long, it doesn’t actually take that long and it’s soooo savory delicious, it’s all worth it. I plan this for a night I have a little more time to cook.  I’ll make this with roasted potatoes or homemade potato “fries” and a light side salad or steamed/roasted vegetables.
  • Snack: Kombucha and a vegan cracker brand of choice with hummus or guacamole.

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Fresh papaya and avocado toast (or nut butter toast if the kids are on avocado strike)
  • Lunch: organic grapes and Protein Smoothies
  • Dinner: Cauliflower Crust Pizzas (from Trader Joe’s!) with fresh tomatoes and a sprinkle of So Delicious shredded cheese with fresh spinach and any other vegetable you want on there! Sprinkle pizza seasoning and a Tablespoon or two of hemp seeds over the top for added flavor and protein. (the hemp seed flavor is actually quite amazing!)
  • Snack: Squeezie applesauces!

Thursday: 

  • Breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bake from Fit Foodie Finds, my fellow Minnesotan. This recipe is Bonkerzz!!! We love it. It’s satisfyingly sweet and the kids loooove this day of the week when I make this. It also makes the house smell amazing in the morning. I do need to get up and make this about an hour before we plan to eat, because it does take baking time, but it’s delicously worth it. I also OFTEN make this the night before, and in the morning we heat it up. Oh yeah! And I easily replace the eggs with chia eggs. (1 Tbs ground chia soaked for 5 minutes in 1/4 cup water = one vegan “egg”).
  • Lunch: Big Romaine Salad with raw veggies, fresh grape tomatoes, and my Zesty Lime Cashew Dressing! Kids may not be salad lovers, so I make a dipping tray for them with hummus, guac, and load it up with sprouted bread, raw sliced veggies, and fruits, and let them spread and dip for a fun (and deliciously nutritious) activity!
  • Dinner: Leftovers!! Thursday is a great day for us to clean up our favorites from the past few days. Typically this is a platter of fruit that needs to be eaten like -TODAY, a hummus platter, rice and beans, and any other leftover meal options from the days before. We keep leftover night fun and simple.

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Wild Berry Smoothies – protein powder, frozen berries, frozen bananas, flax milk for extra omegas and delicious vanilla flavor! (a typical plant-based protein powder may have 20 grams of protein in it. Kids may not need this much protein, so be very mindful of that when preparing a protein smoothie. I usually add half a scoop to the blender of a formula like Vega Organic Protein and Greens, and they split the pitcher, so they may get a quarter of a scoop. Check with your vegan-friendly doctor for your child’s daily protein needs. And I eat a full scoop or more, depending upon my goals.)
  • Lunch: Rainy day black bean tortilla soup. Every week, if there’s a rainy day, needs a warming soup recipe! Here’s one of our favorites! Yep, I make this one ahead of time sometimes too. But if not, I always have something I’m working on while I watch and listen to it simmer!
  • Dinner: Salsa skillet. This is delicious, you guys, and takes about 10 minutes to prepare. Not joking. Brown Rice, your bean of choice, corn, fresh kale, a cup of organic salsa, and some salt and pepper. Serve it up hot, I usually cook this skillet up in some water and a bit of avocado oil in my cast iron pan. It’s delightful, and it’s hot in minutes. Add the kale in ONLY for the last few minutes so you don’t cook all the nutrients out of it, but it still gets soft and blends in with the rest of the mix. I’ll often chop up an extra tomato in here as well, if I have an extra one that needs to be eaten up, and I usually do! Scoop your bites up with organic tortilla chips if you like!
  • Snack: Rice Cakes with bananas and cinnamon

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Hot Steel Cut Oatmeal with chia seeds, peanut butter, and a drizzle of organic maple syrup
  • Lunch: Bean Mash Sandwiches served up with cherry tomatoes, carrots, snap peas, and sliced raw peppers (this is my kid’s absolute favorite raw veggie lineup!) The Bean mash can be made with any bean – black and pinto are my favorites
  • Dinner: Chick Pea “meat” balls made with a can of chickpeas… Oh! and I found these awesome “chickpea breadcrumbs” in place of a typical “panko crumb” type thing and used those. I like this recipe! 
  • Snack: Sip on kombucha or green juice during the day, sliced apples with coconut yogurt/peanut butter fruit dip. (mix a cup of vanilla So Delicious coconut yogurt with two tablespoons of organic creamy peanut butter – mix or whip until smooth) Best fruit dip ever!!!

Get some ideas? Great!! Let me know in the comments below what YOUR go-to vegan meals are for your family!

There are no affiliate links in this post!

The 5 Best Lifestyle Apps In My Life Right Now

The 5 Best Lifestyle Apps In My Life Right Now

Apps can be very helpful – useful information just a tap away. Of course, with each season of life my list of most used apps changes a bit!   The following lifestyle apps are adding some serious value to my life right now. Enough value, […]

Packing For Your Daytrip: Kid-Friendly Vegan Lunch & Snacks

Packing For Your Daytrip: Kid-Friendly Vegan Lunch & Snacks

Summer is so fun. It’s warm, full of life and energy, and tons of adventure. Especially when you have kids! This past weekend we enjoyed time with friends, a spontaneous day trip, and never missed a beat with our packed vegan lunches. The thing about […]

Three Super Easy Kid Approved Nut-Free DIY Milks

Three Super Easy Kid Approved Nut-Free DIY Milks

Healthier alternatives to milk are a huge deal right now. You can find several non-dairy alternatives to milk at any given grocery store! It’s a wonderful thing!

Why not REAL milk?

Cow’s milk is breast milk to grow baby cows into two-ton animals, It was never originally intended to be consumed by humans. I believe cutting dairy is one of the most important things people can do to feel better. It’s life changing! This article has more reasons why you should cut dairy, and it links to several more within it. In our own family, this has been the #1 biggest success story for each one of us, as is the case in many people’s homes! Maybe even yours! 

And I wish we could all just go to the store and grab a carton of milk alternative and call it a day. But unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect system. These alternatives still contain many questionable added toxic ingredients. 

I’ll briefly list them here…

 

GMOs

Processed oils

Carrageenan

Synthetic Vitamins

Added Sugar

Gums and Gelatins

 

These ingredients can have highly adverse effects on your gut over time.

But is making alternative milks yourself too much work?

Yes it is one extra thing you have to do. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you about that, it does take additional effort, and often I do wish I didn’t have to do ONE MORE THING! So I give myself grace. I will allow store-bought milks into the house, if you find them non-gmo and organic and purchase unsweetened versions – hey, there are ways to make that ingredients list look a little less offensive. So give yourself some grace.

But know this – the TINY bit of extra effort is so worth it. YOU are worth it! Your HEALTH is worth it! Never reach for the junk just because it’s “easy”. Show your body The respect it deserves.

But ultimately, the healthiest way to ensure you’re getting a good clean version of a milk alternative is to do it yourself.

Honestly, you can make “milk” out of anything. Blend it with water… it will probably turn creamy white…and there you have it. Crazy, right? It seems like the most popular “milks” are almond, soy, and coconut. We won’t dive into why one may be better than another, everyone has a preference.

But I typically choose a nut-free “milk” for myself and my family, especially for my kiddos.

So without further ado, these are my three current favorite milk DIYs! What makes these three even better, is that they’re safe for little toddlers! A great way to keep them hydrated and provide a little nutrient boost in the meantime.

 

Hemp Milk

  • 1/4 c raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 24oz filtered water
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup or a few drops of stevia (raw pure stevia, NOT Truvia or other store brand alternative)

Blend all ingredients together for about 30 seconds in a high-speed blender. Strain the seed pulp out with a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Store in refrigerator – some sources say it’s good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, I wouldn’t know because we always use it up in less time than that. Ha! But when you take it out of the fridge, give it a good shake before pouring.

Honestly, I usually just blend the hemp seeds and water, and that’s it! The other ingredients are just for fun, or if you need the extra sweetener. Hemp does have a strong seedy flavor. This recipe is awesome, and I use it so very often for most of my non-dairy needs. And it’s kid-safe! That’s the best part.

Hemp packs a big nutritional punch. They’re actually an excellent source of Omega 3s, and essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, folate, even B vitamins!… Hemp will ALSO probably promote good healthy bowel movements in your kids – just saying! But if you have a problem with this in your home, cutting out dairy may be your savior. That was the GAME CHANGER in our home, seriously.

Great for: baking, cooking, drinking, cereals, even in coffee and tea! Can be heated. 

Oat Milk

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1.5-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener or pitted dates), to taste
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt (enhances flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional, but nice)

This recipe is from Oh She Glows, Homemade Oat Milk, Easy fast cheap. This is my favorite recipe, and I love Angela Lidden’s blog and cookbooks and all things “Oh She Glows”, so I’ll promote her any day!

Great for:  pretty much anything, but *Do not heat oat milk if you want it to stay liquid! It will goop up. 

 

Banana Milk

Literally, all this recipe is, is a ripe spotted banana and water.

1 Banana (quite ripe) per 8-10 oz of water, and blend in a high-speed blender. DONE.

This recipe is perfectly delicious poured over oatmeal or dry cereal. It’s also great to give to your toddler in a cup! A great way to sweeten the deal when keeping busy little ones hydrated. It obviously has a rich banana flavor, so not everyone will adore it as much as we do, but it’s seriously an awesome alternative for many things.

 

What is your favorite milk alternative?

Let me know in the comments below!

susan-blog-signature

 

Too Many Nuts Bothering Your Digestion?

Too Many Nuts Bothering Your Digestion?

Nuts are a great way to pack on extra calories when you’re eating a healthy diet. Paleo plans and plant-based plans encourage nuts as a great source of protein fats and minerals. Nut butters are great for subbing out oil in baked goods, peanut butter […]

Zesty Cashew Lime Dressing (oil free, vegan)

Zesty Cashew Lime Dressing (oil free, vegan)

Okay, so I’m actually quite giddy to share this recipe with you. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s my first real recipe I’m posting on the blog, I’ve worked at refining for you, and people have been LOVING it so far, so let me know how […]

Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part III}: A Simple Meal Plan

Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part III}: A Simple Meal Plan

Alright, my busy friends, I thought it would be a fitting way to close out this series on “Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy” by laying out one of our family’s simple meal plans to help give you some inspiring ideas. So the following is our REAL TIME meal plan that I used for this last week, I didn’t just make it up. This worked for us – it was super simple and affordable. Enjoy! I hope you glean some ideas.

It’s very important to me to not make a huge mess every time I make a meal. Especially since I make pretty much every single meal from scratch in my tiny little kitchen. So all of the following tips take very little assembly, and most of them contain elements that I prepare ahead of time.

You’ve read in my previous posts I little tiny bit about how I prepare ahead of time, and I use a lot of no-cook recipes in my meal plans (you know we love our smoothies!) This really does keep my stress levels low, I have enough things to keep me busy during the day. And it just so happens that this low stress meal plan also does my body lots of favors and is serving our family very well! So I’m sharing it with you! Certainly not because I am an expert, but because if I were you, I’d be interested in getting some ideas, so here goes!

This is only one week’s worth of meal ideas, in real time with what’s in our kitchen right now! Next week will be a little different, of course. We eat a huge variety of produce and prepare a wide variety of foods, so this is what one of our simple weeks looks like. It’s the week before Christmas, so we need meals to be low stress, streamlined, and still perfectly nutritious.

This Week’s Meal Plan

6AM*

(*times are always approximate, we eat when we are hungry, but to help break it down for us, I list times of day)
  • img_8931 A warm glass or jar of water with fresh lemon and apple cider vinegar.

(Click Here to get a free bottle of Thrive Market Apple Cider Vinegar + 30 day trial for only $1.95 shipping! Existing members can receive a free bottle with any offer over $50.

 

8AM 

The Family can choose from Raw Soaked Oats with banana milk (A banana and water blended to a milk-like consistency. Add a vanilla protein powder if you wish, it’s so good!), a Smoothie of Fruit and Greens, or a Melon. Melons are very hydrating and should be consumed alone, not combined with other foods if you adhere to some of the principles of proper food combining – see this for a very brief explanation: Healthy Food Combining. (other weeks we have different fruits to choose from, it’s not always melons).

My omnivore husband (who is taking steps toward being more and more plant-based, of his own accord) still eats eggs occasionally, farm fresh from free range chickens.

We also take our supplements at this time, which are very simple, I take these highly absorbable forms of vegan vitamin D3 and B12. img_8952Baby, who is still regularly breastfeeding, takes an infant vitamin D and my preschooler takes a whole foods multivitamin to ensure his bases are covered.

 

10:30-11:30AM

The Smoothie. I don’t know why, but this is my favorite time to have a smoothie. I pack it with raw fresh greens or This Raw Greens Powder because it is absolutely the best, bananas, and berries or an apple… sometimes I go crazy with all the produce… Ahhh I want one right now, I don’t care what time it is. Oh! And I throw in some chia, pumpkin, or hemp seeds usually as well, or a raw vegan protein powder like this one by SunWarrior. My kids always join me for smoothie time – however, I usually don’t add the extras for the baby, I’ll pour some of the fruit and greens blend out for her before adding any nuts or protein powders. Seriously SO stress-free and takes just a couple of minute to assemble one of these bad boys.

If we are not home at this time, this is also the perfect take-along. I blend it ahead of time and bring it with me in a jar or in my hydro flask.

Fresh cut or whole fruit is also PERFECT any time in the morning. Fruit is best digested alone and in the first part of the day. (following this tip has helped me so much!) The kids ALWAYS love fresh fruit and ask for it.

These options are also incredible Post-Workout! I love a smoothie or cut fruit right after I hit the gym.

 

1:30-2:30PM

Lunch has been pretty late these days, and it’s very casual! This week we enjoyed some sandwiches on sprouted bread – we choose the Ezekiel 4:9 brand (this wouldn’t work if you have a gluten sensitivity, however, it does digest well for us. (conventional bread does not, and even some gluten free bread does not digest well for us either, considering most brands are usually still loaded with additives.) My son likes his sprouted bread with almond butter and organic fruit spread, and this week I also baked thinly sliced organic tofu to act as a “lunch meat” and loaded my sandwich up with fresh veggies and fresh guacamole (guac and hummus are my favorite easy oil-free alternatives to mayonnaises or oil-based dressings.)  I stay largely oil free at home, I’ll write about why in a later post if you’re interested, or you can message me with questions, but it has been monumental in my journey to better digestive health!

See also below where I talk about healthy snacks we had this week – sometimes we aren’t hungry for a full lunch, but will grab some of these snacks to carry us through till dinner.

5:30PM – ISH

  • Organic, non-GMO tofu was on major sale. Right. So I made something inspired by this recipe for Asian Garlic Tofu. It was delicious, and I LOADED it up with protein rich broccoli (yes, it’s protein rich!) and served it with some white rice. It was delicious, but since I’m not experienced in making recipes with tofu, it could have been better. I get my protein from greens, legumes, nuts and seeds mainly. (Note: I used to think I reacted adversely to soy – very adversely. But I don’t always – and I’m not a medical doctor so I will not share my opinions here, but let’s just say the jury is still out on soy, and I would like to continue my research on it. That being said, we may never know. To make my long story short, I’ve been incorporating some high-quality soy into our diet here and there (organic, non-GMO, no added ingredients…) and we have all handled it just swimmingly. So… yeah. More on that another time. If you have additional resources I don’t already know about, please pass them along! Fellow vegans out there – what’s your take on the big soy debacle?!)

 

  • Burrito Bowls…img_8942 I LOVE them and could eat them every single day. My beans have been pre-soaked and cooked, I just add a little cumin chili powder and Himalayan salt, thyme and fresh cilantro. We had these TWO times this week because they are so delicious and filling. We chose to serve ours over white rice. The question is – is white or brown rice is the healthier choice? We may never know. We like to eat both, this week we had white on hand.

 

  • Roasted sweet potatoes with beans and guacamole. This is the week of fresh guac! Can you tell? Ha! Seriously, though – I roast sweet potatoes whole (or a regular baked potato for those of you who aren’t sweet potato fans, like my husband…) until they are tender, split them open, and top them with black beans, greens, guacamole, fresh herbs like cilantro… I mean, YUM.

 

  • LARGE romaine salad with oil-free dressing and Ezekiel Toast and avocado slices on the side? Yes please! (for the dressing I usually mix together raw tahini, coconut aminos, and the juice of a fresh lime or lemon. I also love this raw red pepper dressing recipe by The Rawtarian, but I replace the olive oil with a fresh zucchini or other vegetables with high water content).

 

  • We did lots of vegetable soups this week! My kids love them, we all do. Especially when it’s twenty degrees below zero in Minnesota. I made some type of soup that was a little like the filling of a pot pie, it was so good! I need to make it again so I can attempt to replicate it. To make soups creamy I do not use traditional cream sauces, or just fill them in with non-dairy milk. I typically will use a base like a squash, a bean pulse, or potato puree that thickens the soup, adds flavor, and boosts up the nutrition. This week it was butternut squash and a white potato to make it taste less “squashy”. Everyone loved it!

 

All of these meals really are stress-free. They all require only using one pan, pot, or bowl, or just our plates to assemble!

Prep work included presoaking my beans and rice and boiling those until tender, then keeping them in the fridge for meal assembly during the week. Smoothies were already made into freezer packs, or I just threw fresh produce a couple scoops of the “extras” into the blender. Raw soaked oats were just that… recipe prepared and soaked overnight in the fridge, ready to in the morning.

Healthy eating can be SO simple! Healthy food helps restore our days to their full potential so we can feel our best and live our best! We need to invest in what goes into our body, no matter what. But we DO get busy, especially during the holidays, and there are so many fantastic, easy ways to streamline things and put healthy eating on autopilot when you need to!

 

Low mess, no stress snacks

This week’s snacks included…

  • apples with almond butter (or this delicious raw date caramel dip )
  • bananas
  • oranges
  • Skinny Pop popcorn
  • LaraBars (you can purchase them here, and Costco also has a slightly {better} price.
  • home brewed kombucha (incredible source of B vitamins -energy!!- and is also very satisfying between meals!)

 

Holiday Extras

This is Christmas Week! So, of course, we are throwing in a couple extra fun treats here and there in amongst all the festivities! If you follow me on Instagram or have liked my Facebook page you have seen these! (If not, links here in the sidebar and at the top of this site!!) We baked gluten free vegan cookies to take to a Christmas program and enjoyed Sunday morning brunch with vegan nog french toast… yes, it was so delightful. I put some extra holiday coconut milk nog into coffee for a mock version of an egg nog latte and … I need to stop or I will be going to make another one right now. So good. img_8930

 

 

I am NOT a doctor or dietician, but I have done my research and have drastically improved my own digestion issues, my son’s as well, and decreased my husband’s cholesterol and enhanced athletic performance, we all have great energy, great bloodwork, and have arrived at very healthy weights for our bodies. So when I share my meal plans on my blog I am sharing what works for us! I hope you glean some helpful tips and ideas and make it work for you!

Some of the links in this post are affiliates! I choose to be an affiliate for Thrive Market and I link to these products because I use these products myself and highly recommend them!

Did you get any good ideas? I hope so! What are some of your favorite go-to plant-based recipes? Do you meal plan ahead of time? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part II}

Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part II}

In part one of this series about beating the stress of healthy living I talked about how I choose to keep things as simple as possible in our home surrounding our meal times, and how I keep new recipes to a minimum, all these things reduce […]