A vegetarian lifestyle is just like any other health-oriented choice; it requires forethought, planning, and mindfulness. Meals need to be arranged in advance, for efficiently keeping on track of your dietary goals. Planning a whole week of meals does not need to be overwhelming. Creating a basic meal plan with solid information is only half the battle. After that, is keeping to the plan throughout the week is essential to create positive results.
8 Steps for Vegetarian Meal Planning
1. Set Clear Goals
Carefully contemplate and think about or even write down what you hope to achieve. Whether it is better health, weight-loss, or helping the planet, set a clear objective. There is also the question of what type of vegetarian you are aspiring to be, if you’ll be consuming fish, eggs, or dairy. You may also wish to follow an Ayurvedic diet. When deciding this, consider your needs, it is best to consult a nutritionist.
2. Create a Schedule for Meals, Prep, and Planning
Vegetarian meals require fresh produce, so plan how often you need to shop. The key to staying on track is to be well organized. Snacks for each day can be set up once a week, as meals might need preparation every other day. Decide when you will be cooking and prep beforehand. This will spread the amount of work so you will not be trapped in the kitchen for a long time.
3. Collect Vegetarian Recipes
Vegetarian recipes often make us think about salads or bland food, but there are so many options to choose from nowadays. The Internet is full of ideas for simple and delicious meals. Save the ones that include your preferred ingredients and try some adventurous ones as well. To make things more fun, gather the best meals in a recipe cardholder. Remember that you still need protein, some good sources are seeds, nuts, tofu, beans, chickpeas, lentils.
4. Make a Grocery Shopping List
After deciding on the week’s menu, write the shopping list accordingly. Frozen or low salt canned vegetables are great for reducing trips to the store. Shop for snacks for the fridge and the pantry and do not always make them fruit-based. Nuts, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, crackers, protein bars are great to snack on.
Always shop with a list and prioritize seasonal and local produce, as it will be more fresh. Avoid buying too much at a time; if perishables are bought in bulk, they will go bad before you use them.
6. Prep and Cook
Prepping is often underestimated, but it saves time during busy workdays. Make sure to get some quality reusable containers, they are great for partitioning snacks, prepping, or freezing meals. Always have something ready to eat. With no animal protein, you will be hungrier more often, and it is best to have healthy options.
Meal prep can be done by chopping ingredients and getting everything handy.
7. Store Leftovers
Safely store leftovers or freeze if possible. They can even be repurposed; for example, grilled vegetables could be blended and boiled for a soup.
8. Refine Your Plan
After every week you should evaluate the meals and prep and decide how to better fulfill your needs. What would your next meal be? How does it compare with what you have already planned for that day? Are there any dietary changes that you are hesitant to make? How does it compare with your planned meal choices for the past few days?
As long as you get all the necessary nutrients and keep it interesting, becoming a vegetarian should only get easier. After a while, you will fall into a routine. One great option to simplify this process is to use a meal planning and delivery service. There are a surprising number of vegan and plant-based meal delivery services to choose from that will deliver meal kits with recipes to your door.