A Busy Person’s Guide to Eating More Plant-Based Foods
Staying organized and on track can be difficult, whether you’ve been eating a plant-based diet for years or you’re just beginning your journey. You’re not alone if your aspirations of weekly meal prep never come to fruition or your kitchen often sits unused. Regardless of what kind of food you eat, the constant demands of daily life can make it difficult to prioritize your diet.
After all, it’s easier to pull up to a drive-through window and order some fast food than it is to plan out every meal in advance. However, we cannot overstate the physical, mental, and financial benefits of meal preparation. Check out this busy person’s guide to eating more plant-based foods and learn how you can make mealtime more efficient and nutritious.
Batch cooking is a great way to stay on top of daily meals because you can cook extra and freeze the rest for a later date. Slow cookers are ideal for batch cooking since you can easily fill them with a large amount of food to eat now and later. Stovetop items also work well, especially if you have a large stock pot to make soup or stew.
Batch cooking does not only apply to main dishes. At the beginning of the week, you can also pre-cook pantry staples such as rice and beans. You can use these throughout the week to quickly pull together a meal. For instance, you already have the rice cooked and ready to go if you’re making vegetarian tacos one night.
It’s wise to invest in storage items of varying sizes if you’re planning to batch cook regularly. Since you’ll be storing the excess food in the freezer, freezer bags or containers are your best bet. Glass jars are usually best for food storage, but liquids expand when they freeze, and the glass could crack. As such, having both glass and plastic options on hand is important.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are not ideal when compared to fresh options, but they work perfectly fine when you’re in a pinch. As part of a plant-based diet, you’re going to consume a lot of produce and the grocery bill can quickly add up. Frozen produce is typically less expensive, so if you’re feeding a family of five, every little bit helps.
Frozen fruits and vegetables also stay fresh until you want to use them, so you can cook them at your leisure. You won’t need to run to the supermarket if you’re making dinner and realize you forgot to buy green beans. Simply open your freezer, pull out a frozen bag, and you’re good to go.
You’ll also avoid needing to use fresh items before they go bad when you decide to purchase frozen produce. Many fruits and vegetables are delicate and have a very limited freshness period, so it can be frustrating when you throw away moldy produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables allow you to maintain a healthy diet on a budget when you’re in a pinch.
Slow Cooker Recipes
Slow cooker meals are a quick and easy way to stay on track when you want to maintain a plant-based diet. Consider investing in a slow cooker to make mealtimes a little easier if you don’t already own this small kitchen appliance. Slow cookers allow you to quickly create a variety of delicious dishes with a minimum amount of prep work, given your packed schedule.
You probably picture heartier soups or stews when you think of slow-cooked meals, but you can make a wide variety of meals in a slow cooker. Make breakfast a breeze by tossing the ingredients for oatmeal or a vegetable casserole into the slow cooker before you go to bed and wake up to a nutritious, warm meal.
Combine the ingredients before you leave for work and have a delicious dish waiting for you when you come home if you plan to use your slow cooker for dinner. Not needing to adhere to precise cooking times is another advantage of using a slow cooker. You won’t ruin your dinner if you’re stuck at work for an extra hour or two. As the name suggests, slow cookers cook so slowly that a bit of extra time shouldn’t make a big difference.
Adhering to a plant-based diet means most of your meals are full of a wide variety of vegetables. Although pre-packed vegetables are not ideal due to their cost and extra packaging, they might have a place in your life if you’re stretching thin. Bagged products are just as healthy as their unpackaged counterparts if the vegetables are fresh before workers package them.
At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is wash and chop vegetables until you can’t see straight. Pre-washed, bagged vegetables provide a level of convenience you can’t beat. You can make cooking plant-based meals easier by simply tossing your packaged ingredients in the skillet or using them to construct your salad. Save yourself time and energy and opt for pre-packaged vegetables if the prep work is the difference between eating a wholesome meal and opting for junk food.
Stock Up on Healthy Foods
Stocking up on healthy foods is perhaps one of the most notable points in a busy person’s guide to eating more plant-based foods. You will most likely need an adjustment period when you head to the grocery store if you’ve recently switched to a plant-based diet. You will likely spend much of your time and money in the produce section, but don’t fret! Eating plant-based is often cheaper than an omnivorous diet.
Be sure to stock up on a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to set yourself up for success. You can use staples such as brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, and black beans in a variety of plant-based dishes. You’ll be more inspired to try new recipes and stick to your diet when you have the right ingredients readily available.
Looking for an easy way to keep your plant-based meals with you wherever you go? At WOLFpak, we offer a wide variety of meal prep backpacks specifically designed to carry your food and drinks in style. You can easily stay on top of your diet by bringing your food with you, whether you’re headed to work or the gym. Our meal backpacks come in various sizes and styles and feature a built-in insulated pocket perfect for both cold and hot meals. Contact us to find the perfect meal management bag for your specific needs.