Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Meal Planning Guide

In order to eat a vegan diet, I need to make sure I'm keeping my nutrition levels in balance.  For a while I had a hard time giving up chicken entirely because I'd crave it.  I figured out that I probably wasn't eating enough of something to make a complete protein.  So I paid attention, altered a couple things, and now I don't crave chicken.  I have been officially meat free for 17 days.  I feel wonderful.

My goal right now is to start meal planning.  I'll start by planning one week at a time and then eventually be able to plan for an entire month. 

I'm using the vegan food pyramid as a guideline.

I want to make sure my body is getting all the nutrients it needs to live.  I also want to be able to eat what I want.  I'd want to be able to bake vegan cookies or anything else I want to make.  I love baking.  Right now, however, I need to meal plan so I can get everything I need on a daily basis.  After a while, I most likely won't think about it.

According to a vegan pyramid, I need to consume fats/sweets sparingly and preferably in liquid oils.  I need 2-3 cups of dairy substitutes, 2-3 cups of legumes/seeds/beans, 6-11 cups of whole grains, 3-5 cups of vegetables, and 2-4 cups of fruit.  I also need to drink 8-10 glasses of water and take a multivitamin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and calcium supplements. 

I've written out a guideline for myself based on the food pyramid:

Morning - drink 2 bottles of water (one average water bottle is two cups of water) and take vitamins
                 Eat 1 cup whole grain (i.e. oats for oatmeal/breakfast cookies, whole grain pancakes/toast/bagel)
                 Eat 1 tbsp. nuts (in oatmeal/cookies/pancakes)
                 Drink 1 smoothie for 1 cup fruit, 1 cup soy milk, and 1 tbls. chia seeds (meets serving size for seeds)
                  Eat another serving of fruit, either by itself or mixed in with your grain

Snack #1/2 - Eat a serving of fruit
                  Eat a serving of a vegetable
                  Eat nuts
                  Drink 1 bottle of water
          All of the above paired together will fill you up until lunch/dinner time.

Lunch/Dinner - Eat 2 servings of vegetables
                          Eat a whole grain (pasta, rice)
                          Eat a serving of beans
                          Drink 2 more bottles of water

Snack #3 (if you're a little hungry) - 1 cup vegan ice cream

Tally of my servings: Vitamins, 10 cups of water, 3 servings of whole grain, 6 servings of nuts/seeds/beans, 2 cups of dairy substitute, 4 servings of fruit, 6 servings of vegetables

With my meal planning guide, I meet all my goals.  All the meal ideas I have listed above are examples.  I mainly eat oatmeal for breakfast or breakfast cookies.  I do need to add more dairy substitutes to my diet.  Without the last snack, I wouldn't have reached the minimum.  I'll have to look up some recipes to try. 

I will be grocery shopping this week.  I will post later on about my grocery list and how to be frugal about shopping vegan. 

"Keep Moving Forward"

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