As Americans, we are constantly on the go. Whether it be your job, kids or whatever it is that sucks up your time. Sometimes planning for a week of healthy eating gets the boot and the last thing you want to do is slave over the stove for two hours making a gourmet meal. So what do many of us do? We either grab food from a local fast food joint or fall prey to convenient prepackaged and often, unhealthy choices, sacrificing all those grueling hours we spent in the gym. Use this simple one week plant based meal plan as a guide for healthy, abundant plant based meals this week and you will be sure to feel energized and light on your feet!
I have included a list of groceries to purchase for the week with a few recipe ideas and included pricing, so you can see that a eating plant based diet is not as expensive as you may think. It's all about strategic shopping!
For produce, it is best to go to a local produce market. They provide the best bang for your buck. In Chicago, locals prefer to shop at discounted produce markets, such as Stanley's on North Avenue. Stanley's is great, but there are many other hidden gems in the city that offer fresh produce at discounted prices. You can find artisan breads and canned products as well at many of these markets.
The List (Pricing is based on the average costs in major Urban markets such as Chicago).
2 lb of Quinoa $4.00/lb
1-2 lb Ancient Grainsof of your liking ( Freekeh, Farro, Grano or Barley is what I prefer) Or Opt for Heart Healthy Brown rice, Black rice or red rice. That would be a great gluten free option. $2-$3.50/lb
1 lb of Dried garbanzo beans, black beans or any bean of your liking! $1.25/lb.
Extra Firm Organic Tofu 1-2 packs $1.99 each
1 Upton's Italian Seitan Sausage $4.99
1 loaf of whole wheat bread (I like artisan fresh baked loaves, not prepackaged sliced bread with preservatives) $3.99
Fiber one bars or health bars of your choice. Vega Energy bars are a great vegan option. $4.99
1 Carton of Plain or no sugar added Vanilla Almond or Soy Milk $3.50
Fresh berries. I like to purchase in mass quantities when they are on sale and freeze them. $5.00
1 box of whole grain/wheat cereal of your choice. I like Kashi Go Lean $3.99 Or Old Fashion Oats for oatmeal $3.99
1 bunch Organic Kale $2.99
1 Large bunch of Organic Romaine, Green Leaf or Red Leaf lettuce $1.30
Whole Fruit of your choice (get what’s in season) $1.50/lb
1 bunch of Bananas that still have a touch of green on them $1.00
1-2 cucumbers $1.00 each
7 Organic Tomatoes of your choice $1.50/lb
1 bunch of cilantro .$.80
2 sweet yellow onions $1.50
1 small bundle of green onions $1.50
1 head of cabbage $1.50
1 eggplant $1.60
1 garlic glove $.70
4 avocados (2 semi ripe to eat within first 2 days, rest firmer) $6.00 or $1.50/ea
2-3 Lemons $2.00 (for lemon waters and quick homemade salad dressing)
A Few Staples Red Wine Vinegar $2.99
First Press extra virgin olive oil $8.00 (not the fake cheap crap-be sure to read the label here)
Reduced sodium Tamari (high quality soy sauce-gluten free) $4.00
Herbs and spices of your liking $4.00/ ea
Veganaise (vegan mayonnaise. Tastes better then Hellman’s and is cruelty free!) $3.99
Earth Balance buttery spread (vegan butter substitute made with high quality cold pressed oils and not hydrogenated oils=heart healthy fats) $4.99
Chia Seed $8.00/lb
Veggie stock $3.99
Raw nuts for quick snacking $11/lb.
Estimated Cost for 1 week: $124.00 (this amount will be less each week after staples are purchased)
Cooking Utensils-keep it simple. Pot to boil grains and beans. Cutting board. Chef’s knife. Large Spoon. Saute pan. Spatula. Blender, Wok or large fry pan. That’s about it.
Quick tips for healthy eating: Keep Fruit in a bowl so its in eyesight. Hide candy for a special treat. What you see, you are more likely to eat. If you buy a lot of fresh berries on sale like I like to, just rinse and freeze what you will not use within the next few days for ease of use. I always like to have berries in the freezer for smoothies, to heat up and put on cereal or in oatmeal.
Breakfast: Since time is of the essence, it's easy to grab a few pieces of fruit when on the go with a health food bar. Fiber one bars are filling and tasty. OR if you have a bit more time cook up some oatmeal, top with Fruit or Berries and little agave and almond milk. Add Chia seed for a nutrient boost. Cereal is another option that I have when time permits: 1 quick bowl of whole grain/wheat cereal with almond milk, chia seed and fresh fruit.
Smoothies: Takes just a few minutes to prep. throw in your fruit, berries, almond milk ,kale, agave, lemon juice, chia. Take with you on the run! Boom. Here is a quick recipe.
Sexy Breakfast Fruit Smoothie 1 Green Apple, 1 Orange, 2 kiwi, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup water, ½ c chia seeds (add to water in blender first, let sit), 3 Dates pitted, 1 Tbs Agave nectar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 cup almond or soy milk. Blend until smooth and creamy and enjoy!
Prepare for lunch and dinner for the week-Over the weekend soak your dried beans. Boil and get them ready for a week of meals. Cook your grains in veggie stock or salted water according to the directions and have them ready for the week. Reserve what you don’t need and store in the fridge or freezer for future use.
*Note-you will have A LOT of leftovers for lunches throughout the week and to eat for dinner on nights when you do not feel like cooking.
Lunch and Dinner Ideas Salads are great any day or night of the week! Make large salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, beans, avocado and quinoa on top. I like to make a big salad for lunch almost every day and put the grains or beans that I cooked on it. Very healthy and satisfying.
On Sunday, I like to make a crock-pot with veggie stock, cabbage, beans or lentils, spices and seasonings of your choice and eat that throughout the week for lunch or dinner.
Monday-Asian Stir-Fry Night. Stir Fry is simple and satisfying! Use either whole grains that you cooked up early in the week or cook up some heirloom rice (takes 30 minutes or so) Stir Fry with Tofu (Pressed and seared), nuts and veggies of your choice. I like to top with Avocado. Here is a tasty recipe to try! Freeky Freekeh Stir Fry
Tuesday-Italian pasta night. Farro Pasta or whole grain pasta served with sautéed veggies, homemade red sauce or a nice jarred arrabbiatta sauce. Serve with crusty whole wheat bread and olive oil. Use Upton's seitan Italian sausage in place of meat.
Wednesday-Enjoy some of your crock pot leftovers for dinner!
Thursday-Do a large green salad, add garbanzo beans and vegetables of your liking. Make a simple salad dressing with 2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt, pepper, 1 pressed garlic, 1 part olive oil and some herbs. This is a great light and easy dinner. It's good to eat light sometimes.
Friday- Go out to eat one night too…you deserve it! Just make smart choices when out. It’s easy. Many restaurants have plant based options. Check out a list of restaurants around Chicago that I recently recommended for Chicago Eater here Where to Feed your Inner Herbivore.
Saturday-Eat more leftovers and start all over again by switching up the grains, fruits and veggies you purchase. Get creative! There are a lot of online recipes for vegan/plant based meals.
Enjoy eating Plant Strong and please share your feedback in my comment section below!