We LOVE Cathy Fisher and her amazing site: Straight Up Food! If you haven’t checked out her site and her wonderful recipes, you are in for a real treat. We asked Cathy to write a post on some tips for easy plant-strong meals, she has 8 tips for living an easier plant-based life. We are breaking the post up into 2 days, so check back tomorrow for part 2!
8 Tips for Easier Plant-based Meals
We humans are wired to follow the path of least resistance, which is especially apparent when it comes to feeding ourselves: We want it now and we want it easy.
While eating the standard American diet has been a breeze for most of us (because that’s all we’ve known, and because we have been advertised to relentlessly), many who have taken the leap into plant-based eating have reported feeling like they’ve leapt into a bouncy house of confusion and struggle.
Even when people have read the books and articles, and seen the videos and lectures advocating a plant-based diet, it’s not uncommon to hear, “Okay, I get it, but how do I do it?” “How” is the question that many of us working in the plant-based community strive to answer on a daily basis and in countless ways.
Toward helping provide answers to the “how” questions and creating a more enjoyable existence in plant-land, here are 8 tips for making your meal preparations easier
1. Eat fewer foods at a meal: There is no rule that says you need to eat a certain number of different foods or dishes at a meal. While variety is just fine within a meal, you can also just eat one, two or three foods. For example, a breakfast of 10 tangerines or 3 bananas (a “mono meal”); a lunch of salad greens, beans and carrots; or for dinner, a plate of baked yams and Yukon potatoes with a little mustard or hummus (or even a big bowl of oatmeal or brown rice with cinnamon and almond milk). Try not to get too locked into what your plate used to look like or what it’s supposed to look like. As long as you’re eating an overall varied diet of wholesome plant foods, your plate can be arranged any way you like.
2. Repeat what you eat: There is also no rule that says you can’t eat the same types of dishes repeatedly. I have a short list of meals that I make over and over, and I vary their ingredients a little each time to keep things interesting. Whether I’m eating salads, soups, pasta, or baked potatoes, I might use black beans instead of pinto; grated zucchini instead of grated carrots; thinly sliced cabbage instead of lettuce; or Brussels sprouts instead of broccoli. Find 5-10 dishes that you love, and mix up the ingredients a little each time. For many of us, this happens somewhat naturally, as the seasons present their various fruits and vegetables to the farmers markets, and we adjust our shopping so that we are eating the very best that is available at the time.
3. Prepare ahead: This is one of those tips that many of us have heard but don’t seem to get around to doing. But if you can find some time on the weekend to do a little preparation for the week ahead, when presumably things will be busier, this will make your meals a lot easier. It’s such a dream to open the refrigerator to find that your next meal is nearly ready. You can do lots of things ahead of time, like cut up veggies, make pasta sauce, cook double batches of rice or beans, make a dozen whole-grain muffins to eat at breakfasts, or blend up some hummus or salsa to use as dressing, dip or sandwich spread throughout the week. One idea I saw lately is to make up a few complete salads, each in a mason jar with vegetables layered and the dressing at the bottom. When it’s time to eat, you just shake it up and pour it into a salad bowl. Clever!
Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2. In the meantime, tell us some of your tricks for simpler plant-strong life.
Cathy Fisher teaches cooking classes at True North Health Center and the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California. Visit StraightUpFood.com to view more of Cathy’s healthful plant-based recipes.