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It’s your meal plan Monday!

This month I took on the Veganuary challenge and committed to eating vegan for 30 days. Many of you are probably asking WHY!?! Well, I am always on the hunt for healthy options and after cooking nearly every meal for a year straight, I am kind of in a food rut. I enjoy trying new things, I thought this might be an interesting way to explore. I was also curious to see if it impacts any changes in my health.

Thankfully, I truly love my veggies. After two weeks into eating all vegan, I felt great! My energy levels increased and my chronic pain issues decreased. I found some new foods to enjoy and new nutrition combinations. So, this week I am sharing some of the vegan recipes I’ve tried so far and enjoyed.

Breakfast:

Vegan donuts are a new family favorite. This recipe calls for bananas and nut butter and maple syrup instead of processed sugar. A new family favorite!

Quinoa bowls not everyone in my family is a fan of quinoa. But, I love that I can make so many different types of dishes with it. I make up a big batch and leave in the fridge and mix into my veggie bowls or salads.

Smoothie my hands down favorite is a chocolate avocado smoothie. It is filling and chocolatey! I love this recipe but I omit the bananas because my smoothie mixer can’t handle how thick the avocado makes this drink!

Lunch:

Un-chicken salad on a wrap warning, this does not taste anything like chicken. But it is delicious as it’s own recipe. I highly recommend if you are not used to vegan mayo, start off by using your favorite brand. Easy to make ahead for a few lunches through the week.

Hummus wrap hummus is my new favorite go-to condiment for almost everything. I slather it on my wraps, add a dollop on my salad or quinoa bowl and I even top my baked potato with it. Adding it to a veggie wrap adds flavor and protein to your midday meal.

Dinner:

Portobello or veggie burger with sweet potato fries: I’m not going lie, I buy all of these premade from the freezer section to make it an easy night off from cooking. My family will eat this with me, so it’s nice when we are all eating the same meal at once.

Lentil Bolognese over pasta this one was a hit at home. No one noticed the extra veggies. I will say that I’ve also cheated by just warming up meatless crumbles into our favorite sauce and tossing it over pasta to save time.

Chickpea curry over rice this one is loaded with veggies and glorious nutrition. It is also a little more time consuming, so I make it on the weekends when I have more time to devote to cooking.

Snacks:

Popcorn with crunchy chickpeas and pumpkin seeds, cranberries. I just mix all of these together in a bowl and munch on them while I am working.

Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with nut butter. This is also a new kid favorite. They don’t even complain that it’s healthy.

Orange slices with chocolate hummus is a new go-to sweet snack.

Oreos with almond milk. Yes, it’s true, Oreos are VEGAN!

Tips:

If you are interested in going vegan be sure to research it well to be sure it is a diet you can follow and check with your doctor first.

Plan your meals and snacks ahead because you will be definitely be hungry more often as veggies tend to be less calorie dense.

Try to include healthy fats so your body can feel fuller longer.

Drink a lot of water and herbal teas between meals to keep all that extra fiber moving.

Don’t make it all or nothing to start. You can try one meal or new product a week, then add another and another until you are fully vegan or at a place where you feel comfortable including more plant based meals into your diet.

Also, don’t hate me. But there is no good vegan cheese substitute. There. I said it! I do add nutritional yeast in place of grated cheese for a mild cheese flavor. But, I have yet to find anything that has the same taste or texture equivalent. If you’ve found one you love, tell me in the comments below!

Roxanne Ferber is a twin mom and freelance writer. The Whatever Mom blog is here to help other moms accept the messier parts of parenting and find solutions.

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