Meal planning while on a vegetarian diet isn’t any more or less complicated than meal planning for an omnivore diet. However there are some important things you’ll need to learn and remember for a diet that’s primarily plant based.
Raw fruits and veggies aren’t loaded with preservatives, which is part of why they’re so good for you. However they can expire relatively quickly, especially when not stored or handled properly. There are a few ways you can work around or even prevent this.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables often have the same nutritional value as their thawed counterparts. If your fridge is low on space, stock on up frozen. They’re excellent for making cold desserts too.
- Plan your meals around the shelf life of your fruits and vegetables. This ensures you use everything in time with the least amount of waste possible.
- Learn the differences between best by dates, use by dates, and sell by dates. Only one of those means your fresh foods will be going bad soon, and you don’t want any food going to waste.
- Learn the signs of different fruits and vegetables spoiling. Not only spot and speck you see if necessarily a sign of decay. But some foods have telltale signs. For example, carrots will get slimy and have an odor to them.
It’s also useful to buy what’s in season. It supports your local farmers, is less likely to be covered in pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and is usually cheaper.
Not to mention that foods fresh from the farm have more nutritional value. All of these things coincide with reasons to meal plan. Be mindful of what’s in season and when, and incorporate that into your meal planning.
What better way to be sure your grocery store has fresh, local produce in stock than to follow Mother Nature’s schedule?
If you’re up to the task some vegetarians take to growing their own produce in their backyard or windowsill planters.
As the saying goes, ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’. Vegetarianism and a green thumb do go hand-in-hand.
There are certain tools and utensils that every vegetarian should have in their kitchen because of how often they’ll be using fruits and vegetables.
- Food processors and blenders are essential for making your own spreads, smoothies, and desserts.
- A spiralizer can turn veggies into a delicious pasta alternative.
- A mandolin slicer is the best thing to happen to vegetarian meal prep ideas since veggie burgers.
- We can’t forget about the avocado slicer either.
Above all, you need to make sure that what you’re making gives you all the nutrients you need. When learning how to meal plan you’re sure to read a lot about portion sizes, healthy alternatives to popular processed foods or ingredients, and organizational tools.
But not every vegetarian meal planner learns about all the different vitamins and minerals they might miss out on when eating a plant-based diet.
Make sure your meal plans include foods that are rich in Vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and zinc.
To help you remember, color code your food storage units to keep track of what foods are rich in what nutrients (for example, purple lids for iron and red lids for zinc).
This is a great way to both remember to do it, and to learn more about what you eat.
Also Read: Vegetarian Meal Plan
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