- Planning Weekly Meals -
Have you ever done a food shop and felt energised and positive after? I don’t know why but I always do, and it seems I’m not alone after I posed the same question to the lovely people on Twitter.
Admittedly I wouldn’t compare it to many meditative practices because other shoppers occasionally make it stressful. There is a lot of awkward pretending to look at shelves while waiting for someone else to move their trolley that is rudely obstructing you from picking up that one millionth spice jar you don’t really need.
Yet when you get out of the supermarket with bags in hand (preferably reusable bags for life) you feel triumphant at having successfully completed a skill in the game of Being An Adult. I’ve a bunch of food – fruit, vegetables, soya beans, and bread that I resent paying £2 for but need to so I don’t have a sore stomach. Okay a little bit of junk food but mostly healthy stuff! Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.
When I started my trek home I felt good and in the mood to do a meal plan for the week. I’ve always wanted to do a meal plan but life made that relatively difficult. Life being a word which means here: work. When you work shifts with no consistent hours or knowing what actual days, never mind the actual time frame within that day that you’ll work, it’s nearly impossible to meal plan.
Now that isn’t the case; I’m working Monday to Friday, 9-5 and I love it. The routine is great. I know when I’m working, when I finish and more importantly: I know my evenings and weekends are free.
SO! It’s Sunday afternoon, I’ve a fridge and cupboard full of resources and a positive attitude: let’s plan my weekly meals!
- The Process -
Planning meals turned out surprisingly quite difficult. I wanted a bit of variety, different spices and not just have pasta every single night. Not that perpetual pasta consumption is a bad thing, but you know. One of the dinners is literally called 'vegan bowl' and I even drew a little diagram to help with its conception...
First, I began with making a list of all the ingredients I had in my fridge and cupboard to go from there. I then decided to divide my planner up initially not by day but my meal so there was one page for breakfasts, one for lunches and another for dinners.
A few other things that guided me on my meal choice: I wanted my breakfasts to be smoothies. You might be thinking can those be breakfasts?! Well I thought the same thing but I’ve been watching so many YouTube videos about how these smoothies can be delicious, super healthy and really convenient. What’s not to love? Admittedly I’m someone who struggles with breakfast. I either wake up early enough to make breakfast or I sleep in to the absolute last minute and then food is out of the question.
When I was shopping I specifically wanted to buy frozen fruit for smoothies and I researched five different kinds I could have for breakfast. As for the weekends I thought I could go a bit different and added pancakes and French toast.
My lunches have mostly been designed to be leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. I usually always make too much for dinner and my obsession for tupperware comes in handy and I’ve a lunch for tomorrow.
Another important aspect of my meal planning is to keep it relatively simple. I could easily try and make something extravagant every night...but seriously? Time, effort and energy. Three things I am short in. I wanted to prove that vegan and gluten free cooking doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or even that complicated.
But enough of the chit chat, let’s walk you through my vegan and gluten free meal plan for the week!
- The Meal Plan -
I've included a picture, admittedly not the best, of my meal plan from Monday to Friday for you to see! But of course I'm going outline in writing what I'm going to eat.
Breakfast: Spinach and banana smoothie
Lunch: Cheesy pasta
Dinner: Curry noodles
Breakfast: Sweet potato smoothie
Lunch: Curry noodles
Dinner: Vegan bowl with satay sauce
Breakfast: Green protein smoothie
Lunch: Sandwich, yogurt and apple.
Dinner: Sweet potato risotto (with buckwheat!)
Breakfast: Chocolate, blueberry, zucchini smoothie
Lunch: Sweet potato risotto
Dinner: Carrot and butternut squash soup
Breakfast: Caramel apple green smoothie
Lunch: Carrot and butternut squash soup
Dinner: Garlic pesto gnocchi
Dinner: BBQ Cauliflower
Breakfast: Vegan French toast
Dinner: Tofu burger
I'm excited for this week - the beginning of September, the third week in my new job and the first week in my new house!