I have been sorting through the blog to try and make it look a bit better and easier to find my recipes etc, I will eventually have a full directory page so that you can search for recipes etc.
Please bear with me, as I am learning how to make it look better as I go along! In the meantime, I will be posting on here more regularly and keeping you up to date with tips and tricks I have been learning along the way, as well as of course recipes and reviews of restaurant I have been to and lots of other topics linked to living a healthy cruelty-free life.
In terms of the recipes, I am going to start uploading recipes series, there will be groups of recipes that will either make an entire meal when made together, or can be served as side on their own, or foods that you might serve for big group gatherings where you want to make a lot of little things to feed a lot of people, so do look out for those and let me know what you think about the new layout.
This blog is based on where to start when food shopping as a new vegan and food prep in general including how to save yourself some pennies on the way! So here are 15 tips to get started with!
1 – Make your food colourful
Try to pick out vegetables that are at least 5 different colours, whether they are fruits and vegetables you know and love or ones that are completely new to you, by eating different coloured foods you are ticking off more and more vitamins and minerals off the list and your plate is going to look more appealing too. Don’t worry the vegan police won’t be after you if you have a ‘beige’ day but it really can boost your daily mood to have a colourful plate of goodness to eat!
2 – Meal planning is essential
When I first went vegan, I watched a lot of meal prep videos for recipe inspiration but due to my serious lack of organisation, never in a million years thought I would be able to meal plan for a day ahead of time let alone a week. Now I can prep for 2 weeks ahead of time easily and it has saved me so much time and money that I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get their life in order. You can save so much money by having your meals in order and it is up to you whether you want to eat the same meal every day for the week or mix it up slightly. I usually make sure I have quinoa, couscous and rice on hand so I can switch them around with whatever veggies I am having for dinner that week and then change the seasonings too, so what essentially is the same meal, becomes slightly different meals as the week goes on.
3 – Keep a realistic budget in mind
Whether you are budget conscious or not it always nice to know that you haven’t thrown money away unnesccarily and so no matter what your budget you can always tailor your lifestyle to an amount that is realistic to you. Whether you want to buy lots of different ingredients and options for each week or have the same meals every day, it really is up to you but I would say that keeping a realistic budget is always going to help you out and no, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for veggies and fruits but you can find savings in not buying the pre-sliced veggies for example or buying tinned fruit. There are ways to meet all budgets you just need to shop around and always make a list!
4 – Always have options
Like I mentioned in meal prepping it always good to have a few options like quinoa and couscous to hand for switching up the meals, they cost very little and it is always great to have a few staples to make a meal. Pasta is another great staple to always have to hand as well as rice, they are so easy to cook and can make a meal with simply a few other ingredients, great for when you are wanting something quick and easy or are wanting to use up leftover veggies.
5 – Create salad options
Now obviously vegans don’t just eat salads, but, the basic lettuce, cucumber and tomato combo can be jazzed up a bit so that when it comes to lunchtimes and you are wanting a satisfying salad, you have a few favourites up your sleeve. Whether you add walnuts and apple, grate some carrot or beetroot, or add some blueberries – the decision is yours but having a fresh delicious salad is always a great option for a really quick dinner with some sweet potato fries or through in some quinoa or bulgar wheat to make it a more wholesome meal.
6 – Don’t forget snacks!
Vegan snacks are the best and I don’t just say it because I am vegan, I say it because it is true and once you start finding your way through the long lists of what vegans can eat, you will start to realise you can have quite a few of the snacks the ‘non-vegan’ you would have, most crisps are vegan, most crackers, a lot of cereals are, though check for Vitamin D as this often means that they aren’t vegan. One of my favourite snacks is a wholemeal tortilla, that I cover on one side with a layer of vegan chocolate spread and then another layer of crunchy peanut butter and then roll up a banana in the tortilla, it is filling delicious and take less than a minute to make. The point is, there are so many options whether healthy is the way or a bit of a treat is deserved, don’t forget snacks are a good thing!
7 – Toppings, toppings, toppings
Whatever meal it is for, toppings are a great way of adding some diversity. For example, if you have oats every day for breakfast but one day add some apple and peanut butter, the next day add some jam and the following day add some bananas, you have essentially had 3 different breakfast. The same with your veggies, if you add some mint, garlic, ginger or lemongrass, you can really switch things up to make meals different every day with the same basic ingredients. Investing in some seasoning and herbs will help to spice things up as well, oh and of course, chilli sauce!
8 – Freeze!
I always make sure I have some frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer, as they are great to have on hand. They are reasonably priced and obviously keep much longer than fresh, which means much less waste and take no time to defrost, so it is always worth keeping that in mind. the next time you go shopping.
9 – Invest in food containers
It is so worth investing in some decent food containers because whether you are going to using them for meal prepping or freezing leftovers in them, you want them to last you or you will have to keep replacing the cheap ones anyone and will probably end up spending more money in the long run. You always want to make sure that they freezer friendly, seal tightly, so your lunch doesn’t end up all over the place and get them in a few sizes as well.
10 – Spice up your life!
As I touched on briefly before investing in herbs and spices can really change your meals and make mealtime much more versatile. If you don’t like spice that is no problem, smokey paprika and garlic are great places to start, you can start to build your spice rack up as you go along and whether you want to use dried herbs, or grow them yourself at home they are really quite affordable. The more you have the more you can start to experiment and find which ones you like the most!
11 – Make it from scratch
Don’t be afraid to try making things from scratch, whether it be a curry or a cake, you can save so much money by making it yourself and it will help you gain confidence in the kitchen if you are culinary skills aren’t great. Don’t worry if you don’t get it spot on the first time, keep trying. I have made so many accidental dishes by trying out different recipes and adjusting them slightly, there is no harm done in experimenting yourself, especially if it saves you money!
12 – Let your creativity flow
If you crave something that isn’t vegan and want to try and make a vegan version, give it a go! Most of the time what you are thinking of making won’t be too hard and if it is, don’t limit yourself. The more you try the better you will get and who knows? – a masterpiece may come from it. With 1000’s of Instagrammers, showing off their amazing culinary conquests, who says you can’t be the next big thing!
13 – Try, try again
Now whilst I appreciate there are something food items in life we just don’t like, if it something relatively new, I really do encourage to try it a few times in a few different ways before you rule it out entirely. I used to hate kale until I cooked it a few times and found new ways to eat it. My advice will always be to try something a few times before you make the final decision to wave goodbye to it for good.
14 – Hydration is the key
Water is the most important thing in any lifestyle whether you want to be vegan or not. The key to being healthy is always to be hydrated, drinking at least 2 litres of water a day is so important and it must be part of your daily routine if it isn’t already.
15 – Track your food
It is always a good idea to have a diet tracker, there are lots of food tracker apps that are free to download and it doesn’t take long to add all the food you have eaten that day as well as keep track of the water you have drunk. You can usually add the exercise you have done each as well so that you have a clear indication of whether you are eating enough and getting the right vitamins and minerals into your body.