Friday, August 17, 2012

Eats: Planning Ahead

First and foremost, sorry for the long time absence. We were recently at the Chicago Veggie fest and got a few comments from people along the lines of "You guys write these interesting blogs, and then you just STOP!" So......sorry about that. I am making it a priority in my life to start keeping up with this blog just for you. But in order to do that, I think it needs to be made clear that this blog will have a large variety of content from food to fitness to everyday living to our travels etc etc. Hope you can deal with all that ;-)

 Today I want to talk to you about planning your meals ahead. DO you? If I don't plan my meals (roughly) in advance, it is inevitable that I will find myself with some less-than-healthy choice in my hand and I will feel guilty about it later. I'm not saying that you should feel guilty for every treat that you have, but you should be aware of them and know that that is what they are--treats. We have very busy schedules over here at Vegan Proteins and it seems like we are constantly playing a game of catch up, so cooking 3 times a day is often times, just unrealistic for us. But eating a balanced, varied, healthy diet is also very important to us. Here are some of the things that we do to make eating healthy, and easy over here.

 1. We cook in large batches. Usually enough to last about 3 days. This week, I cooked up large batches of quinoa, broccoli, collards, carrots, beets, and tofu. I also make up a jar of a ginger-garlic dressing that I am infatuated with at the moment. Put all of those things together and you have a delicious meal!

 2. Make sure you have plenty of storage containers. This may be a small obsession of mine. I love containers of all shapes and sizes and food containers are no exception. We only buy glass ones now, but if we eat out and have leftovers, we'll use the plastic take out container until we no longer can.

 3. Have an easy to make, nutritious breakfast every day. My personal favorite is Vega One in the Vanilla Chai flavor. I have a scoop with 1 cup of almond milk, and a big handful of ice. sometimes I throw in a half of a banana, or I have a cup of so of berries on the side. This ensures that I have a great platform to build on for the day. *BONUS* It doesn't make me nauseous before an intense workout the way some other breakfasts do.

 4. Have lots of go-to snacks on hand. Hands down our favorite quick snack is fruit. Apples, bananas, pears, mangoes and oranges are all portable and stay fresh for a while. berries, cherries an grapes are great if you have those handy containers too! Other snacks we like to have on hand are hummus and veggies or crackers, Vega Protein bars and our new Journey bars that I am crazy about, and if they're on sale/ I've been motivated enough to make them--Kale chips are my favorite!!!

 5. Let the seasons inspire you! We go to the farmers market every Saturday morning and get the produce that looks the best and sort of create simple meals around that before we hit up the other grocery stores. It helps give us focus and allows us to support our small community.

 6. Always have a few super fast meals up your sleeve. In general, we usually have a few of Amy's Gluten free vegan pizzas in the freezer and a couple of the frozen spinach and tofu burritos also. These are not staples in our diet, but on unexpected crazy nights, when something comes up and time disappears, these are life savers. We always have salad in the fridge and this rounds out the meal and leaves us satisfied and sane. 

7. Make dinner simple. Here at the Vegan Proteins house, we pretty much always know that dinner will be "Greens and Beans". :-) Dinner is always some kind of green sauteed or steamed veggie (we're on a broccoli rabe kick), and either beans or tofu. If we're still hungry after that, we have a piece of fruit or frozen grapes. Knowing that is what dinner will be nearly every night really takes the guess work out of it, and I appreciate that when my brain is already fried.

 How do you plan your meals? What do you eat? I love to hear new meal plan strategies! Let us know!!!