Whether you've recently omitted meat, eggs and dairy from your diet or you've maintained a vegan lifestyle for years, creating a meal plan helps you and your family eat healthier. Plan your menus to make sure each meal includes proteins, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Meal plans also help you save money -- when you shop for preplanned meals, you are less likely to buy extra items or foods that will spoil before you eat them.
Plan a variety of meatless dishes based on foods from China, India and other Asian countries. For a protein rich stir-fry meal, add tofu, brown rice and veggies like broccoli, bok choy and snow peas to your grocery list, along with soy sauce or your favorite vegan stir-fry sauce. Plan an Indian dinner and buy ingredients for dal, a traditional dish made from red lentils, garlic, ginger, vegetable oil and a variety of spices, served with rice and Indian bread like paratha.
Vegan tacos and burritos can be an easy meal to serve to vegans and non-vegans alike. Make top-notch, healthy tacos by adding a few key items to your grocery list. Buy dried pinto beans to make refried beans from scratch or opt for canned black beans for quick meals. Get peppers, onions, tomato, lettuce and salsa to stuff into your tacos or burritos, along with avocados or store-bought guacamole. Remember to check the ingredients on packaged tortillas for hidden dairy or egg products before you purchase them.
Stock your refrigerator with plenty of vegan sandwich ingredients for nutritious meals you can pack in a school lunch or take with you to the office. Make almond butter and banana sandwiches as a tasty alternative to peanut butter and jelly, or have fun experimenting with combinations of nut butters and fruit preserves for children's lunches. For more grownup palates, stock up on vegan proteins like tofu and tempeh. Look for flavored and pre-marinated varieties at the grocery store to save cooking time. Hummus, a Middle Eastern spread made from chickpeas, should also be on your vegan grocery list. High in protein and healthy fat, hummus makes a great sandwich filling for kids and adults, accompanied by raw or roasted veggies.
Make sure your vegan breakfast includes protein and complex carbohydrates to start your day off right. Plan quick breakfasts on weekdays that require little preparation like cereal with non-dairy milk, oatmeal with fruit and nuts or whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Your grocery list for weekday meals might include a low-sugar vegan cereal, rolled oats, whole grain bread, nut butters, an assortment of fruits, and almond, rice or soy milk. If you have the time on weekends, plan a heartier vegan breakfast for you and your family. Add tofu and some favorite veggies to your grocery list and whip up a batch of scrambled tofu -- a vegan alternative to scrambled eggs. Serve your scramble alongside hash browns, fruit and toast. If your breakfast doesn't feel complete without something meaty, check your grocery freezer section for vegan alternatives to bacon and sausage.
Add snacks to your daily meal plans and grocery lists to keep you from running to the vending machine between meals, searching for a tasty vegan option to quiet your rumbling stomach. Make sure your snack choices are portable and store well outside of a fridge, especially if you spend most of your day away from home. Your grocery list should include a variety of fruit that can be eaten as-is, or sliced and divided into baggies or containers for portability. Nuts and nut butters are other easy snack ingredients. Serve your kids sliced apples and bananas dipped in natural peanut butter or store-bought trail mix. For a savory snack, pick up a container of hummus and pre-cut baby carrots, celery sticks or tortilla chips. Check your grocery store for vegan energy bars and granola bars that can serve you well if you forget to pack a snack or need to eat on the go.