If you like to plan ahead, map things out, and know exactly what you are going to do three days from now, this Plant-Based Meal Planning Guide is not for you. Planning ahead is not one of my natural abilities, so I won’t pretend otherwise. However, I have learned a few tricks. So if you would like to gain more control over your meals without trying to become someone you aren’t, then keep reading!
Define Your Food Philosophy
First, we need to define your food philosophy. Everyone has their own ideas about eating. If you haven’t taken the time to identify yours, now would be a good time to do so. To help, here are my thoughts:
- I believe everyone benefits from eating more plants.
- While I avoid animal products, I occasionally allow eggs and dairy to slip in when I eat out. It’s just easier, and I don’t eat out often.
- I’m not against people eating meat (my family does), but I do think folks feel better when they eat less meat and avoid dairy.
- I believe processed oils should be limited. However, a healthy diet should include fats from whole-food sources like avocados, nuts, and seeds.
- All sweeteners should be limited or avoided. When necessary, the best options are whole fruits, dates, molasses, maple syrup and honey. (Many vegans view honey as an animal product and technically it is. I’m okay with that.) Agave nectar is a popular plant-based sweetener. However, it is very high in fructose — so I avoid it.
- I believe whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. If you have an allergy or gluten sensitivity, you should avoid the grains you have trouble with, but you should not eliminate grains entirely.
- Some processed foods — such as frozen fruits and veggies — are good for you. I try to balance convenience and reality with healthy choices.
- I strive to eat a balanced diet with a variety of whole foods.
There you have it. As I learn more about nutrition, my food philosophy continues to evolve – as I’m sure your’s will too!