I often get asked what I eat ‘plant-based’ in a day.
For me, variety is key. Whether you are a budding chef, a keen cook or not, it is useful to plan your weekly menu as this takes out the day to day ‘guess’ work and makes it all that much easier.
When planning, you can research recipes you fancy making and enjoying, shop for the right ingredients so you have everything to hand when it comes to cooking and baking, and simply get cooking without the guesswork and without having to resort to buying ready made food or reaching for those endless take-out menus which can both become quite expensive if this way of eating becomes a habit as well as perhaps not being so healthy & nutritious.
I normally way up around 5.30/6am and kickstart my day with some meditation time before heading out for a walk for anywhere between 30-60 minutes. I love getting out in the fresh air early as it is quiet, the world (most of it) is still sleeping and I don’t have to ‘duck and dive’ like I’m walking on a chess board, giving way to people, dogs and bikes!
For me, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. What I enjoy does depends on a number of factors: a) time of day I get to sit and enjoy this meal b) what activities I have planned for the day i.e. whether I am working/cooking or not c) what foods I have available to enjoy (using up leftovers and what I have sitting in the fridge that needs to be used up is very important to me). However, day to day here are some of my favourite meals:
– Porridge made with water and a splash of oat milk, topped with a banana and a tablespoon of pure and natural (no added sugar or oil) peanut butter and if it’s the crunchy variety, even better!
– Sourdough toast with plant-based butter and marmalade or smashed avocado with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, squeeze of lime juice, sea salt & black pepper and some chilli flakes.
– Smoothie packed with frozen berries & bananas (using up fruits I have frozen to stop them ending up being thrown away) mixed with oat milk, a handful of walnuts or other nuts and seeds and a protein powder super green mix all blended up (this is for especially enjoyed for those busy days).
– Granola (home-made using all the ingredients I love: oats, desiccated coconut, mixed nuts, cinnamon, cacao powder and whatever else I fancy at the time) topped with coconut yoghurt, banana and berries and a drizzle of peanut butter.
– Tofu scramble on toasted sourdough toast with slices of avocado.
– Stack of pancakes with fresh berries, slices of banana and a dash of maple syrup enjoyed best leisurely at the weekend!
Lunch is my main meal of the day and is enjoyed a little later in the day i.e. 1/2pm and can consist of any of the following:
– Soup (a mixture of vegetables I have in the fridge that need to be used up) with a variety of beans mixed in (I love butterbeans at the moment), home-made stock all cooked and enjoyed with a dash of oat or coconut cream
– Chilli with rice topped with coconut yoghurt and salad
– A Persian rice and veggie stew dish which normally consists of Shiitake mushrooms and lots of fresh herbs and vegetables
– Tofu Katsu Curry is another favourite of mine served with Jasmine rice or this Tofu Katsu Ramen soup served with rice noodles
The list for lunch is endless so check out my social media posts for more up to date dishes of what I enjoy on a daily basis 🙂
Who doesn’t enjoy a snack. Ultimately, I love to make healthy snacks so that I don’t feel guilty when I enjoy them on a daily basis (raw balls made with dates and walnuts, raw brownies, handful of mixed nuts and dried mulberries, roasted chickpeas, home-made vegetable crisps made using my dehydrator or simply a fresh mejdool date filled with almond or peanut butter) however on the odd occasion, as my mum has a sweet tooth, I do make cakes and cookies, with our favourite at the moment being Cherry Bakewell Tarts either made up as a big round tart or in individual tartlets! When I have time, I also make up platters of fresh fruit and vegetables to snack on as I am a bit of a snacker!
Normally I don’t eat anything after all the above however if I do get hungry, I normally have some toast or crackers with some vegan cheese (slices or cream cheese) topped with tomato or chutney or some fruit or a salad in the Summer and soup in the Winter. It’s all a very chilled out affair!
WHAT IS MY KEY TO SUCCESSFUL PLANT-BASED EATING?
PLAN PLAN PLAN! I really do believe in this as it certainly is the key to success when it comes to eating the rights foods and having the right ingredients in your kitchen.
FLAVOUR: using herbs and spices to spruce up any meal helps bring flavours to your dishes, making them tasty and more enjoyable. With plant-based cooking, you have to go that extra mile to ensure that there is a good balance in texture and flavours and make sure there is variety so that you and your family don’t get bored!
EXPERIMENT: don’t shy away from using new types of vegetables and fruits that you haven’t perhaps heard of. Coming from the Middle-East, we are BIG on flavour and use a wide variety of different vegetables when it comes to creating Persian dishes. Going to local markets as well as Asian and Mediterranean supermarkets is a great way to look around and see what is on offer and trying out some of those funny looking ingredients. A great way to learn about these types of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices is to ask the shopkeeper – they are normally very friendly and helpful and of course, shopping this way helps to support our local businesses in our community.