Monday, April 4, 2016

Plant-Based Routines and Meal Ideas

I recently wrote a blog about my grocery store lists and  foods I always have in my kitchen. Today's post is going to give you a few ideas of things you can make with those items. This blog will focus on our daily routines and plant-based, dairy-free meal ideas. Developing routines and food prepping in advance have cut in half the amount of time I spend preparing meals. Here are some routines we have implemented into our daily lives. Sidenote: If you haven't already, invest in a high powered blender. I recommend the Blendec or Vitamix. I love my Blendtec and use it everyday. 

Routine #1: Lemon Water
I try to start every day with 8 ounces of room temperature or warm water with juice from 1/2 a lemon.

Routine # 2: Green Smoothies
We have a green smoothie every day before breakfast.  It took awhile for this to become a habit, but when I got pregnant I drank one every single day, and have ever since. You can get so many nutrients from a smoothie and it's just a great way to start your day. If you don't have time to make fresh smoothies daily, you can freeze them in glass jars so that you can just grab them on your way out the door in the morning. I switch up our smoothies a lot, adding different nut milks (cashew, almond, coconut), greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens), veggies (cucumber, celery, beets),  fruits (avocado, mango, oranges, apples, berries, pineapple), nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans), and seeds (flax, chia and hemp).  Our typical smoothie contains homemade almond milk, homemade carrot juice, greens (the main ingredient), chia, hemp or flax seeds, homemade nut butter, banana, and frozen berries. Here are some quick easy recipes for some of our favorite smoothie ingredients. 
*Almond Milk: I make this a few times a week. Soak 1 cup almonds for 24 hours. Rinse and blend soaked almonds in 4 cups filtered water. Strain with nut milk bag if desired. Straining isn't necessary if you're just using the almond milk for smoothies. 
*Carrot Juice: 5-6 carrots, roughly chopped, 2-3 cups filtered water, juice from 1 lemon, 1 inch fresh ginger. Blend.
*Nut Butter-Brazil nut is Rio's favorite. We also love almond, cashew, walnut and macadamia nut butters. They are so easy to make too, just pulse in a high powered blender or food processor. I often add coconut oil, dates, shredded coconut, and/or cinnamon to my nut butters. Nuts are such a huge source of healthy fats and nutrients for our family. Delicious in smoothies, with fruit or by the spoonful. 

Routine #3: Breakfast
After our green smoothies we eat a healthy breakfast. Our favorite breakfast includes eggs, avocado toast and fermented veggies. We also love a good veggie omelette, oatmeal, or spinach pancakes for breakfast.  Here are some of our favorite easy breakfast recipes:
*Power Oatmeal: On the stovetop cook oats of your choice. With a few minutes left to cook, add healthy fat (coconut oil or grass-fed butter), berries of your choice, nuts or nut butter of your choice, and chia, flax or hemp seeds. Add a few sprinkles of cinnamon and raw honey or maple syrup if desired. 
*Spinach Pancakes: (Rio's favorite!) Beat 2 eggs. Mix in 1 ripe banana (smashed) and  1
handful chopped spinach. Add ground flax and cinnamon if desired. Whisk, and fry in coconut oil.

Routine #4: Lunch
Lunch often depends on what we ate for breakfast.  If we eat oatmeal, we often eat eggs and avocado for lunch. Some days I just steam some broccoli and throw it together with black beans and rice that have already been made. This is super yummy topped with avocado and/or nutritional yeast. One of our favorite lunches is roasted sweet potato with quinoa and avocado. a really easy meal, especially if the quinoa and sweet potato are prepared in advance. Drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper. Yummy and healthy. We also really enjoy salad for lunch with avocado, fermented veggies, bell peppers and cucumbers drizzled with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon or vinegar and nutritional yeast.  Black bean pasta with ghee, tomato sauce and vegan parmesan is super easy too. Some days I just saute frozen lima beans with quinoa and spinach.  


Routine #5: Snacks
We love homemade hummus with raw veggies (especially bell peppers and cucumbers). Apples and and nut butter are another favorite. We also really like frozen berries and nuts like raw pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds. Gogi berries, sugar snap peas, hard boiled eggs, dried seaweed and coconut chips are all fun snacks too. Rio and I each eat an apple everyday and he also loves bananas, mango, strawberries, oranges, and kiwi. Sometimes for a snack I make an acai smoothie with an organic, plant-based protein powder, almond milk, beets, pineapple, banana, frozen coconut, dates and a handful of greens. All these snacks are healthy and satisfying.


Routine #6: Dinner
I meal prep for the week by chopping and roasting veggies, making a pot of beans or lentils and a pot of rice and quinoa. These foods are healthy and can easily be used in numerous dishes.  I try to switch up the vegetables, beans, legumes and grains we eat weekly. Versatile veggies that are on my weekly list are cauliflower, carrots, celery, broccoli, zucchini, spinach, sweet potatoes and onion. We also eat a lot of spaghetti squash and butternut squash.  I love roasting veggies like cauliflower, broccoli and sweet potatoes and having them on hand for dinner recipes.  I usually make a pot of veggie broth each week to use for cooking quinoa, lentils, and beans. I love adding vegan parmesan to veggies or pasta and its super easy to make (1 cup raw cashews, 3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast,  1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt. Pulse in blender or food processor until finely ground. This stuff is a game changer and a staple in our house!) Sometimes I just google easy recipes based on the ingredients I have. There are so many amazing resources online-the possibilities are endless! Some of our favorite vegetarian dinners are zucchini tacos, falafel burgers, spaghetti squash and chickpea meatballs, zucchini noodles with red peppers, homemade chipotle bowls, quinoa or brown rice pasta with tomato sauce and vegan parmesan, and black bean & sweet potato burgers. Most of these recipes can be found on my Instagram. I try to keep my recipes as clean and simple as possible.  I love using herbs and spices like basil, cilantro, onion and garlic powder, crushed garlic, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and crushed red pepper to help spice up my meals. 


Routine #7: Evening Tea
I really enjoy closing my day with hot tea. I add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a couple teaspoons of raw honey. Some evenings I prefer to drink kombucha with a squeeze of lemon.

This seems like a lot, but establishing some routines and habits when it comes to food really makes life easier. Would love to hear feedback about your favorite plant-based meals and healthy habits! 

2 comments:

  1. Good sharing, for healthy purpose, Chia seeds offer the highest volume of Omega-3, as well as addition fiber (soluble and insoluble) along with vitamins or perhaps minerals you don’t usually get whenever you take sea food oil. Chia seeds giving you long lasting energy during the day moving in deep, restful sleep during the night time. May read this article about Chia seeds at:
    http://kidbuxblog.com/chia-seeds-is-the-most-extremely-versatile-superfood-and-vegetarian-supply-of-omega-3/

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  2. I love your approach - I totally agree that kids aren't given healthy options and become used to eating fatty, salty or sugary foods. We are in charge of their meals for a few years and I really try to do my best to feed my daughter whole foods. Healthy doesn't equal unappetizing either... Keep posting your recipes - they are so great and helpful! I also find that giving Piper an apple while we are grocery shopping or running errands is a huge lifesaver!

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