Vegan transition

AmyⓋKH

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I'm new here! My husband and I decided to become vegan about 3 weeks ago and it's been going well so far. I have been exploring new recipes and flavors and it's been exciting. we are working on transitioning our toddlers as well. However, I am in nursing school and am about to start my up last semester and am worried at how much time this will take away from studying.

Anybody have any time saving tips for meal planning and meal prepping? I feel like I still have so much to learn and I won't have much time to learn it now with school starting back up in a little over a week. Thanks!
 

Lou

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Welcome. Congrats. Good luck.

I don't think it HAS to take away any time from studying. But I suppose that has a lot to do with priorities.

If it is a priority to cook a fancy new meal every day - well, then that could cause some time issues.

I find a few meals that I'm comfortable with and just make those over and over again until i get tired of them and then try something new or different.

For instance this week my breakfasts alternate between bagel sandwiches, oatmeal, and breakfast smoothies.

My lunches have been split pea soup and a roll or a vegan sausage with a side of beans and corn.

My dinners have been tofu broccoli and mushroom stir fry over rice or lentil stew over mashed potatoes.

My snacks are more varied. Hot chocolate, apples, bananas, persimmons, nuts, and guacamole.

----
Another thing you can do is take a page out of Henry Ford's book and try to mass-produce some of your meals.

For instance, most of us don't make just a small serving of mashed potatoes but a big batch. I will make a quart at a time and then freeze the extra servings. Same thing with my lentil stew and my split pea soup. I make a quart at a time and keep the extras servings in Tupperware or freezer bags. Since your family is bigger, you might even try making 2 quarts at a time.

Oatmeal is pretty easy to make but it can also be mass-produced. You can make single or double servings as overnight oats. or you can make up one or two quarts of it on the stovetop and store the excess in the fridge or freezer. This is especially a good idea if you like steel-cut oats. You can even add all the extras to the oatmeal before you store it.

If you have a big blender why not make a quart of smoothies at a time. or this is a cool trick i just learned. Put all the ingredients but the plant milk in a freezer bag and then when you need to make a smoothie you just empty the freezer bag in the blender and add milk.

I like to have what I call "emergency meals" in the freezer, too.
My go-to is PB&J sandwiches. When I come home from the store I turn a loaf of bread into PB&Js assembly-line style. then pop all the sandwiches back in the bag and into the freezer. They do defrost pretty quick or you can just put them in the toaster oven for a minute.

My other emergency meal is bean burritos. I make up 10 at a time. I used to wrap them individually in wax paper and freeze them in a big Tupperware container but now I just put them in freezer bags individually. I then re-use the freezer bags. I like to make them with the smaller sized tortillas so that they can be eaten one-handed. Once out of the freezer they only take 1 - 2 minutes in the microwave.

Another trick I learned is when getting home from the grocery store to wash and cut up all my veggies. I am more likely to eat veggies as a snack if they are all ready to go. It also cuts down on prep time on meals. I will even sometimes make up a really big salad with lots of ingredients and then store it in my biggest Tupperware container. Eating a salad, especially one with a lot of ingredients is a lot more attractive when it takes less than a minute to assemble.

There are several YouTube vegans who do instructional videos on mass-producing assembly line style a whole week of meals.
The Cheap Lazy Vegan is my favorite. Garbanzo Girl, Caitlin Shoemaker, and avantgardevegan are all very good.
 

Emma JC

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welcome to the forum @AmyⓋKH

congrats on the decision to take control of your health!

You have been given great advice by @Lou and @Qwaychou

Having a plan in place for the week is also very helpful, even if you premake food. It saves a lot of time at the grocery store and saves food going bad also, especially fresh produce. I buy some of my vegetables frozen, like brussel sprouts etc so I always have some available. Berries and pineapple too, I buy frozen.

Happy New Vegan Year to you and your family.

Emma JC
 

Lou

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@Emma JC
Hey, if you run out of room in your freezer, can you just put the veggies and fruit on the porch?
:)
 
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I meal prep every week. I'm only one person, so I don't think my meal prep method will work for you, but I wanted to speak into the time commitment issue. For me, it's about mindset. I just graduated from grad school, so I completely get feeling like you don't have time to meal prep. What helped me was to think of my meal prep time as a time to reset. It's a time every week where I don't have to think about school or anything else. I just put on a good audio book or playlist and cook. It's your chance for a much-needed break. I've done meal prep throughout my whole three years of grad school and I did not have any issues completing my schoolwork. It takes a lot of courage to step away from the books for a large chunk of time, but it's so worth it. Hope this helps.
 

Emma JC

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@Emma JC
Hey, if you run out of room in your freezer, can you just put the veggies and fruit on the porch?
:)
yes! the added refrigerator/freezer space is so great in the winter, especially when it comes to cooling down leftovers after dinner

The challenge here is our weather has been so warm that you can't trust it completely. Here in Southern Ontario we have no snow and today was 7 degrees C or 46 degrees F.

Emma JC
 
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David3

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Hi Amy,

Vegan meals can be simple and satisfying - no need to make any 15-ingredient dishes.

The Vegan Society has a straightforward webpage about vegan nutrition: https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrition-overview

For toddlers, different nutrition recommendations apply. The Vegetarian (actually vegan) Resource Group has a good webpage about vegan nutrition for young children: https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php . Because good nutrition is so important for young children, you might consider making an appointment with a Registered Dietitian who specializes in children's nutrition and in vegetarian nutrition. You can find a local Registered Dietitian through the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: https://www.eatrightpro.org/about-us/academy-vision-and-mission/who-we-are/contact-us

If you ask long-time vegans, you'll generally find that we eat simply (just like everyone else). Bean burritos with rice and a vegetable. Whole wheat spaghetti with boiled lentils or mashed tofu. Canned vegetarian chili with rice - simple stuff.
 
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AmyⓋKH

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Welcome. Congrats. Good luck.

I don't think it HAS to take away any time from studying. But I suppose that has a lot to do with priorities.

If it is a priority to cook a fancy new meal every day - well, then that could cause some time issues.

I find a few meals that I'm comfortable with and just make those over and over again until i get tired of them and then try something new or different.

For instance this week my breakfasts alternate between bagel sandwiches, oatmeal, and breakfast smoothies.

My lunches have been split pea soup and a roll or a vegan sausage with a side of beans and corn.

My dinners have been tofu broccoli and mushroom stir fry over rice or lentil stew over mashed potatoes.

My snacks are more varied. Hot chocolate, apples, bananas, persimmons, nuts, and guacamole.

----
Another thing you can do is take a page out of Henry Ford's book and try to mass-produce some of your meals.

For instance, most of us don't make just a small serving of mashed potatoes but a big batch. I will make a quart at a time and then freeze the extra servings. Same thing with my lentil stew and my split pea soup. I make a quart at a time and keep the extras servings in Tupperware or freezer bags. Since your family is bigger, you might even try making 2 quarts at a time.

Oatmeal is pretty easy to make but it can also be mass-produced. You can make single or double servings as overnight oats. or you can make up one or two quarts of it on the stovetop and store the excess in the fridge or freezer. This is especially a good idea if you like steel-cut oats. You can even add all the extras to the oatmeal before you store it.

If you have a big blender why not make a quart of smoothies at a time. or this is a cool trick i just learned. Put all the ingredients but the plant milk in a freezer bag and then when you need to make a smoothie you just empty the freezer bag in the blender and add milk.

I like to have what I call "emergency meals" in the freezer, too.
My go-to is PB&J sandwiches. When I come home from the store I turn a loaf of bread into PB&Js assembly-line style. then pop all the sandwiches back in the bag and into the freezer. They do defrost pretty quick or you can just put them in the toaster oven for a minute.

My other emergency meal is bean burritos. I make up 10 at a time. I used to wrap them individually in wax paper and freeze them in a big Tupperware container but now I just put them in freezer bags individually. I then re-use the freezer bags. I like to make them with the smaller sized tortillas so that they can be eaten one-handed. Once out of the freezer they only take 1 - 2 minutes in the microwave.

Another trick I learned is when getting home from the grocery store to wash and cut up all my veggies. I am more likely to eat veggies as a snack if they are all ready to go. It also cuts down on prep time on meals. I will even sometimes make up a really big salad with lots of ingredients and then store it in my biggest Tupperware container. Eating a salad, especially one with a lot of ingredients is a lot more attractive when it takes less than a minute to assemble.

There are several YouTube vegans who do instructional videos on mass-producing assembly line style a whole week of meals.
The Cheap Lazy Vegan is my favorite. Garbanzo Girl, Caitlin Shoemaker, and avantgardevegan are all very good.

Awesome! Thank you so much for all the tips! I'm going to try to get as organized as I can before classes start next Monday. Have a list of recipes that I can make large quantities of and I'll also take your advice and put some emergency snacks/meals in the freezer. love that idea. The last thing I want to do at 5:30am is put together meal for lunch so I think grabbing something from the freezer that's ready go to will be very helpful on clinical days!
 
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AmyⓋKH

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Hi Amy,

Vegan meals can be simple and satisfying - no need to make any 15-ingredient dishes.

The Vegan Society has a straightforward webpage about vegan nutrition: https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrition-overview

For toddlers, different nutrition recommendations apply. The Vegetarian (actually vegan) Resource Group has a good webpage about vegan nutrition for young children: https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php . Because good nutrition is so important for young children, you might consider making an appointment with a Registered Dietitian who specializes in children's nutrition and in vegetarian nutrition. You can find a local Registered Dietitian through the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: https://www.eatrightpro.org/about-us/academy-vision-and-mission/who-we-are/contact-us

If you ask long-time vegans, you'll generally find that we eat simply (just like everyone else). Bean burritos with rice and a vegetable. Whole wheat spaghetti with boiled lentils or mashed tofu. Canned vegetarian chili with rice - simple stuff.
Thank you for the resources!! :)
 
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AmyⓋKH

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I meal prep every week. I'm only one person, so I don't think my meal prep method will work for you, but I wanted to speak into the time commitment issue. For me, it's about mindset. I just graduated from grad school, so I completely get feeling like you don't have time to meal prep. What helped me was to think of my meal prep time as a time to reset. It's a time every week where I don't have to think about school or anything else. I just put on a good audio book or playlist and cook. It's your chance for a much-needed break. I've done meal prep throughout my whole three years of grad school and I did not have any issues completing my schoolwork. It takes a lot of courage to step away from the books for a large chunk of time, but it's so worth it. Hope this helps.
That definitely does help. thank you! In the past I've found other ways of kind of resetting my brain but cooking would probably be a good way too. I'll try this! :)