8 organisational tips for plant based cooking
No matter what diet you have... Its always tough getting the time to cook if you work or study full time, or even harder... looking after children. While I can't hire a nanny for you, here are a few tips from me and a few extra from local vegan chef Mel Haynes.
Write down a rough list of what you might cook and make your shopping list. Its going to be much more motivating if you can find some recipes that you really want to try or have tried and really enjoy them. Local Chef Mel Haynes plans her plant based menu in a 4 week rotation!
The key to success is learning about cooking which makes plant based cooking seem so much easier. Read about recipes and become familiar with how simple lots of plant based cooking can be to prepare.
3 Fill the pantry
Keep dry and tinned legumes in the house (eg lentils, peas, chick peas, black beans). Buy different nuts and seeds you enjoy. Keep some starchy grains: rice, quinoa, pasta or corn. Make sure you have some fresh fruit and vegetables in the house to help with meals or snacks below.
Soak some beans, split peas or lentils for faster cooking. Prep lettuce, kale and other vegetables for salads and keep in an air tight container in the fridge to make salads much easier to throw together when you come home.
5 Freeze to avoid wastage
You can freeze fruit like banana, leftover pineapple and berries for thicker colder smoothies.You can even freeze kale for smoothies if you aren’t going to use it in time. Put leftover tofu in portions in the freezer (yes it freezes) and soaks up your marinade even better after it thaws.
If you would like to cut down on tinned food and reduce cooking time after work, cook up a big batch of dried legumes, then drain and freeze in portions to add to your recipes when required - no more soaking and cooking beans for hours when you need them in a hurry.
6 Easy snacks to make:
Hummus on crackers sprinkled with seaweed flakes or dukkah
Chopped fresh fruit and nut bowls
Tomato and avocado or pesto on wholemeal crackers (see blog for recipe)
Rocket and hummus sandwich with chutney
Smoothies with frozen banana and other fruit, calcium fortified milk, a medjool date, chia seeds or flaxseed meal. Or a green smoothie with spinach or kale plus other veggies and fruit, pureed with some water.
Keep a large jar of mixed nuts and seeds with a little dried fruit mixed through – this means you have a small healthy snack to serve out when you need it.
7 Make foods in large batches to reduce cooking time
Make a large high protein soup to freeze in portions, add lots of lentils, split peas and even quinoa with some onion, garlic, celery and vegetable stock.
Make a large chilli and can freeze in portions, may serve with steamed rice or quinoa.
Make a large salad with a starch - cooked pasta, quinoa or rice... a protein - beans, peas, lentils or tofu, chopped raw vegetables like cucumber, tomato, spinach & fresh herbs. Can also add a sweet fruit like mango, peach or plum for a fresh summer flavour. This will last over 3 days for lunch if kept in a container un-dressed in the fridge. Dress with a sour or sweet dressing, you can use lemon, rice vinegar ± maple syrup or spice up with garlic or ginger. A sprinkle of roasted seeds like sesame or pepita can also add flavour and crunch.
Local chef Mel Haynes makes a large vegan bolognaise, then uses half to make a lasagne. She freezes leftovers in colour coded containers. She is able to halve the amount of nights she cooks.
8 Remember to supplement
Take your B12 supplement and also remember to eat calcium rich foods each day. For any further information about getting enough nutrients check out my 7 day meal plan available online.