One of the most common concerns I hear from prospective vegans is that they don’t have time.
The idea of figuring out what to eat, where to shop and what to cook seems daunting. They’re usually afraid that this vegan lifestyle they’re considering isn’t going to fit with their busy schedule.
I get it.
Your standby recipes that contain animal products aren’t going to work. Open up certain vegan cookbooks, and you encounter labor-intensive meals. You’re already stretched, and adding another shopping trip for unusual ingredients isn’t feasible.
The good news is, going vegan is completely within your reach, even on a crazy-busy schedule.
Here are a few tips to keep your sanity in check when going vegan.
1. Set aside a few minutes on the weekend to plan out what you’re going to eat that week. After a busy day, going into the kitchen wondering ‘what’s for dinner’ can be stressful. A little advanced planning and prep will ensure you always have something available. You control your diet, not the other way around.
2. Avoid (most) cookbooks. You know the type. These cookbooks have several unfamiliar ingredients in each recipe that may require you to search multiple stores. You end up using every appliance and pan in your kitchen. All to end up with a so-so recipe that looks nothing like the photo. If you want to venture into dreamy cookbook territory, save it for the weekend.
3. Focus on “components” or a few quick proven recipes. What do I mean by components? Prepare a large batch of grains or beans that can be simply enhanced with some fresh vegetables and a savory sauce. No recipe required. I like to use quick-cooking ingredients like quinoa, lentils and steamed vegetables like broccoli on busy weeknights. Stir fries and pasta dishes are great, too. Some of the easiest foods on earth to prepare are delicious, fast and vegan.
4. Don’t cook every day. Simplify your shopping list and your prep time by preparing larger amounts of fewer recipes 2-3 times a week. For example, once a week, create a one pot meal that will serve you for multiple days. Then add a simple green salad and dinner is taken care of.
5. Be realistic. Sure there are people out there sprouting their own seeds and making their own almond milk. If this isn’t for you, don’t worry about it. Packaged foods like veggie burgers, plant-based meats and frozen vegetables are great for supporting your busy schedule when going vegan. They can serve as the core of a meal, or simply compliment other foods you’ve made from scratch. The most important thing is to not be overwhelmed, and simplify things for yourself as much as possible.
How do you save time as a busy vegan? Share in the comments below!