With summer winding down to a close, I think my natural instincts are preparing me to hibernate for the winter. While, earlier in the summer, I was doing a good job of tracking my food on MyFitnessPal, sadly I lost steam too long ago and have been craving more comfort foods recently to boot.
Whenever I need to reset my diet, I like to turn to Happy Herbivore’s Plant-Based Meal Plans to remind me of how I should be eating. The plans are just $5 to download one week’s worth of meals & recipes. I love that there’s no commitment to purchasing more than one at a time, so I can order them whenever I’m in need of a little extra help. Even better, the recipes are all super simple so I can squeeze them into my busy schedule. (Tip: you can even choose whether you’d like an Individual or Family meal-plan!)
I first discovered these meal plans in January. While I knew the concepts of a Plant-Based diet at that time, these meal plans showed me tactically how to go about it. This was key for me, as it turns out that in order to stay full from mostly plants, you need to eat A LOT of fruits and veggies. One plant-based meal alone might have 2 to 3 servings of fruits and veggies included, plus the majority of the snacks on the plan are fruits & veggies too. On these plans, it’s easy to eat double the 5-a-day minimum recommended amount of produce.
In the hopes of FALLing into good habits again, I made all my meals from one of Happy Herbivore’s plans for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, though I confess I did quite a bit of off-plan snacking on the side. Baby steps, right?
Confession: While I love the results of cooking, I’m actually pretty lazy in the kitchen. The Happy Herbivore meal plans typically have something different to eat everyday, while I prefer to cook in bulk and typically eat lots of leftovers. When I use the Happy Herbivore Meal Plans, I tailor them to meet my habits by picking just a few recipes from the plan and doubling or quadrupling each recipe. I can then save the rest of the recipe ideas for another time.
Further customizing the plan for myself, while the plan totals 1,200 calories a day, the instructions explain how easy it is to adjust the plan for your own daily needs. I like to increase the portion size of my breakfasts, add extra ingredients to the recipes, or add in extra snacks to meet my needs.
Here’s how I ate, with recipes from the Happy Herbivore plans, on Tuesday, September 18th:
Breakfast is Happy Herbivore’s recipe for “Strawberries & Cream” Oatmeal. This recipe is definitely a winner! Each bowl is loaded with 8oz of Strawberries and bursting with berry flavor. Unsweetened Applesauce adds just the right amount of sweetness, and a splash of Almond Milk serves as the ‘cream’. The recipe’s Cinnamon-Sugar topping makes every bowl seem like a treat.
I also stirred 1T of Chia Seeds into each bowl and added 2T of sliced almonds on top. The original recipe calls for Fresh Strawberries stirred into cooked oatmeal, but I used Frozen Strawberries and cooked them along with the oats and was really happy with how it turned out!
Lunch was Happy Herbivore’s Cool Noodle Bowls. These were so simple. You toss warm noodles with a little bit of peanut butter, then load them up with carrots and cucumbers. Each bowl had an entire Cucumber in it, making the veggies-to-pasta ratio about even. I also added fresh mint leaves and plenty of sriracha sauce for a perfect balance of cool & hot.
I am totally a snacker. I always bring something extra from home to snack on at work, in addition to maintaining a full snack drawer and keeping a jar of peanut butter on my desk.
Throughout the day, I had a Kiwi, 2 Clementines, a Peanut Butter-Banana, a handful of Kale Chips, a packet of Almonds, and at least 4 mugs of tea.
Between the almonds on my oatmeal, peanut noodles for lunch, and my nutty snacks, in hindsight, I think I went a little bit overboard today with the almonds and Peanut Butter, but on the bright side, this kept me full enough to manage to avoid the Strawberry-Cheesecake Coffee Cake my manager brought in for our team today. It took all my restraint to not go into the break-room and cut myself a slice, but I made it through the day without caving!
Bonus – the almonds and Kale Chips that I snacked on came to my Snack Drawer from a very wonderful place – these items were included in the Happy Belly Bag of Vegan Treats that I recently received as a birthday gift from some very dear friends. Best Gift Ever, in my opinion!
Dinner was Happy Herbivore’s Fajita-Quinoa Bowls, essentially, Fajita-style Peppers, Onions & Tomatoes made saucier and served over quinoa instead of inside of a tortilla. Each serving included 2 Bell Peppers, 1 Onion, and a Tomato!
Quinoa has a lot of protein already, but I decided to add some extra bulk to the meal by adding some black-beans to the mix as well.
After dinner, my munchies were taken care of with Celery Sticks and Green Goddess Dip. The dip is from Whole Foods Market’s line of “Health Starts Here” foods which are all vegan and oil-free. This dilly dip gets it’s creamy texture from tofu and avocado.
Lastly, as I sat down to write this post, I wound down for the night with a comforting bowl of Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes Cereal with Almond Milk and Trader Joe’s Freeze-Dried Raspberries.
That’s my day! You can browse the posts of the rest of the What I Ate Wednesday participants over at Peas and Crayons.
If you’re interested in Happy Herbivore’s meal plans, check GetMealPlans.com for more information.
I’d love to hear from you!
How did your day compare to mine?
Have you ever tried a Meal Plan before?