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Vegan and Pregnant. I need Cheap, Low fat recipes

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone.

Im in a stump right now. Im 16 weeks pregnant and fell off the Bandwagon. I was vegan for almost a year last year but i started eating meat again but i also started to feel like crap and gain weight. I have 3 kids... My oldest is 8 1/2, my other daughter is 6 and my son is 3. My husband is the only meat eater 24/7 My kiddos yes they eat meat but as much as him. The kids and i dont eat Dairy.


My problem is im always hungry and it has nothing to do with pregnancy... Well before i was still hungry no matter what Vegan foods i ate. I started to get lazy in Jan and quit making dinners and started snacking. Even the kids... the only one that ate with DH with packed food lunch. I just got lazy. I used to make Lentils, quinoa, sweet baked potatos and all that but i just stopped. so i stopped being Vegan. I was still Starving and my stomach was Growling after eating a huge sweet potato with stuffed spinach, veggies and Quinoa. I would make a salad on the side. Or i would make Mexican tortilla soup but dh hated it because it had no Cheese and chicken. So it was not filling not even for me. it was nothing buy spicy broth. Another plate i would make would be Quinoa or Couscous with salad, asparagus or mashed potatos. Still not filling for any of us. Idk what to do... DH hates lentils and says they are hard still.


We cant spend a ton of money on food for 5 people. We usually shop at Stater Bros or Vons. Sometimes we go to trader joes but its 45 mins away. He doesnt want to spend more then $150 on food for 2 weeks. he is aware vegies and fruits dont last more then a week. If i buy a bag of apples my kids eat it in 2 days and i never get to eat it. Same with Oranges, Bananas, Strawberries, Grapes. Nothing lasts here and my kids get pissed at me when i tell them to stop raiding the pantry and fridge. the girls get into tantrums. Nothing satisfies them either. they have big stomachs i guess like me. I really need a Menu plan that everyone will enjoy plus i need to pack DH lunch Mon, Tues, Wed, Sat and Sun for work. And he wants chicken in each lunch

post #2 of 15

If you all are that hungry even after eating large meals, you may just need more fat in your diet.  It sounds like you already have some pretty good ideas for meals.  I would try cooking with a little more fat and see if that helps.

post #3 of 15

Hi Aradia

You shouldn't feel hungry on a vegan diet. (although during pregnancy could be a different story!)  I would make sure you and the kids are getting enough fat and protein.  Peanut butter could be a cheap, healthy source of more calories which you could eat every day. Figure out how much you are spending on DH's chicken and spend the same amount of money on yourself per day on high-calorie vegan food such as nuts, avocado, nut butters etc.


Pay special attention to protein!!!!  Make sure you are eating plenty of green vegetables and beans, tofu etc every day.  And don't be afraid to eat a much bigger portion of what you think is an appropriate amount of food, you need to eat bigger portions on healthy/plant based than processed/animal foods.


That's a tough one with the fruit... Fruit is healthy and we vegans are recommended to eat 3-4 servings minimum per day.  Fiber, found in fruit and veg, also goes a long way towards making us feel full.  Can you try your hardest to find some seasonal fruit and make sure it is always available for the kids and yourself at breakfast, snack times or for desserts?  Raisins, prunes or applesauce might also be a cheap option.  You could also offer cut up veg sticks and tomatoes alongside the fruit to make it go farther.  I agree this is reasonable to ask the kids to stick to meal and snack times and ask before they take food but they need to have fruit every day and so do you.

I don't know how much food costs where you live, but where I live that budget would be very tough to stick to, and it would be nearly impossible to get enough fruit and veg for the whole family on that budget as well as plant milk and some soy or tofu products.  My view is that fruit and veg should be unlimited but that can get more expensive than filling up on white pasta, bread and rice.  That budget sounds like it would require some very careful planning and probably a lot of time shopping around for the best prices and taking advantage of whatever is seasonal.  Is there any way you could get DH to allow more money for food in the budget so you guys could all eat healthier?  Or put the gas money you use, to go to Trader Joes, towards shopping at a location that is closer to home?


Please don't be too hard on yourself when you slip up!!! Take it baby steps one thing at a time.  It is not a matter of will power being vegan (IMO) but a matter of good organisation, reforming your habits, and having a support network.  Eat meat 1-2 days a week if that is better for you while you are pg. I am 100% vegan but it took me over a year to reach this point because I needed to change my cooking and wait for my family's taste buds to catch up.  My kids are not ready to go vegan yet, so I choose alternative things that they are ready for--like "fruit" breakfast once a week (instead of bread and jam they have fresh fruit) or a vegan dish with a tiny bit of cheese sprinkled on top to make it more appealing.  It has honestly got a lot easier since I went back to work, because now we can afford soy yoghurts and other luxury products that we could not afford before.  Therefore I can offer an alternative to what their friends are eating. Previously I just bought them the normal yoghurts occasionally rather than asking them to go totally without, so also don't be too hard on yourself and your family if you are on a limited budget. 


A great source of recipes is www.21daykickstart.org, when I signed up for the program I cooked 1 new recipe every 2 days (not 3 new recipes every day like the program suggests).  My favourite go-to recipe is sliced potatoes, onions and cauliflower tossed in a bit of olive oil and pepper and salt and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  I usually do roasted chickpeas or marinated tofu in the oven alongside it and take the tofu out a bit earlier if it starts to burn.  My other favourite recipe is whole grain pasta with marinara sauce and mushrooms/peas, the pasta takes 10 minutes to cook and I can cook up a large batch of the sauce then freeze it, so even DH can put together a meal.

post #4 of 15

I agree with all of the above. Your budget is VERY low. Especially with chicken every for lunch (except for drumsticks, it's not really the least expensive meat even.) Take a look at this and maybe show it to your DH: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2013/CostofFoodMar2013.pdf Your budget comes in at about half of even the thrifty plan. With 6 people, it's less than half. I know many people post on these boards about how they can get by with very small food budgets, but for a family like mine (fairly expensive urban area, no gardening/hunting/gleaning, no other free sources of food, no extra freezer or space for stocking up, etc.) it's a good guideline. To give you an idea, right now my omnivore family with one vegetarian eats meat maybe 1-2x per week (usually something like one lb. of grass-fed beef or chicken drumsticks) and otherwise eats lacto-ovo veg or vegan meals & we spend about what is listed there for the low-cost plan ($200/wk.) That said, I don't economize particularly. I could get it down to $125 or $150, but no way could I do $75 for an extended period without resorting to ramen and much cheaper stuff like that.


Do you have any ethnic markets in the area? Those are often much cheaper for things like coconut milk, avocados, edamame, seitan and tofu that might make your meals more satisfying for you.


Here are some other ideas:

Rae's Vegetarian Chili - http://allrecipes.com/recipe/raes-vegetarian-chili/ (cheaper if you make your own beans from dried)

Tofu Sticks - http://happyfoody.blogspot.com/2006/10/tofu-sticks.html (maybe sub some seasoned salt for kelp powder)

Pasta and Bean Soup - http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/weekday-vegetarian-pasta-e-fagioli.html (leave out parmesan for vegan version)

Lentil, Spinach, Lemon Soup - http://www.pinkofperfection.com/2011/03/red-lentil-soup-with-spinach-and-lemon/ (red lentils get mushy - not hard at all)

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas - http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/10/sweet-potato-black-bean-enchiladas.html (sub green salsa to make easy sauce)

Vegetable Empanadas- http://www.yummymummykitchen.com/2013/02/easy-healthy-vegetable-empanadas.html (minus cheese or sub Daiya)


Super cheap vegan meal planning with recipes and ideas: http://melomeals.blogspot.com/p/tips-and-sample-weekly-menu-333-day.html

Plus Nava Atlas's site is great - http://www.vegkitchen.com/


Hope that helps!! Good luck with your pregnancy!!

post #5 of 15
I agree with the comments about eating enough fat and protein. It looks like you're consuming a lot of lower calorie/lower fat foods without the protein and fat to help keep everyone satiated. Especially if you started gaining weight, I'm wondering if you just weren't eating enough calories and you're metabolism dropped off although there could be so many other reasons for the weight gain.

Are you buying in bulk as well? Grains and beans can be a lot cheaper if you buy them bulk and cook large batches to freeze or use throughout the week. Quinoa also tends to be expensive so could you try using other grains instead (rice, barley, whatever is on sale) and adding some other protein source to the meal like a baked tofu? Quinoa's an awesome grain, but I wouldn't spend my food dollars on it that often if it meant buying more fruit/veg and then cheaper grains and protein source. The suggestion about ethnic stores is great too, or even a smaller produce store can sometimes be less expensive.
post #6 of 15
For some recipe ideas...
Chickpea gravy with mashed potatoes - http://low-cholesterol.food.com/recipe/punkrock-chickpea-gravy-304633
Potato kale enchiladas - http://epicureanvegan.com/2011/04/28/potato-and-kale-enchiladas/ (I use pinto beans instead of pepitas)

I love Isa Moskowitz so the Post Punk Kitchen site might have some more good recipe ideas - http://www.theppk.com/
post #7 of 15

If you shop at Staters you must be near me since they are fairly local. I agree your budget is really low. I have 3 kids (9, 6, and 2) and we spend about $650-$700 a month. I do buy quite a bit of organic produce but I really bargain shop. I stay far away from Vons since I find they are way expensive most of the time. TJ's  and Fresh and Easy are great for keeping my budget in order. We also just joined Costco again and that has been good too.


What about beans and peanut butter? They are cheap and make your meals more filling. I cook big batches of beans in the crock pot then put portion them into bags and freeze so they are ready when I need them. We put peanut butter on EVERYTHING, pasta, toast, waffles, apple slices...

post #8 of 15

A huge fave of our kids, during summer especially, is frozen fruit - mostly berries.  I've always found it lasts pretty well once we've run out of other fresh fruit.  Plus they take longer to eat, so they end up feeling more filling.


Not like you need to yourself, OP - but I know I personally started eating eggs again when I was pregnant.  I'd toss a fried egg on top of rice/grains and big handful of baby spinach.  It might be something like that could be helpful - or similarly, roasted chickpeas or avocado or guacamole to dollop on similar food.


Good recipes above.  I'll add this navy bean gravy which is great with biscuits or even just toast.


We also all love this potato soup (under the comments people have used the tofutti cream cheese to make it vegan - or even omitted it).  I halve the recipe, but it's really very filling and surprisingly delicious.


Not vegan, but for your dh's lunches - I'll make this slow cooker buffalo chicken for my dh, it freezes well so might be a good yet easy option that's easy to keep around for him.

post #9 of 15

I totally agree that $150 is not enough for 2 weeks. I spend about that much every week, and I live in a rural area where food is cheaper than in cities.

When I'm budgeting I try to cook a pot of beans every week, and use it through the week. Sometimes a bag of garbanzos, use for hummus, in curry, in pasta/bean salad. When it's colder maybe a bag of mixed beans for soup. Or split peas. I didn't see beans in your OP, and they are cheap and filling.


I also agree that fat may be an issue. I wonder if it would help to supplement with some good fats, like flax seed or pumpkin seed oil. Both those are high in the omegas you need. Also walnut is good. It's expensive to buy, but you'll get a lot of servings from one bottle. Try to get a tablespoon or 2 into your diet every day, such as in a soup, a salad dressing, drizzled over a savory dish, etc.


If you are all hungry, it means you're not getting enough of something. Your husband's wallet doesn't know your nutritional needs, your body does, so listen to your body, not the wallet.


There may be food assistance available, if you need it. Don't know where you are, but some places it's much easier to get if you're pg.

post #10 of 15

If you feel hungry and your stomach is grumbling even though you know it is full of food, I would suspect some kind of deficiency. I had that same experience, along with exhaustion and woozy headedness and was diagnosed with a B12 deficiency. I'd eat a whole sandwich which was normally more than enough to fill me up, and after finishing the last bite I was still raevnously hungry yet painfully full. You may want to see your doctor to get a blood test done just to be sure.


You may be able to do $75 per week with no meat depending on your location. I do about 80 with 4 people when I plan well. You need lots of protein, and we use lots of eggs, milk, peanut butter and peanuts, tofu (it's cheaper than some meats per lb!), green peas, rice, and other grains. I can't do organic, it's just too pricey for us. Get dried beans and toss them in the crock pot. Do a whole bag at once and you should have enough for a week.


I agree you really do want to make sure you're getting enough fat. With not eating meat, and I assume not buying snack foods, you're not getting a lot of the bad fats. If you are deficient in something, your body may be storing fats because you've been feeling starving so much lately.


I also suggest you try getting some assistance. WIC can be very helpful, and being pregnant you should be able to get vouchers for yourself and your three children if you qualify.


Good luck!

post #11 of 15

Any diet that leaves you feeling hungry is destined to fail..  


I agree the fats can be filling and you DO need the good ones..  As to fresh fruits that spoil too fast, how about FROZEN fruits as an alternative?  They make awesome smoothies of course, that are filling and fun.  Peel your bananas and freeze them, they will last much longer.  Ditto peaches, mango, pineapples..  Or just get the ones from the freezer section.  Here's one that we love:


Frozen strawberries

1-2 frozen bananas

1 cup at least soymilk, or almond milk

1/2 cup or so O.J. 

A chunk of Tofu


Blend until thick and smooth, amounts vary.  Additions:  any berry, other frozen fruit, vanilla extract, vegan yogurt


I made this for my dairy allergic toddler regularly about 19 years ago.  My family still loves it!


Look up "The Farm Cookbook".. they have an amazing and very hearty Tofu Pot Pie recipe.  Other recipes with nutritional yeast gravies add that fat and B content, some substance.  


I second the use of avocado, nut butter, and the Post Punk Kitchen!!

post #12 of 15

Do you like hummus?  You can make it fairly cheaply at home. 


This red beans and rice recipe is one of my favorites, if you have a crock pot, it makes a lot and very filling (especially if you use brown rice).  I omit the jalapeno and just use cajun seasoning.  http://veganeatsandtreats.blogspot.com/2009/02/red-beans-rice-key-lime-pie-yum.html 


We eat a lot of kasha (buckwheat).  It's great cooked with beans and/or veggies.  We get it in bulk at Russian/European stores when we visit my in-laws. 


Also I often make whole wheat spaghetti and make sauce using a can of crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices (if you have spices already this can be a cheap option).


When I make chili, I also make some whole wheat macaroni to eat with it, it makes it go a lot further and the macaroni is not expensive.


I know it's not thrilling, but oatmeal is super cheap for breakfast, I often add peanut butter for some extra protein.

post #13 of 15

Lentil tacos are a cheap filling dinner: lentils (I buy the melissa's one, already cooked and soft since I can't get lentils right on my own), corn tortillas, avocado+ salsa (I love homemade poblano mango salsa and I usually do some sriracha too.) I'm in California though and produce is cheap. Beans are cheap filling. We like red beans and rice, chili, etc. Quinoa salad? I just went to a friends house and she made one with edamame, quinoa, cucumber, cabbage, and a ginger dressing. It was really good. Why low fat? I'm vegan but I eat about 80 grams of fat a day (nuts, peanut butter, avocado, coconut oil, etc.) I make a smoothie everyday with 1 cup almond milk, 3 tablespoons hemp powder, 2.5 tablespoons raw cacao, 10 almonds, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and a banana and it's really filling (30 grams of protein.) Kale salad is yummy too. I do a peanut sauce with peanut butter, ginger, garlic, honey, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, sesame seeds, tamari (or braggs) and a bit of water and cook it until blended and thickens and then add some kale and onion and stir all together for a minute (not too much or the kale wilts) and then add some peanuts too. It's SO good and over 20 grams of protein. Baked potatoes with coconut oil, sea salt, salsa, and nutritional yeast? That's cheap and filling too...

post #14 of 15

I couldn't do a $300 budget though. Ours is more than triple that (I am picky about organic though and my kids can eat! LOL)

post #15 of 15

oatmeal is super yummy with a shredded carrot and raisins and a bit of real maple syrup and cinnamon (and walnuts.) Taste's like carrot cake.

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