veggie meal planning - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-15-2005, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some help with meal planning for a vegaterian life. I have been a meat eater all my life and have really perfected shopping that way as well as cooking but......I am not doing so well now.

I am noticing a lot of waste because I am not planning well enough.
What meals do you cook most often?
How do you use up all of your produce before it goes bad?
How often do you shop?
If I were to have a completely organic veg diet (with milk and eggs) what do you think is reasonable amount to spend every month? (2 adults 1 child)

I notice I am spening nearly the same amount I was when I was buying meat, but I am getting a lot less meals. This is probably just the way I see it since I still am looking at things (like broccoli) as a side dish.

Anyone have any pointers?

Kim- Simple livin' mama to 4 great kiddos.
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#2 of 8 Old 07-15-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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i'd like to know too . . . :
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#3 of 8 Old 07-15-2005, 06:05 PM
 
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I'm not sure what you mean when you say you're getting less meals, do you mean you seem to be eating the same things over and over?? I'll try to answer your other questions as best I can.

"I am noticing a lot of waste because I am not planning well enough."


My advice would be to find some recipes that you want to try, and when you go shopping stick to the ingredients. Avoid impulse shopping (unless you see something on sale that can be frozen when you get home.) Go to your library and look through some vegetarian cookbooks and write down the ones you like, or search online and print off some recipes. It'll take awhile before you get a really good recipe collection.

"What meals do you cook most often?"


Black bean chili, veggie stew, mashed potatoes w/ lentils and gravy, cheesy macoroni w/ broccoli, homemade cheese pizza, bean/grain veggie burgers, frittatas, sandwiches, stir fried brown rice, fettucini alfredo w/ peas, etc...


"How do you use up all of your produce before it goes bad?"


I only buy things that I *know* will get eaten. I also try to buy things that can be frozen. This is what I've been doing with almost all my veggies (I think lettuce is the only veg that absolutely can't be frozen). I chop up things like peppers, onions, carrots, and fresh herbs and freeze them in bags so they're ready to use. I also like to freeze baby spinach. You don't have to chop it just put it in a bag and stick it in the freezer. Since it's summer and hot, I cook my potatoes right away so they don't go bad, you can freeze them after they're cooked but they keep in the fridge (cooked, don't put them in the fridge uncooked) long enough so I have never done that. I'm keeping my onions in the fridge now too because they don't like the heat either. There are so many "rules" to food storage, if your food's going bad quickly you might be storing it wrong. Fruit never goes bad around here, DS takes care of that .



"How often do you shop?"

About once a week.


"If I were to have a completely organic veg diet (with milk and eggs) what do you think is reasonable amount to spend every month? (2 adults 1 child)"


I'll say $400 but what do I know? :LOL
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#4 of 8 Old 08-20-2005, 05:28 AM
 
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Hi mama~
Well, I'm still trying to get on a good, organized meal planning regime, as well as spend less on food. But here are my thoughts on your questions



I am noticing a lot of waste because I am not planning well enough.~ If I don't plan ahead I throw away way to much. I use to go to the farmers market and overbuy, constantly!

What meals do you cook most often?~ I just started cooking a full stock pot of soup every Sun. Last week I did mushroom barley, it turned out really good. I eat it for snacks/lunches during the week & I pack it for dh's lunches for a couple days. I also freeze about 1/3 of it for another day when I am lazy. The main reason I started this is that is really cheap & pretty easy. I guess it depends what you like to eat normally. I always have some kind of frozen veggie burger on hand for when I'm lazy & I try to keep salads (or at least the lettuce) prepped all the time. I love Mexican food, so we eat that pretty often. Tonight we had potatoes with steamed veggies and vegan mushroom gravy (yum), last night we had collard greens with cheese, brown rice, and a salad. For breakfast we either do fruit smoothies or hot cereals with fruit and nuts.


How do you use up all of your produce before it goes bad?~ I just try to be realistic about what we will eat. I usually buy some veggies that I cut up the day I buy it & put in the fridge for snacks (to eat with hummus or dressing) If something is about to get to "mature" I freeze it.


How often do you shop?~ I shop about 2 times a week, so I only buy fresh stuff to last a few days at a time. It seems to work out better this way.


If I were to have a completely organic veg diet (with milk and eggs) what do you think is reasonable amount to spend every month? (2 adults 1 child)~
That's hard to say, depends on where you live & how much you cook from scratch. Dried beans and grains are so cheap, I'm really trying to prep more. We live in a very pricey area, produce (we eat about 85% organic) is expensive most the time. I'm aiming to get our food cost down to $400, I think it's possible. That's for me, dh, and baby on the way.

Organic dairy tends to be pricey. The only dairy we really buy is cheese and sour cream, otherwise we drink soy or almond milk.

Hope I didn't ramble too much

Happily married, Waldorf-inspired homeschooler to Kylan (8yo), Everest (6yo), and Bodhi (2yo)
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#5 of 8 Old 08-20-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mz_libbie22


Black bean chili, veggie stew, mashed potatoes w/ lentils and gravy, cheesy macoroni w/ broccoli, homemade cheese pizza, bean/grain veggie burgers, frittatas, sandwiches, stir fried brown rice, fettucini alfredo w/ peas, etc...



Would you mind sharing your recipe for the mashed potatoes with lentils and gravey,bean and grain burgers and fetticini alfredo with peas? Thanks so much..


Love Mylie xx
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#6 of 8 Old 08-20-2005, 11:32 PM
 
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Well, I don't eat anywhere near 85% organic--we're lucky if we have enough $$$ to keep the fridge stocked all month : I wish I had $400 to spend on food every month!

My "heavy rotation recipes" are in a binder and I have copies of a computer-printout grocery list (that I made on MSWorks) in the side pocket, so I just write down about 5-7 recipes, go down the list and check off which ingredients to buy. If it's a veggie in the produce dept, and it's not on my list, I don't buy it. That's the only way I can manage to keep things from going bad--to only buy exactly what I need for each recipe. The only exception to that is broccoli--my kids love broccoli, so I buy at least 3 heads of that regardless. Fruit, I just buy whatever looks good b/c we snack on it a lot and eat some for breakfast almost every morning.

Check out www.vegweb.com for recipes, or maybe just go thru your old cookbooks and see what you can substitute--that works surpringly well esp if you're not cutting out dairy. Some of our fave recipes are veggies w/couscous, veg pilaf, paella, faux egg salad subs, chunky veggie chili, black bean and corn quesadillas, scalloped potatos, sloppy joes etc. I'll post recipes if anyone's interested

I also buy stuff to make a huge salad every week or so--usually 3 heads of greens + celery, cukes, etc etc, and I try to eat a salad every day w/lunch. I usually cook just once a day (or not at all if there's leftovers!), and for lunch we usually do stuff like canned beans with seasoning, steamed broccoli, veggie burgers, frozen veggies-with-tofu stir-fried, pasta with a quick garlic sauce, pita bread w/chickpeas or hummus--simple stuff that's not as quick to go bad, i.e. you can buy a lot and keep it on hand. Breakfast for the kids is usually cereal w/soymilk (or these cool organic "pop-tart" type things I recently found) + fresh fruit; for me it's toast, a bagel, a piece of fresh fruit, green tea and flaxseeds. Ultra-simple!

Some good cookbooks to try might be How It All Vegan, PETA's Compassionate Cook, and This Can't Be Tofu! Good luck

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#7 of 8 Old 08-24-2005, 03:03 PM
 
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I would love the recipe for your chunky veggie chili! Sounds yummy! TIA!
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#8 of 8 Old 09-11-2005, 01:10 AM
 
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I am going through the same thing. I have realised a few things though, i went vegetarian earlier this year and stocking your kithcen with the right spices, and generally cooking ingrediants is the most expensive. But make sure to have your staples like wheat germ, nutritional yeast, etc.

I started getting fewer meals going vege also, but now I like to make a lot of traditional meat-type meals, but substitute for the meat. For example, enchiladas, I just put in black beans, I use the morningstar chik'n and make "chik'n fried fake-steak", and I make lots of pastas, healthy pizzas, and bean burritos. Always freeze what your not going to eat right away! But like, make bulk muffins for breakfasts and treats and freeze them

Buy your fruits and veggies weekly and not in bulk, unless they can be frozen.
The organic way is the killer with money though. I can't afford it. I have a two year old and I give her all organic dairy and fruits and veges, and slide on the other stuff. I do what I can, but consequently I can't afford to keep my husband and I's diet organic, but I guess every bit helps.
Also, vegetarian for dummies is a GREAT book for advice with a lot of your questions, and they have a lot of yummy recipes.

:'n mama to Lotus and Zen :
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