In today's day and age it seems like most everyone is short on time. But it shouldn't be an excuse to let your health slip away from you due to less than ideal eating habits. Today we are honored to host a blog by the amazing Marina Triner of Soul in the Raw with that very subject in mind.
We'll let Marina take it from here!
Going vegan is amazing. It feels good, it tastes good, and it does so much good to the environment around us. So what stops people from maintaining a plant-based lifestyle once they make the decision to go for it?
One of the things I hear very often is that preparing home-made vegan meals takes too much time. And I understand – because healthy vegan food is not always easily accessible, and if you choose this lifestyle, it usually means choosing to prepare most of your food yourself.
However, most of us are busy, hard-working people who don’t have time for hard kitchen labor.
I remember talking to an elderly retired couple right before a lecture of mine. They were telling me that standing over the counter gives them a terrible back ache and that they prefer golfing over preparing vegan meals.
I get it, believe me. When I started my vegan journey (because most transitions don’t happen overnight), I was a full-time Master’s student working 3 jobs. I often ended my day at 10 PM.
And I have learned A LOT from that experience.
I want to share 10 simple, practical tips for getting in and out of the kitchen quick, while still enjoying healthy and delicious vegan meals.
Easy Vegan Tip #1: Prepare grains, beans, and roasted veggies on the weekend
Chopping fresh vegetables cannot be done ahead of time. The flavor is just not right if your fresh veggies spend time in the fridge, all chopped up.
However, if you can spend just a few minutes on a Sunday or Saturday to prep some simple cooked grains, beans, and roasted veggies, you will save yourself massive time during the week.
I soak the grains and beans overnight. Then, throw the beans in a pot covered with water. I cook them on very low heat and forget about them. I do my chores around the house, and whenever I remember (it can even be 2 hours later), I check to see if they are tender, and put them in a container in the fridge.
For grains, I use a timer to make sure I know when they are ready.
At the same time as I cook my grains and beans for the week, I also place some veggies on a parchment-lined backing tray into the oven, and let them do their thing with just some delicious spices.
For quantities, I usually plan for ¼ cup grain or bean per day per person, and about 6 cups of fresh vegetables to roast for the week.
Easy Vegan Tip #2: Prepare sauces on the weekend
Sauces make your veggies, grains, and beans come alive! Making them takes just a few minutes, but if you do it all at once on the weekend, making your dinners throughout the week will take minutes.
If you are struggling to find good sauces, try these 3 delicious oil-free raw vegan sauces.
Easy Vegan Tip #3: Use your freezer
The freezer helps easily preserve the food you make on the weekend, in case you don’t get to it. If you don’t get a chance to eat all of your grains and beans that you cooked for the week, don’t stress. Just put them straight into the freezer, and use them when you’re ready.
Similarly, I like to freeze my sauces right when I make them in serving-sized containers, portioned out for the week.
When you get home from work, take out the containers and place them in a bowl of hot water. They will quickly defrost and be ready to use.
Easy Vegan Tip #4: Choose several quick meal ideas as your go-to’s
Once you figure out quick meal ideas you love, it becomes really easy to change them up a bit each time you make your main meal of the day to spend less time in the kitchen.
These will be your “meal templates”. Instead of consulting recipes or figuring out what to make each time, you can use these meal templates over and over, and change the sauce, grain, and vegetables in them for variety.
I have created a 7-day free online course for you to learn 7 delicious meal ideas that are very quick and easy to make for you and your family. You can enroll here.
Easy Vegan Tip #5: Use frozen vegetables
The only part of kitchen prep that takes lots of time is chopping fresh vegetables. If you are absolutely out of time, you can always use frozen vegetables for a major time-saver.
Easy Vegan Tip #6: Use spring mix in place of lettuce
Another shortcut to making your veggie meals in place of long hours of chopping is using spring mix instead of lettuce. Since it is already washed and ready to go, you just throw it in a bowl with one of your pre-made sauces, bean or grain, and roasted veg, and you are ready to go!
Easy Vegan Tip #7: Use a food processor instead of chopping
If you do want to use fresh veggies instead of frozen, an additional shortcut is to use the food processor. It will save you massive amounts of time, and has several different blades so that your food looks beautiful and has different textures.
Easy Vegan Tip #8: Eat lots of smoothie bowls
Smoothie bowls are my go to breakfast and often lunch as well. The reason I love them so much is that they take less than 10 minutes to make. They also taste amazing, and pack a truly incredible nutrition punch.
The reason I prefer smoothie bowls to smoothies is that you can chew them – which really improves digestion.
If you need smoothie bowl ideas, just follow me on Instagram. I share them weekly!
Easy Vegan Tip #9: Snack on fresh fruit
Another favorite breakfast, lunch, and snack of mine are fruits! Fruits are full of delicious flavor, they are so good for you. They contain the carbs your body needs to function.
Every time you are hungry, reach your hand out for a banana, peach, or some grapes. It will curb your sugar cravings and replace even the fastest fast food!
Easy Vegan Tip #10: Planning
As you can see from all of these tips, planning is key when it comes to saving time. Plan your meals out on the weekend – even if you feel like it takes an extra bit of time. It’ll be really worth it for saving time during the week. Write out all of your meals on Saturday or Sunday, and have all of the ingredients you need on hand – freezing and chopping ahead like I mentioned above.
Get the recipe for Marina's Pesto Pasta featured in her Quick, Easy & Filling Vegan Meals course here.
About The Author
Hi, my name is Marina. I started Soul in the Raw in April 2013. At first, I just wanted to share my raw vegan journey with the world, because of all the amazing changes I personally experienced, the main one being discovering a strong connection with my body and learning to love myself again after having a very painful past with sexual assault and resulting trauma.
Very quickly, I realized that Soul in the Raw is my life’s passion, and that I want to turn it into a career. I have been a high-raw vegan for the last 5 years, constantly tweaking my diet to suit my emotional and physical needs, and have taught many raw vegan classes all over San Diego, including at Jimbo’s, Ecoverse, and La Jolla library.