Updated: Mar 3, 2020
So as a vegan family of 5 we always hear, “So, what do you eat?”. At times my literal answer has been, “Food!”. It’s very trying for me to explain (over and over again) that we eat plant-based foods. Plant-based. Meaning food that is grown from the ground. It’s also odd when I’m in the checkout lane and someone leans over and says, “Looks like someone is trying to eat healthy.” And I have to tell them that this is how we eat on a regular. We buy real food to make real meals. It isn’t difficult, just takes a little planning and a willingness to get creative.
Shop local, in season and organic…
We shop local, in season and organic as often as possible. You can check on crops that are in season in your area here. In this day and age we’ve gotten so used to getting things when we want them rather than when they are readily available that we get stuck buying the same 5 or 6 produce items. And that can become boring.
Be open to new things…
If you’ve got a question most likely the Internet has an answer. And depending on your question you could get a very good answer! Like how to cook brussels sprouts or what leeks are good for (you’d be surprised). It just may lead you to never having to buy another can of soup or ordering out stir-fry ever again. You’ll also find it easier to turn your pre-made favorites into made-at-home favorites. It sounds like a lot in the beginning but you can start small and swap out at least two processed food items for something healthier on your next grocery trip.
For example, my kids love fries. I mean they really love them. I would buy them at least a couple of times a month. One day my husband took a bunch of sweet potatoes (it’s what we had on hand) and cut them into wedges. I seasoned them up and we put them on a baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes. Voilà! We had potato wedges! We’ve also done the same thing with regular potatoes. It’s such a win because you know exactly what your family is eating and you can season them any way you like! It ends up being less expensive and healthier than processed options.
Our shopping list…
I generally love having a list and going in the store to shop like it’s a sport. The only time that happens is if I’ve left my kids and husband at home. We all just slow each other down! We get to asking questions and making suggestions, etc. It can be fun and that is typically how it goes but for those rare moments that I go it alone I have my list and can be done within 30 minutes.
For a week’s worth of fresh produce (this includes school lunch since our kids pack lunch daily) we typically buy:
spinach (we traded in our lettuce about a year ago and just use spinach as a base for salads and sandwiches)
portobello mushrooms (great for adding to sauces and salads – for holiday dinners I make mushroom gravy)
berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries – whatever is in season and looks good
carrots – never baby carrots
broccoli – good for adding to soups, homemade lo mein, salads
cauliflower – lightly roasted for vegan tacos
organic apples – great with peanut butter for a snack
bell peppers – salads, stuffed with quinoa
avocado – chopped and added to whole grain toast, avocado salad
onions (red and sweet)
cilantro and other fresh herbs
butternut or acorn squash – great stuffed or for soup
plums, peaches, organic pears
So those are the basics! Being vegan doesn’t mean we’re limited in how we shop just what section of the store we shop in – which is kind of refreshing because I find the smell of meat and seafood sections a bit revolting. We do notice a difference incorporating more fresh and minimally processed meals into our daily food habits and enjoy coming up with new recipes to try.