In a perfect world, I would prepare a gourmet plant based meal three times a day. The whole family would give me all the time and space I needed to do so. They would also give me mad accolades and eat every single bite. There would be no limit to my ingredient budget, and J would call my favorite grocery store by its rightful name instead of Whole Paycheck. Here in the real world, schedules can be tight, toddlers (and husbands!) can be picky, and pennies need to be pinched whenever possible. Thankfully plant based meals give you a lot of bang for your buck, especially when you think in terms of nutrients per dollar. Here are a few of my favorite plant based hacks:
Frozen Fruits and Veggies: Wholesale stores have gotten hip to whole foods. Hit up the frozen section for fruits and veggies (often organic!) to create smoothies, soups, or whatever else your little heart desires. Fun fact: frozen veggies often retain more nutrients than fresh since they are frozen soon after picking.
Canned Beans: Budget-wise, dried beans are the better option. However, nothing beats the convenience and nutrition of popping open a can of beans. I always keep some on hand for last minute salads, hummus, or black bean brownies when the mood strikes. Look for BPA free cans and organic, if you can swing it.
Sweet Potatoes: Delicious and comforting, nothing satisfies like a sweet potato. You can find many varieties, and even organic, at a price that will suit your budget. And don’t forget they are the number one food amongst folks living in the blue zones…
Prepped Greens: Prepping greens yourself is usually the cheaper option, but for the time-crunched pre-washed and prepped greens are a saving grace. Many wholesale stores carry large bags of organic greens perfect for smoothies, salads, and the like.
Raw Cashews: This may seem like an odd addition, but cashews are just so dang versatile! From savory cream sauces and dressings to yummy nut butters and frostings, these little tree nuts can take a meal from ho hum to heavenly in no time flat.
For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook