Gluten free and vegan meal planning: sounds like a chore right? There are so many components of meal planning that make it a seemingly daunting task. Some things you have to consider are:
This last task can seem especially tricky if you are choosing to follow a vegan diet and also have celiac disease. So in the following article you will find various tips and tricks to help you put your best foot forward when meal planning!
First: Think about your “why.” Why are you wanting to try meal planning?
Whatever the reason may be, use it as motivation to stick to your meal plan
I know personally from having Celiac Disease, the question, what am I going to eat? Is something I have to think carefully about every time I plan on eating outside of my home. A lot of my time has been spent meticulously researching places nearby that have gluten free ‘grab and go’ options. And even if I do find somewhere that boasts gluten free options, there is always a risk of cross contamination which would make me very sick.
This, in combination with a vegan diet proves to be a difficult feat. I always feel most comfortable when I remember to pack food that can sustain me throughout the day. Wraps, protein packed salads and snacks I have prepared ahead of time are go to’s!
Consider the basics. A meal plan does not need to be complicated! You don’t have to try to make new and interesting recipes for every meal! Trying new recipes can be really fun; especially if you feel like you are in rut of eating the same meals throughout the week (I feel like we’ve all been there). But trying new and maybe more complicated recipes is not a necessary component of meal planning.
It is important to remember the components of a balanced meal that will help you to feel satiated and keep you well nourished. A balanced Vegan plate should consist of:
Do not worry too much about measuring your portions to ensure you have the exact ratios. At the beginning, look down at your plate (or bowl): if you can identify a fruit or vegetable, a protein source and a whole grain or starch, then you are off to a good start! Often the snack foods that we grab when we are busy and on the go do not have all of the components of a balanced snack plate to keep us going!
Carbohydrates found in the whole grains and starchy foods provide the body with fuel to perform functions of daily living and physical activity. If you have Celiac Disease it is important to note that you must avoid all grains that contain gluten: these include wheat, barley, rye and triticale.
Protein provides the building blocks our bodies need to perform countless important functions. Such as building/making up our:
Not all protein is created equal though. Some sources of protein contain all of the essential building blocks (called complete proteins) while others are missing one or more. A good tip would be to make sure you are eating a variety of protein containing foods! We will include a list of plant based complete proteins later on!
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Fats are important too but not all fats are created equal just like proteins. There are saturated and unsaturated fats. Consuming a lot of saturated fat may have negative health implications; it is a good idea to choose saturated fats such as coconut or palm oil less often. Maybe you have heard the terms “good fats” or “healthy fats” before. These phrases are referring to polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. When selecting your sources of fat, it is good to consider both. These serve many functions in the body such as providing energy, supporting cell function, hormone production and the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K.
Sources of monounsaturated fat include:
Sources of polyunsaturated fat include:
This is a great time to get creative and think of all of the delicious vegan, gluten free recipes you’d like to try. You can look online or in any cookbooks you may have. You can also use recipes that you have developed over time that are staples in your weekly rotation.
I would recommend doing meal planning one week at a time. Choose what you would like to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the week. You do not have to choose a new recipe for each day; you can plan to have leftovers on some days if that is something you would like to do!
Make a list of all of the ingredients needed to make the recipes you have chosen. Take your grocery list to the store and use it to give you direction while shopping. This can also help if you are trying to stay within a budget.
You can decide whether you are going to prepare some meals ahead of time at the beginning of the week or if you would like to prepare them as you go, which will be easier now that you know what you will be cooking and that you have all of the ingredients you need!
If you do not want to look up specific recipes to plan for, you can try a simplified method of picking one item from each category to make a balanced meal or snack. This can also be used as a method for grocery shopping. You can purchase a few items from each column so you know what you have to work with to create different meals throughout the week. Mix and match items to create different flavour profiles and combinations. You can base your selection of fruits and vegetables each week around what is in season, what is most affordable, or by picking something you know you’d like to incorporate into your week. Another thing to note is that some of the foods fit into more than one category for example: nuts provide protein and fat to your diet!
|Fruit + Veg
|Certified gluten free oats
|Gluten free bread
|Gluten free muffin
|Potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams
|Assorted nuts and seeds
|Fruit + Veg
|Gluten free wraps (corn or rice tortillas)
|Gluten free bread
|Assorted nuts and seeds
|Fruit + Veg
|Potatoes (sweet, russet)
|Vegan meat alternative
|Fruit + Veg
|Crackers (almond, rice or corn)
|Gluten free tortilla chips
|Granola or Granola bar
Breakfast: Gluten free toast with bananas and nut butter
Lunch: Tofu veggie wraps with spinach and hummus
Dinner: Rice bowl with lentils, carrots and spinach
Snack: Gluten free crackers with apple cashew “cheese” and an apple
Breakfast: Gluten free oatmeal with berries and hemp seeds
Lunch: Quinoa, tempeh and veggies with your choice of dressing/seasoning
Dinner: Roasted yam or sweet potato with cauliflower and black bean burger
Snack: Gluten free crackers with carrot sticks and hummus
This is just one meal plan option. It is important to remember that each person has individualised needs. A registered dietitian can help you further explore your personalised energy and protein requirements. It is also good to note these recipes are just to give you ideas, take what you like and change them or use them as inspiration for other dishes as you see fit! You can read an article about the implications of having celiac disease and being vegan here as well as tips for meeting your nutritional requirements!
Breakfast: Chickpea Sweet Potato Mash
Lunch: Warm Roasted Salad Bowl
Dinner: Lemon Pepper Tofu Sheet Pan Dinner (note: this recipe gives a few suggestions for grains you can use but if you have celiac disease or are gluten free you cannot eat the farro, so stick to the rice or quinoa!)
Snack: Beet Hummus with gluten free crackers or veggie sticks
Breakfast: Overnight oats (this recipe has lots of variations to try!)
Lunch: Tempeh Tacos
Dinner: Cauliflower Coconut Curry
Snack: 1 apple or banana with ¼ cup of nuts or 1-2 tbsp of nut butter for example
Breakfast: Tofu Scramble with gluten free bread and the topping of your choice (think nut butter or avocado toast)
Lunch: Simple Lemon Pasta
Snack: Berries with vegan “yoghourt” of your choice
A plant-based registered dietitian can help you getting started and find success in meal planning! Book your free discovery call now!
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