• Alyssa Fontaine, RD
  • Jan 19, 2024

Gluten Free and Vegan Meal Plan for Beginners 

Gluten free and Vegan Meal Planning: Is it doable? 

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:

  • how much time you have to prepare everything
  • what ingredients you have available
  • if the meals and snacks you choose allow you to get all of the nutrients you need to feel your best.

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!

Why a meal plan? 

First: Think about your “why.” Why are you wanting to try meal planning?

  • Maybe it is because you want to try new recipes
  • Maybe it’s because you are frustrated with not knowing what to cook and you know planning ahead of time can alleviate some of the unknown
  • Maybe you find yourself wandering the aisles of the grocery stores not knowing what to buy (or what is safe for you to eat) and you want to make grocery shopping a little easier
  • Maybe you are always on the go and rushed to get yourself and your family out the door and fed in the mornings
  • Maybe you feel tired in the afternoon and find yourself reaching for a snack that does not satisfy or help to maintain your energy throughout a busy day.

Whatever the reason may be, use it as motivation to stick to your meal plan 

Vegan-Dieititan-Meal-Plan-Prep

Celiac Disease: What am I going to eat?

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! 

Start with the Basics:

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:

  • half a plate of fruits and veggies
  • one quarter of a plate of whole grains
  • one quarter of the plate of protein containing foods On top of that, make sure to incorporate some sources of fat as well.

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! 

Why each component is important:

Carbohydrates:

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:

Protein provides the building blocks our bodies need to perform countless important functions. Such as building/making up our:

  • muscle
  • skin
  • hair
  • the enzymes which carry out the essential reactions that take place in our bodies every day!

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:

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Fat or lipids:

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:

  • Olive oil 
  • Avocado and avocado oil 
  • Peanut butter and other nuts and seeds including almonds, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds

Sources of polyunsaturated fat include:

  • Some nuts and seeds including walnuts, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds
  • tofu/soybeans

Meal Planning Steps:

Step 1: Research Recipes.

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.

Step 2: Narrow it down.

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!

Step 3: Make a grocery list.

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. 

Step 4: Plan to prepare and cook your meals.

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!

Step 5: Enjoy your meals!

What can you eat if you are vegan and gluten free? 

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!

Breakfast 

StarchFruit + VegProteinFat
Certified gluten free oatsberriesNut butterAvocado 
Gluten free breadBananas Hemp seeds
Gluten free muffin datesSoy milk 
Potatoes, sweet potatoes or yamsSpinach Assorted nuts and seeds 

Lunch

Starch Fruit + VegProtein Fat 
Gluten free wraps (corn or rice tortillas)Tomatoes Tofu Olive oil
Quinoa Bell peppersBlack Beans Avocado 
Gluten free breadSpinach Edemame Vinaigrette 
Carrots Chickpeas Assorted nuts and seeds 

Dinner

Starch Fruit + VegProtein 
RiceBrussel sprouts Lentils 
Quinoa Carrots Beans 
Potatoes (sweet, russet) Spinach Tempeh
Cauliflower Vegan meat alternative 

Snacks

StarchFruit + VegProtein
Crackers (almond, rice or corn)Apple Nut butter 
Gluten free tortilla chipsCarrots Cashew “cheese”
Granola or Granola barTomatoes (salsa)Hummus 

An example 2 day meal plan using the charts above:

Day 1:

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

Day 2:

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 

Some tips for gluten free vegan meal prep:

  • A crock pot is a great way to cook meals like lunch and dinner ahead of time so you can put it in in the morning and get your chores done while your dinner cooks! 
  • Batch cooking is a great way to be prepared with your meals ahead of time. Cook meals in larger quantities than you need and store some of the leftovers in the fridge for use throughout the next few days OR if you are able, put some in the freezer so you have an easy meal to pull out whenever you need it
  • Buy frozen fruits and vegetables for an easy way to add nutrition to any meal

Sample 3 – Day Gluten free Vegan meal plan with recipes: Great for people with Celiac Disease 

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! 

Day 1:

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

Day 2:

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 

Day 3:

Breakfast: Tofu Scramble with gluten free bread and the topping of your choice (think nut butter or avocado toast)

Lunch: Simple Lemon Pasta 

Dinner: Vegan Jambalaya you can make this using this gluten free beyond meat sausage 

Snack: Berries with vegan “yoghourt” of your choice 

Now what?

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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