05.09.18

Becoming a vegan family and a weekly meal plan

Paul & Paula: vegan-family story and weekly meal plan

After the very late travel guides, our relocation news as well as my opinion on the current kids fashion business, I am here to share something very new going on in our family: Vegan!

Just one word but so much behind it. I shared a little bit on my Instagram and received lots of great feedback as well as questions. And the demand for meal ideas and such was quite big. And since I am already busy to share more private stuff again, I will give you some insight into our Vegan life.

Disclaimer: I am not on a mission to convert you to become a vegan! :)

How did it start?

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Now, I have been really very interested and also concerned when it comes to food and nutrition for the last 8 years. Reading books (started with the Wheat Belly back then) and watching lots of documentaries. I mean, we can be so happy to have easy access to all the literature, researches and shows. It really makes everything so much easier and quicker. I did periods with no sugar and now wheat. Sometimes both at the same time. We eat a lot of veggies and had meat twice a week – max. Then we watched Cowspiracy, strange enough I thought we did watch it and hubby reminded me that we did in fact not. And something pulled the trigger and I said: OK, let’s do one week vegan when we come back from our holidays. Just to see! And that is how it started…
I would like to add that it is definitely a little overwhelming in the beginning. There is a lot of info out there, good as well as false. But once you get interested and invested you will find your path. Trust me!

Movies and documentaries that I can recommend:

What the Health, Cowspiracy, Food Inc., Fat, Live and let live, Forks over knives, Food Choices

What did the kids say?

Our children are really very open and cool about this kind of things. Travelers and explorers since birth and always with the rule: Try before you don’t like it.
So when I told them about our ‘project’ and also why, they were really pretty cool about it.
Since we started we discussed quite a few things about animals, meat and the impact on our environment as well as the treatment of those animals.
For starters we did not change their diets during school hours! For three of them this means that vegan is happening only at home. Antoine on the other side decided to also skip meats and dairy at school.

We asked them for feedback on meals, what they think is hard, how we can be more sustainable in general (I will write another post about this soon!) and what they miss. So that they felt involved and heard.

Then what?

I started to google meal plans but quickly realised that there was no ‘perfect plan’ that fitted our family. So I had to prepare our own. And googled for recipes. Had a look at the ingredients, how quick they are to make and then decided if it could work for us on a week day. That is why I am sharing our first weekly meal plan with you here today as well. Maybe you will find it helpful – let me know!

Important to note:

Vegan does not equal healthy. Meaning that buying everything with the vegan label at your local supermarket might not be the best of ideas. Because those can also be will be mostly processed, full of sugar and strange ingredients.
That is something I wanted and want to avoid. Vegan for me, us, means fresh and plant based.

 

Paul & Paula: Vegan family story and weekly meal plan

Tips from our start into the Vegan lifestyle:

Plan ahead, make a list for your grocery shopping and search for recipes that you feel confident to cook. And that will most likely please your crowd.

Cook more. You need leftovers for easy lunch meals!

Experiment, enjoy raw cakes (Oh I love them so much!) and discover that cooking vegan does not have to be tricky. Oh and the colours in your fridge will make you glow before you even start cooking…

What happened after one week:

Yes, we said we will try for one week. Well, after that was up I just decided to add another week. Because one week feels like you did not really experience it. Things just start to kick in… so two weeks is better to see the effects.
So we added another week and the kids were fine with that.
And after two weeks we all sat together after breakfast and discussed what to do next. Antoine came up with the idea to keep the vegan until we go to London and look for houses, which adds two additional weeks.
Personally: I cannot imagine going back to eat meat. Even dairy products. It feels strange to say no to it, eliminate it for a couple of weeks and then roast a chicken again. And I really enjoy the recipes and do not feel like I am missing out on anything. On the contrary…

So, here is my very first meal plan on Paul & Paula. Vegan, printable (just click on it and print) and really full of excellent meals for a family. And below I will share the links to the recipes and also write something for each day. Some feedback, because we did make and eat all of those meals (promise!) and little add-ons and tips:

Paul & Paula: weekly vegan family meal plan

Monday:

Smoothie Bowl – in case you are new to the concept: Put the yoghurt, a box of frozen fruit (we love raspberries) and a cup of plant milk in a food processor and mix until smooth. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle with fresh banana slices and a vegan muesli.

Salad – easy and nutritious.

Curryfrom Jamie.  Easy, quick to prepare and perfect for Autumn. My kids love curries and this was a hit!

Tuesday:

Oatmeal – cooked with oat milk and topped with fruits of your choice. Or a home made apple sauce, which my kids love and I try to make often.

Lunch – you can exchange the hard bread with your favourite. Just top it with hummus, some veggies and herbs. Salt and pepper and enjoy.

Zoodles – Zoodles are courgettes made into noodles. In our house only Romy likes them so I make normal, egg free, pasta for the others. A classic tomato sauce (passatta & veggies basically) and topped with vegan parmesan. Sounds strange I know, but this stuff really is yummy!

Wednesday:

Toast – easy. Kids love it and it keeps you full for a long time. I always opt for a wheat free version but you do what you prefer.

Lunch – leftover from yesterday. Yay! Easy.

Vegan chili – basically a chili sin carne. Served with vegan creme fraiche, cilantro and a good dose of Tabasco for me. (not the kids!) This is a great dish to cook a huge pot and freeze for busy days! The kids love it!

Prepare: You need to prepare your Chia pudding for breakfast tomorrow tonight!

Thursday:

Chia – how I make it: 1/3 cup of chia seeds, a box of extra smooth coconut milk (not the cans where the cream sticks at the top) with a dash of organic vanilla extract. Put all ingredients in a jug, mix very well and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning you serve it in bowls (it is very filling!) with fresh fruit on top – I love it with berries.

Lunch – leftover from yesterday. Yay! Easy.

Falafel – my kids love falafel! Falafel recipe and garden salad. I love to have a yoghurt sauce with my falafels and I make it like this: Soy yoghurt, fresh lemon juice, fresh herbs (whatever I have in the kitchen – cilantro, mint, parsley…) and maybe a few tiny cubes of cucumber. Salt and pepper, mix and done.

Prepare: Get your Banana puddings ready for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Friday:

Breakfast – just needs to get out of the fridge and on the table today!

Lunch – leftover from yesterday. Yay! Easy.

Burrito – I made these Vegan Burritos and again a sauce that goes like this: Oat yoghurt, ½ avocado, garlic, cilantro, salt & fresh lemon juice. In a mixer and mixed until smooth. Another dish the children enjoyed.

Saturday:

Pancakes – it is Saturday and we serve delicious pancakes. And these are the bomb. Healthy, fluffy and so easy to make. I admit that I did not make the apple/pecan thingy but we had some maple syrup, cinnamon and fresh fruits to top.

Avocado – on toast. My kids love it and it is one of the dishes we had regularly before too. So easy and great after the pancakes this morning…

Diner – Chips is potato wedges baked in the oven and the vegan balls. The balls were not a huge hit (trying a different recipe this week!) but they were not that bad either. I liked them and so did hubby. On Saturdays we like to have a sweet dessert so we made these Chocolate Pots. Just make sure to get very smooth tofu for this one.

SnackStrawberry Oat Bars.

Prepare: Banana bread for tomorrow’s breakfast. I am lucky because Romy, 11, loves to bake and she prepares lots of our desserts and stuff like banana breads etc.

Sunday:

Banana bread – this recipe is really good and topping it with some nut butter is truly delicious. Especially on a Sunday morning…

Soup – super easy and great to cook extra for lunch tonorrow. Tomato soup is a favourite in our house anyway.

Stuffed Peppers – not everyone liked the stuffed peppers but they all loved the rice in them.

SnackVegan cookies.

 

So, I hope you liked this. Soon I will report about ‘Phase Two’ and another meal plan if you like!

 

All images & meal plan: Paul & Paula

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