Vegan Convenience Foods
For some, ideas for how to follow this diet using convenience foods are important. Use this guide to help you when you can’t or don’t want to cook. We provide suggestions for every meal, but feel free to add your own, as you’ll be a vegan pro in no time.
If you find yourself unplugged from a heat source while on a camping trip, check out the book Vegan Unplugged by Jon Robertson; it showcases convenient, nonperishable recipes.
- Oatmeal: Use packets or make enough on the weekend for the week and reheat. Add dried or fresh fruit and cinnamon.
- High-fiber cereal with plant milk (try juice-box size plant milks)
- Toast with jam, hummus, or apple butter
- Smoothies (banana, fresh/frozen fruit, and plant milk)
- Facon bacon (microwave or cook on stovetop)
- Sandwiches: Use whole-grain bread, pita bread, or a tortilla. Spread with hummus and fill with prewashed salad mix or spinach. Also consider using vegan deli slices with lettuce, tomato, and mustard.
- Soup: Try McDougall’s instant soups, Amy’s canned soups, or Imagine or Pacific Natural Foods soups in shelf-stable boxes. You can add frozen veggies or canned beans to your soup for added nutrition and fiber.
- Frozen meals: Look for Amy’s burritos, wraps, bowls, and meals. Try Trader Joe’s meals and frozen vegan pizzas (look for low-fat options).
- Salad: Find a salad bar and load up! If you’re making a salad at home, use bagged, prewashed lettuce or spinach and any veggies you can get your hands on. Popular salad veggies include cucumbers, tomatoes, red pepper, and onion. Choose balsamic vinegar or lemon juice for a low-fat dressing. Canned beans, especially garbanzo beans, go well on salad.
- Pasta and marinara: Use whole-grain pasta with a jar of tomato sauce. Also consider using quinoa or couscous; they cook fast. Just add boiling water to dry couscous and cover.
- DIY stir-fry: Use any grain you have and add prepared baked tofu found in the dairy section of grocery store and some frozen veggies.
- Order in or take out: Chinese, Thai, and Mexican cuisines have vegan options.
- Frozen meals or frozen vegan pizza
- Microwaved sweet potato and frozen vegetables
- Fruit: Choose any (including dried fruit) and load up.
- Carrot sticks, celery, broccoli, red pepper slices
- Hummus: Varieties include garlic, roasted red pepper, dill, lemon, and more.
- Salsa and baked tortilla chips
- Air-popped popcorn
Kickstart DIY: DIY is short for a do-it-yourself recipe. We want you to get into the habit of going out on your own and making meals without a recipe. If you are not feeling ready for a DIY meal, stick to a recipe. But if you are, grab that can of beans, cook up some brown rice, and top with cooked greens or some frozen mixed vegetables. Or mix your favorite fruits together and toss with soy yogurt. Let your imagination run wild with Kickstart DIY meals.
Serving Sizes: Don’t worry too much about the serving sizes of beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Thanks to the high-fiber and low-fat content, you would be hard-pressed to consume more calories than you need from these four food groups. (Exceptions include avocados, olives, etc.)
Cereal: Look for around 5 grams of fiber per serving. Avoid those that add chemical preservatives, sugar, corn syrup, and/or cane juice.
Bread: Look for around 4 grams of fiber per slice/serving. Avoid additives such as whey, sugar, corn syrup, caramel colorings, etc.
Jam: Choose all-fruit jams. These are usually not sweetened with sugar.
Beans: All beans are great. Buying them dried may be more economical, but you have to plan for the rinsing, soaking, and draining process. Canned and frozen are every bit as good.
Grains: Whole grains are preferred, but as long as the ones you choose have some fiber you are fine.
Fruits: All fruits are good: whole fresh, frozen, or dried. Avoid those with added sugar and those that have the fiber removed, e.g., juiced.
Vegetables: All vegetables are good: whole fresh, frozen, or canned.