Tag Archives: busy life hack

Quick + Easy Meal Plan for One on a Budget (Vegan)

If you didn’t already know, my sister Katie wrote a musical! I know, right?! *Badass alert* She recently found out that Full the Musical was accepted to The New York City International Fringe Festival this August. So, on top of her full time job she’s also running around like a mad woman doing all the million and one things that need to happen to get a production ready for the bright lights of the big city. (Including, but not limited to; rehearsing, costuming, hustling, and coordinating travel from FL->NYC.) I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

full the musical

She mentioned to me that in the midst of all that madness she felt it was still important to throw down on some food prepared in her own kitchen. And I totally agree. Healthy fuel and a happy wallet are key components to this season of her life. But the perfect meal plan needed to be easy and non-brain-draining. (As well as reserve a few meals for eating out. Ya gotta be realistic, people!)

I told Katie, “Leave it to me, sistah!” You see, I LOVE creating meal plans. It feels like putting together a really satisfying puzzle. In case you have a similarly hectic week coming up, I thought I’d share what I put together for her.

And if you don’t? Thank your lucky stars. Cook elaborate meals. Revel in your free time. And then dig in your pockets to help out this amazing show. (Please and thanks!) 

Shopping List –

Oats

2 containers of coconut (or any non-dairy) yogurt

Almond milk

Bananas

Fruit of choice that is on sale/in season

1 onion

1 potato

1 sweet potato

1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk

1 loaf of bakery bread (freeze whatever you won’t be using this week)

Earth Balance

Red lentils

Basmati rice

Garlic

Avocados

Peanut butter

Hummus

Pita Chips (and/or crunchy dipping veg like bell peppers or baby carrots)

Tofu

A couple of on sale/in season veggie choices for sauteeing (think: peppers, zucchini, etc)

1 frozen meal option (think: pizza, Indian food, gnocchi, etc)

1 dessert option (like Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s!!!)

(Note: I didn’t include spices or cooking oil on this list so check the recipes to make sure you have all items on hand.)

Meal Plan –

Monday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats (prepare 4 jars on Sunday night. In each jar goes ½ cup of oats, ½ cup of almond milk, and ½ of one yogurt container + whatever extras you want to add – cinnamon, cocoa powder, mashed banana, nuts. In the morning you can top with fruit and a spoonful of nut butter, if you like.)

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Sweet Potato Curry Soup

(Saute chopped onions in a little cooking spray in a large pot over high heat. Add a pinch of salt. Once onions are translucent, add chopped potato, chopped sweet potato, 1 Tbsp curry powder, 1 cup water, and 1 can coconut milk. • Bring mixture to a boil, turn down heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. • Blend or mash mixture to desired consistency.)

Serve with a slice of toasted bakery bread with lots of Earth Balance!

Tuesday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

Lunch –

Leftover sweet potato curry soup with another slice of bread and a serving of fruit.

vegan meal plan 2

Dinner –

Lentils and Rice

(Ingredients:

1 ½ cups red lentils, 7 cups water, 4 garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, 2 cups basmati rice , 1 tsp salt + avocado on top per serving

Recipe:

Add lentils, water, garlic and spices to a pot over medium high heat. Cook for 25 minutes, until lentils are soft. Add rice and salt. • Return to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes. • Top with avocado!)

Wednesday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

Lunch –

Leftover Lentils and Rice w/ a serving of fruit.

Dinner –

Out.

Thursday

Breakfast –

Overnight oats

vegan meal plan 1.0

Lunch –

Peanut butter and banana sandwich with pita chips and fruit.

Dinner –

Leftover Lentils and Rice

vegan meal plan 3

Friday

Breakfast –

Avocado toast

avotoast

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Brekky for dinner: Tofu scramble, toast w/ nut butter, and fruit salad (your fruit selection for the week and banana…drizzle with honey if you like!)

Saturday

Breakfast –

Pancakes

(Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats, 1 ripe banana, 2/3 cup non-dairy milk, + peanut butter for topping

Recipe:

Blend together oats, banana and water. • Add batter to a skillet preheated to medium high heat. • Cook as you would normal pancakes, flipping when bubbles start to form on the side. • Top with peanut butter!)

Lunch –

Out.

Dinner –

Saute vegetables and tofu in a pan with soy sauce. Serve with rice and sriracha.

Sunday

Breakfast –

Pancakes

Lunch –

Leftover stir-fry.

Dinner –

Frozen meal.

SNACKS FOR THE WEEK:

Pita chips and crunchy veggie of choice with hummus.

DESSERTS FOR THE WEEK:

Dessert option and banana soft serve.

And there you have it! What do you think? Would this meal plan work for you? Do you have any tips + tricks for eating well when you’re balls deep in busy? Ya girl is all ears. 

P.S. No but for real, you should DONATE to Katie’s show. Those set pieces aren’t gonna haul THEMSELVES to The Fringe Festival. Thank you!

P.P.S. Love meal plans? Here’s another one that’s super budget friendly and here are 7 easy steps for beginner meal planners!

6 Ways to Find More Free Time

6434 (9003179) Natalie WOOD (re., *20.07.1938 - 29.11.1981), amerikanische Schauspielerin, mit einem Pudel springend, vermutlich während Dreharbeiten. Links ein Crewmitglied des Drehteams. Ort unbekannt, undatiert ca. Ende der 60er Jahre. [SPERRVERMERKE BEACHTEN | PLEASE CHECK RESTRICTIONS! Nutzung nur mit Genehmigung und gegen Honorar, Beleg, Namensnennung und zu unseren AGB. Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung. Honorare an: KEYSTONE Pressedienst, HASPA, BLZ 20050550, Kto. 1235130877];, Außenaufnahme, color, 20. Jahrhundert, 1960er Jahre, Personen, Schauspielerin, brünett, Brünette, rot, rotes, Kleid, Sommerkleid, Schuhe, rote, Kopftuch, Pudel, Hund, weißer, springen, springend, springt, lacht, lachen, lachend, Dreharbeiten, Stagehand, Crew, Crewmitglied, Name= Wood, Natalie, a00669

A few months ago I conducted a reader survey to find out more about the folks dropping by. I asked a myriad of questions but the one which garnered answers I found the most illuminating was, “What challenges are you currently facing in your life?” There were certainly some trends. Overwhelmingly, answers discussed difficulties with carving out spaces for self-care, new interests/passions, and hobbies. This is a tough one. It’s tough to create time for yourself amidst a busy schedule.

A couple weeks ago I talked about how and why to invest in yourself, but how do we create those little pockets of time in our day to do so? How do we make time to do it all? While my answers to these difficult questions are certainly a matter of “practice what you preach,” I hope they’ll still prove helpful.

1. Track your time

Spend a few days with a pen and paper (or the Notes app on your phone) by your side and keep tabs on yourself. This is a great way to visualize your day from a new perspective and find moments that went unused, under-used, or used in a way that didn’t necessarily serve you. Pockets of time may rise to the surface once you actually have to write down “Scrolled through Instagram feed from 7:46pm-8:17pm” or when you notice you cooked really elaborate meals 5 days in a row instead of eating up the multitude of leftovers in your fridge (and you don’t even like cooking!)

2. Find things that fill you up

It’s a lot easier to make time for or prioritize your passions. If you’re having trouble identifying things you’re passionate about then definitely check out this post. Still at a loss? Pay attention to what others are passionate about and see if it sparks a little joy in you, too. When a friend beams when discussing a dance class, and you love to dance, see if you can tag along. Once you’ve identified a few loves, schedule them! Pencil them into your planner each week and stick to it.

3. Stop making comparisons

One of the quickest ways to guarantee a “full plate” is by looking to other’s lives and drawing comparisons. We see someone else doing x, y, and z and suddenly we feel the need to pile those things on our To Do list along with a, b, and c. I find this especially prevalent in the social media age. Friends who post about jet-setting to another country, keeping up a fabulously decorated house, and doing wonderfully creative things litter my newsfeed. And that’s fantastic! But as soon as my feelings go from “How awesome for them!” to “Shouldn’t I be doing these things too?!?” — I need to click that unfollow button. You can’t compare what someone else is doing if it’s their passion and not yours. Don’t pile a bunch of unnecessary crap onto your life for the sake of keeping up with the Jones’s.

6. Multi-task!

On average a person spends 45 to 62 minutes waiting every single day. Waiting in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery, waiting on hold, etc., etc. Add to that some of the more mindless activities we have to do to live our lives (Think: walking from Point A to Point B, blowdrying hair, chopping vegetables, folding laundry.) and you’ve just stumbled upon a whole bunch of untapped potential. Are there things you could be doing in these extra minutes that might bring you some joy? Could you multi-task in a more fruitful way than just pulling out your phone? How about bringing a podcast along for that morning commute or how about always having a book on hand in case you have to wait in line!

7. Say “No!”

I talked about saying “no” in this post but there are more than just financial reasons for doing so. Doing it all and saying “yes” to all sorts of invitations and obligations can cut into much needed free time, too. The same principles apply though. If you’re worried that saying no means you’ll never get asked to do anything EVER again!!! I think the best way to combat this is with honesty. Tell whomever extended the invite what circumstances are causing you to pass on this particular invitation. Giving them context lets them know that your answer is “No, not right now.” and not “No, NEVER!”

8. Ask for help from loved ones

Let those you hold near and dear know that you’re working toward a more balanced, joy-filled life. They can help hold you accountable by encouraging you to take time for the things you love once and awhile instead of just holing up with your work for hours on end. When someone else is asking you to go for a walk with them or encouraging you to spend some time scrapbooking instead of scraping dishes, these things will feel a lot more like a luxury than an item on a To Do list. An item that can easily get pushed to the bottom of the page or even eliminated completely.

Have any tips for carving out some free time in a full-to-bursting schedule? What’s your favorite way to spend your hard-earned, well-deserved time? Share below!

(Photo of Natalie Wood and her dog, circa 1950s)