As a nutritionist and someone who eats a plant-based diet, I often get asked what exactly I eat. With the removal of the meat centred plates people become incredibly curious as to what fills my belly and stocks my fridge. I’ll admit this often gives me a little chuckle because I like to presume that the meat eaters of the world don’t just have fridges full to the brim of steaks, eggs, fish and chicken breasts.
But I thought I would do a post sharing exactly what we have in our house on any given moment. We generally do one massive haul once a week, then another produce haul mid week. Sometimes a quick pop in if the menu changes due to a request and an ingredient is needed.
As much as I love to shop local, support locally owned grocery stores and farmers market, I do have to live on a budget of some sort and unfortunately the cost comparison between those places and my local Superstore are just too large. So I tend to buy the bulk of our produce at Costco or Superstore, speciality items at a couple locally owned grocery stores here, legumes I get free from a friend who manages a lentil plant (for real!!). We hit up the farmers market weekly when in season and pick up random things – we got some great sprouts and greens a couple weeks ago. We also plant our own garden and greenhouse. By shopping at the bigger box stores for staples it allows room for us to support the farmers market vendors and smaller local stores also and allows me to buy food that is mostly organic, fresh, minimal ingredients and as close to their absolute whole state as possible. And because everyone always wants to know, we generally spend around $200 a week or so on actual food items. With that being said we rarely eat out, and I don’t exactly shop for sales. That’s a big fault of mine and one I would love to improve on. I have a secret desire to be a coupon cutter and walk into the grocery store, have them scan my stuff and bam! Lay all the coupons down and watch the number decrease.
But I digress..
Dry staples include
- Dry Beans (black and pinto)
- Lentils (red, green, fresh)
- Split peas
- Rice (basmati, jasmine, usually a wild rice or plain brown rice)
- Steel cut oats
- A box of Gluten free Pasta (minimal ingredients, high fibre)
- A loaf each of a gf bread and regular (kept in the freezer because we hardly eat bread! Little Northern Bakehouse is my go-to for gf and anything from Silver Hills for non gf)
- Popcorn (it’s a staple)
- Rice noodles
- Ramen noodles (lotus foods are my go-to brand
Produce bought and consumed weekly
- 3-5 pounds of apples, mandarins, lemons, potatoes
- 3-5 cucumbers
- 10 tomatoes
- 7-8 peppers
- 2 pound bag of carrots
- 2 large bags/containers of spinach
- 8-10 heads of romaine
- 1 red onion
- 2 heads of cauliflower
- 3 jalapeños
- 20 bananas (minimum, seriously!!)
- Container of grapes
- Dates (medjool)
- Seasonal fruits as veggies such as berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, eggplant, corn etc.
- Other fruits and veggies as they are available like snap peas, pears etc.
Vegan Protein and dairy alternatives:
- Almond milk
- Organic soy milk (our preference for golden mylk)
- Usually a bag of veggie ground and veggie nuggets in the freezer for backup
- Vegan cheese (in the freezer, we don’t eat a lot of it)
- Can of organic coconut milk
Nuts and Seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Various nuts, raw and unsalted (hint: keep in the fridge) such as cashews, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds..
- Peanut butter
- Marinara sauce
- Gf flour
- Coconut sugar
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Fermented foods like kimchi, garlic, kombucha
- Vegan butter (used sparingly)
- Eggs (obviously not plant based or vegan but still in our house)
- Vegan chocolate chips
- Granola bars of some kind (we’ve been loving the KIND bars and fig bars lately!)
- Some kind of kids treat (right now it’s the organic fruit snack from Costco)
- Back up can or two of Amy’s organic Lentil soup (my version of a ‘fast food’ supper when we are pressed for time)
- Normal household condiments including: rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Tamari sauce, Franks red hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, the husband likes Renee’s Cucumber Dill dressing so we have some of that..
- Spices: I have an incredibly well stocked spice drawer. Getting familiar with and comfortable with spices has been the true hero in my plant based journey. I keep everything from basics like basil, oregano, parsley, ginger and garlic (fresh and dry) and cinnamon to more adventurous spices like turmeric, curry powders, byrani spice, Cajun etc.
- Various loose leaf teas and some tea bags.
- And that’s it! As you can see there’s nothing weird or wild in our kitchen, but we continuously eat delicious food from these basic staples. We currently have a huge batch of Chana masala in the fridge that my 4 year old is loving; we just finished up a delicious lentil salad and falafels. I generally have a pot of roasted veggies in the fridge which are perfect to throw together with a salad and some tempeh which is my go-to back up lunch when I’m feeling lazy or in a rush. Sometimes I even make it for supper .
Eating plant based doesn’t mean having to be wild or crazy; you can eat the basic of the basic normal foods. It’s all in how you cook them! Investing in or checking out from the library some plant based cookbooks is the best thing you can do. Even if you don’t love the recipes themselves at the very least I find cookbooks help me to understand what flavours work well together, what I like and don’t like and overall helped to build up my confidence in the kitchen. I do plan on sharing more recipes around these parts as time goes on, but I thought sharing my kitchen was a good start!