If you're looking for inspiration on what to eat as a vegan, our vegan diet diary will offer a glimpse into what regular vegans eat on a day to day basis. As an added bonus, our in-house Dietitian will offer her expert guidance on nutrition. In the second edition of our series, Seona Deuchar, Supporter Services Coordinator at The Vegan Society, shares what she grazes on throughout the week.
Seona: I am a self-confessed lover of eating out, easy meals, and junk food. However I also love cooking fancy meals from scratch, so there really is no in between.
Breakfast is the only food routine that never changes – I have a bowl of porridge with coconut milk and brown sugar, or two pieces of brown toast with peanut butter and banana. Every day, at 8am, when I get in to the office. I make a concerted effort to have yoghurt at about 10am but often I simply forget or run out and fail to do a food shop, which is great planning.
From there it tends to get significantly worse, as I have my first and only cup of tea at about 11. I’m trying to cut down my caffeine at the moment so have become fiercely protective of my gigantic mug (which somewhat negates the ‘one cup’ principle, I know). This is normally accompanied by a cookie, biscuits, or something else suitably sugary.
My lunch is more often than not simply leftovers from a batch cook or last night’s dinner. The past week it’s been- Monday: lentil and coconut curry with rice, Tuesday: tofu and broccoli stir fry with rice, Wednesday: Tofu and noodle soup, Thursday: Lentil ragu, Friday: lentil and root vegetable soup. I’ve recently gotten very in to experimenting with tofu, hence its very high occurrence rate this week!
The afternoon munchies are often met with pitta, houmus, more biscuits, or dark chocolate. I don’t go hard every day; it tends to be pretty heavily stress and hormone dependent. If I’m feeling a bit offish I splash out on berries. Apples with peanut butter are a staple of my snack cupboard as well.
Getting home means thinking about dinner but normally means pre dinner snacks, often salad (realistically this means just eating a tomato and half a cucumber) or toast. Dinners look like some form of protein (tofu, bean burgers, veggie sausages, etc), a carb (mash, wedges, pasta, rice), and then veggies. I’m a massive fan of spinach, broccoli, peas, and of course butternut squash. This week my high point was tofu marinated in a popular branded peri peri sauce, grilled, with potato wedges, spicy peas and a big old lump of refried beans. I recently learned how to make refried beans from scratch, and it’s my new addiction. Shout out to my wonderful friend for instilling such a gift on me.
On nights when I eat out, I’m a big fan of sushi, exploring pizza options, and of course the ever present bean burgers. I didn’t eat out much this week because I’ve been house hunting, and determined to not turn to take-out pizza. I have however relied on Tesco meal deals to ride the hunger wave at 8pm once.
Throughout the day I try to drink at least 1.5 litres of water, I have a 500ml cup on my desk and stick to three of those throughout the work day. I run semi regularly and I know that’s about my sweet spot to feel awake and to make it through my runs. Water is also my default drink with evening meals; do I get brownie points for that?
I know pre bed calories are the worst timed calories, but if I’ve had a rough day I’m a big one for hiding with hot chocolate and blankets, and last week with the late arrivals home and bleak weather I admit to having two. Ok three. Just three.
Heather the Dietitian's assessment
Yes Seona, you definitely get brownie points for drinking plenty of water! Hydration is easily neglected whilst we’re buzzing around, but it’s such an important part of our daily routines. It’s great that you enjoy making meals from scratch. By cooking extra portions, you can ensure that there’s always a meal ready to heat up when kitchen time is limited. Clearly, you’re a fan of lentils, beans and tofu, which are rich in plant protein. I fancy making some refried beans, so I’ll be picking your brains. Remember to keep an eye on the salt content of meat alternatives like bean burgers and veggie sausages. You could definitely benefit from getting your taste buds used to less sugar, which includes added sugar and sugary foods and drinks. Due to the goodies often available in our office, this may be easier said than done! Apple slices, berries or raisins are fab options for sweetening porridge, whilst helping you to smash the 5-a-day target – win-win as CEO George would say! You’re already snacking on some fruit and veggies, which are excellent choices. Pepper or carrot sticks would go really well with houmous, and a few walnuts would help to boost your intake of omega-3 fat. In addition to the relaxation factor, a hot drink before bed can be a great way of helping you to hit your daily calcium target. For a lighter alternative to hot chocolate, try heating up calcium-fortified plant milk with your favourite spices. At the moment, I’m loving ginger and turmeric.
Want to find out more about vegan nutrition? Check out this page for information about balancing food groups and the roles of fortified foods and supplements.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.