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Vegan Meals in a Flash: Your Complete Guide to Creating Healthy Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

At the end of a super long day—

The last thing you want is to spend hours in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. 

Well, what if I told you those grueling days are over?

Forget the tedious week-long meal preps,

kiss those hours over the stove goodbye,

and say hello to delicious, fast and healthy meals you can make any night of the week!

Finding recipes that are healthy and can be cooked up in under 30 minutes? 

This is going to completely transform your life. 

If you are on the hunt for meals you can create in 30 minutes or less— 

Then stick around. 

Here’s what we’ll be going over: 

  • Keeping a Balanced Diet: Key Nutrients to Include in Your Meals
  • Vegan Shopping List: Healthy Ingredients to Create Quick Meals
  • 21 Vegan Meals: Create These Healthy Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less

Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry Soup from Ali of Wholesome Crumbs

Keeping a Balanced Diet: Key Nutrients to Include in Your Meals

Oftentimes, we associate meals that are made quickly with being unhealthy. 

Why do we make that connection?

Because meals that are labeled as “pre-made” or “instant” are often packed with preservatives. 

Think of Lunchables, instant mashed potatoes, or canned soups…. 

Don’t worry—

There’s another option. 

You can make meals quickly using whole food ingredients that are packed with nutrients! 

As a vegan, it’s important to educate yourself-

there are essential nutrients you should be targeting every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Here are a few nutrients to incorporate in your meals every day: 

Protein:

Protein is one of the three essential macronutrients (along with carbohydrates and fat) that you should incorporate in your diet. 

Protein is important for three main reasons

  • It contains amino acids which helps create our muscles, skin, and tissues
  • It helps our body repair muscles after working out 
  • It is a source of energy

All in all, 10-35% of our daily calorie intake should come from protein. 

Here are a few popular plant-based protein sources: 

  • Beans such as chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
  • Seeds like flaxseed and chia seeds

Carbohydrates: 

Carbohydrates = fuel. 

In fact, carbs are our best source of energy! 

They help fuel the following: 

  • Brain functions
  • Heart muscles
  • Kidney
  • Central nervous system

In your daily diet, carbohydrates should take up approximately 45-65% of your daily calories. 

Here are some great sources of plant-based carbs: 

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas

Fat: 

Unfortunately—

Fat has gotten a “bad” reputation. 

But our body actually needs this essential micronutrient! 

Here are some of the ways our body uses fats: 

  • To keep us warm
  • As a source of energy
  • To promote cell growth
  • Produce hormones

Fats should take up a whopping 20-35% of daily calories in your diet. 

Here are some yummy and nutritious sources of plant-based fats: 

  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds

Vitamins and Minerals

We’ve all heard that vitamins are good for us. 

But exactly what vitamins should we be having every day? And how much should we be consuming? 

You could take a full nutrition course to get the answers— 

But luckily there are some condensed guidelines you can follow. 

There are 13 essential vitamins and minerals out there that you should regularly consume. 

Don’t worry—

On a balanced plant-based diet, you can get all of them. 

Here are the 13 essential vitamins you need: 

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • B3
  • B6 
  • B12
  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Folate

Here are a few minerals you should aim to consume daily: 

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

It is always best to get your vitamins and minerals through food, rather than through a pill form. 

However— 

It is always good to check in with your doctor to see if you are getting everything that you need. 

If you are vitamin or mineral deficient—

They may have recommendations for a supplement that you can take. 

Are you getting all of the nutrients you need?

Here are the best ways to make sure you’re on a nutritious vegan diet

  • Eat a varied diet
    • Whole grains
    • Legumes
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Fruits and vegetables
  • Eat fortified food to get all of your vitamins and minerals
    • Cereal
    • Tofu
    • Plant-based milk
    • Nutritional yeast 

There are plenty of quick and easy meal recipes that will get you the nutritional value you need to lead a healthy life. 

5-Ingredient Potato and Bean Quesadilla from Jasmine of Sweet Simple Vegan

Vegan Shopping List: Healthy Ingredients to Create Quick Meals

During your weekly shopping run— 

It can be helpful to know what ingredients to stock up on…

Especially if you want to make healthy vegan meals in a fraction of the time!

We’ve got you covered. 

Check out these quick-make ingredients you can purchase in every food group!

Fruits and Vegetables: 

Lucky day! 

Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are quick and easy to prepare. 

Here are a few rules of thumb when stocking up: 

Shop the Rainbow

Here’s a well-known fact-- 

fruits and vegetables are packed with important antioxidants and phytonutrients, 

which is why they’re so good for us. 

Different colors in our produce represent the different nutrients inside. 

Here are just a few examples—

The blue/purplish hue in blueberries is from anthocyanins, which is a powerful antioxidant.

The bright red from a red tomato is due to lycopene, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants among dietary carotenoids. 

Bottom line? 

Stock up on every color of the rainbow when you head through the store to get the nutrients you need. 

Don’t Be Afraid of Frozen Produce

We’re often told to steer clear of the frozen food aisles due to added preservatives or salt in food. 

But there is an exception—

Frozen produce has plenty of nutritional value without all of the bad additives. 

It can also save you time in the kitchen! 

Why’s that, you ask?

Because it is oftentimes easier to prepare-- 

and you can buy it in bulk without worrying about it spoiling. 

Get Fruit and Vegetables from These Families

Getting a variety of fruits and vegetables is important. 

Here are the different groups to fill your shopping cart with: 

  • Cruciferous vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Brussel sprouts.
  • Berries pack a punch nutritionally.
    • Raspberries
    • Blueberries
    • Blackberries 
  • Leafy greens are staples in a balanced diet.
    • Spinach
    • Kale
    • Collard greens
    • Arugula 

Beans and Legumes: 

Beans and legumes are the best sources of plant protein that you can find. 

However—

It’s no secret that fresh and dry beans and legumes take a long time to cook.

Luckily, you can find canned beans and legumes that are 

inexpensive, 

quick to make, 

and still healthy. 

The important thing to look for when it comes to canned food is the sodium content—

Oftentimes canned food is loaded with salt to preserve it. 

Search for “low-sodium” whenever you can to avoid this. 

Other than that— 

Canning beans and legumes is an excellent way to preserve the food’s nutritional value

Here are beans and legumes that are fun and easy to cook with: 

  • Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • Black beans
  • Navy beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Lentils

Using canned beans is the perfect way to make an easy dinner recipe for the whole family. 

Whole Grains: 

Eating a diet rich in whole grains has been linked to a lower risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. 

Here are some whole grain varieties that are quick to make in the kitchen: 

  • Instant oats
  • Instant brown rice (just as healthy as long-cook brown rice!) 
  • Quinoa, a grain that can be cooked in just 15 minutes
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Popcorn

Putting some cooked vegetables over a bed of grains is a quick and healthy dinner for any night of the week.

Tools to Help You Plan Your Meals and Meet Your Nutrition Goals: 

Most of us don’t have the time to plan out every meal ahead of time and make sure that our vitamins and nutrients are perfectly balanced. 

That’s why it’s important to have a few tools at the ready to help you meet your nutrition goals!

These apps are vegan-friendly and simple to use. 

MyFitnessPal: 

If you’re going to install one app on your phone to help build and track diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits—

Let it be this one. 

MyFitnessPal has thousands of different food’s nutrition information logged to make tracking your nutritional goals easy. 

You can easily input your food intake and exercise on MyFitnessPal— 

And it will analyze the data and help you meet your goals. 

Here are the three different ways MyFitnessPal presents your nutrition data: 

  • Calorie counting: If you want to set weight management goals, MyFitnessPal makes tracking calories easy. 
  • Macronutrient data: MyFitnessPal presents your macronutrient intake in a pie-chart so that you can aim to have the correct ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fat every day. 
  • Nutrient, vitamin, and mineral charts: Did you get enough vitamin C today? Calcium? Iron? MyFitnessPal will calculate what nutrients were in the food you ate to help guide you towards making healthy decisions. 

MyFitnessPal even has recipes and workout suggestions to help you lead a healthy lifestyle. 

There is a premium version available—

But if you want to save money, 

you can rest assured knowing that the free app has all the bells and whistles that you’ll need. 

The Daily Dozen

This app is the vegan community’s best-kept secret! 

When it comes to vegan nutrition— 

There is no better app to help you target all of the food groups you need each day. 

The Daily Dozen App is based on the research completed by Dr. Michael Greger’s book, How Not to Die.

With the help of this app— 

You don’t need to read 500 pages of medical studies to learn what foods are best for you.

All you have to do is put a little check mark next to the food groups that you ate that day. 

Aim to hit them all! 

Here are a few of the categories you should aim to eat every day: 

  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Leafy greens
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains

And more. 

If you’re not into analyzing data or tracking your calories, this is the perfect app for you. 

The best part? 

It’s free!

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Chickpeas and Tahini Dressing from Jasmine of Sweet Simple Vegan

21 Vegan Meals: Create These Healthy Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less

Learning how to make 5-7 quick dinner ideas is going to transform your life. 

Instead of fretting about “what’s for dinner?” and feeling exhausted just at the idea of prepping the food—

You’ll be able to just hop in the kitchen and get started. 

All of these meals can be made in 30 minutes or less, 

prep included! 

If you have a demanding job, kids, or both…

Quick and easy dinner recipes are going to save your sanity. 

Salads

  1. This Panzanella salad by Veganosity can be made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. It uses stale bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning to create an easy and fresh dinner. 
  2. Packed with veggies and topped with grilled chickpeas and tahini dressing, this salad by Sweet Simple Vegan will become your next go-to meal. 
  3. Cabbage, bell pepper, and quinoa make this crunchy Thai salad by The Simple Veganista tough to beat. 
  4. Ready in just 10 minutes, this high-protein edamame mango salad recipe by Running on Real Food is sure to satisfy you. 
  5. Our Salty Kitchen has created a salad recipe packed with invigorating foods like strawberry, cucumber, basil, and mint. 

Pasta

  1. Wholesome Crumbs has the perfect solution for getting in all of your omega-3s— a creamy vegan walnut pasta recipe
  2. Cajun pasta by Contentedness Cooking is the best dinner you’ve ever heard of. Bonus? It can be made in just 15 minutes. 
  3. For a romantic evening, check out this date night alfredo pasta by Feasting at Home. 
  4. This lentil bolognese recipe by Counts of the Nether World is savory and hearty. 

Soups, Stews, and Chilis

  1. For a dish that feels gourmet but can be whipped up in under 30 minutes, check out this vegan coconut chickpea curry soup recipe by Wholesome Crumbs. 
  2. Looking for something quick and cozy for dinner? This vegan mushroom soup recipe by Keeping the Peas is the perfect simple dinner solution. 
  3. Kimchi and tofu make this quick ramen recipe by Choosing Chia packed with essential nutrients. 
  4. Simple and delicious, this chili recipe by Eat Plant-Based has only 3 main ingredients. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Miscellaneous Recipes 

  1. Do you just want to veg out on the couch after a long day? These potato bean quesadillas by Sweet Simple Vegan are the perfect healthy comfort food. 
  2. Inexpensive and packed with protein and healthy fat, these buffalo chickpea tacos by The Simple Veganista are too tasty to be true. 
  3. In the mood for a fancy dinner that’s still low-effort? Take this vegan skillet ratatouille pasta recipe by Carve Your Craving for a spin. 
  4. Stir-fries are always a good idea. This broccoli and mushroom recipe by Skinny Ms. uses low-sodium soy sauce for that unmistakable umami flavor. 
  5. Looking for a light snack, lunch, or dinner? This vegan sushi roll recipe by Key to My Lime should do the trick. 
  6. This vegan tofu fried rice by My Plantiful Cooking can be made in just 15 minutes.
  7. For a meal that’s ultra-satisfying, look no further than this Philly cheesesteak recipe by Wow Its Veggie.  
  8. Running to the Kitchen has the best quick recipe for black bean Italian meatballs

Easy Creamy Vegan Walnut Pasta from Ali of Wholesome Crumbs

Vegan Meals in a Flash: Recipes that Take Under 30 Minutes to Make

Now you have all of the tools you need to make healthy, inexpensive, delicious meals— 

In less than 30 minutes. 

Becoming familiar with the different nutrients you need to include in your diet every day is essential in creating balanced meals that will make you look and feel great. 

Remember…

Meals that are made in under 30 minutes don’t have to be packed with preservatives or expensive—

They can be tasty, nutritious, and cost-effective. 

Are you interested in learning more about vegan nutrition? 

Check out our article all about low-carb vegan meals

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