Organizing Your Weekly Plant-Based Meal Plan

Good afternoon friends!

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a food related post here 😱 I’ve been a little caught up in the busyness of school, work, and deciding if I should run the Chicago Marathon or not over the last few weeks. The good news is, I decided to still run the race despite a few weeks of less than ideal training! Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know this!😜 You can’t run you first marathon if you don’t start the race!😉

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During these busy days of marathon training, school, and beyond, it is so important to eat healthy and often. When I get busy or stressed, I tend to under eat, which is the opposite of a lot of people and not ideal for running some serious miles.😩 What has been key for me overcoming this over the last few weeks is planning my meals (especially lunch) ahead of time. It also helps to have most amazing husband, who makes me cashew butter and jam sandwiches on especially busy mornings to bring to school. I’m lucky, what can I say?!😍

Anyway, imagine my excitement when Meghan Harris of White Rabbit Garage Storage, reached out to me to write a guest post here about meal planning. I thought that it was perfect timing, as I am personally working on being better about meal planning!

So, without first ado, here is the first ever guest post on Black Bean Queen! 🙂

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Eating a plant-based diet is not only healthier for you but also makes you feel better and have more energy throughout the day. However, organizing and creating a meal plan to follow can be tedious and daunting. Without a solid plan in place, it is easy to fall back into old habits and to slip up more often than you’d like. Below are 3 tips to help you organize your weekly meal plan and a sample plant-based meal plan for you to try.

Look Through Your Pantry

Go through your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to get a solid idea of what foods you have to cook with already. Starting with foods you have previously purchased allows you to not only save money, but also time when shopping. You’ll also waste less food.

Going through your pantry will give you a sense for what foods you typically eat and help you remember which ones you didn’t like when you tried them. You will also be able to free up more space and organize the shelves, so you can look through your food storage easier in the future. If you have any food that you don’t like, and it hasn’t yet expired, donate it to your local food pantry.

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Find a Place to Keep Recipes

If you prefer written recipes you will want to find a place in your kitchen that won’t get ruined by spilled oil and is easily within reach. Consider finding recipe organizers at Target or on Amazon.

If you prefer online recipes keep a file on your computer or phone to organize different websites, you have found with recipes. You can use a word doc, detailed Pinterest board, or Google files to do so. Make sure this is accessible from several devices in case one is misplaced or broken.

Choose Meals with Familiar Ingredients

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 Meal planning will help you feel less stressed during the week, so you can avoid spending money on unnecessary food purchases. However, if you are shopping for items you primarily are unfamiliar with you won’t use them either.

If you shop for black beans often, you know when they are a good deal and when you should use a different kind of bean. If you use quinoa often, you know exactly how long to cook it for before it becomes soggy. As you become more comfortable with meal planning, add in 1 or 2 new ingredients each week.

As you work on your weekly meal plan, remember that it’s okay to be flexible and that some meals may go awry. You can always pick yourself up and try again the next day!

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BONUS: Here is a simple work week meal plan for you to try!

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Basic Tofu Stir Fry Cauliflower Fried Rice
Tuesday Vegan Waffles with Blueberry Sauce Creamy One Pot Pasta Pasta Bean Casserole
Wednesday Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal Squacos Greek Goddess Bowl
Thursday Apple Buckwheat Pancakes with Coconut Caramel Apples Tomato and White Bean Salad

 

Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Bowls
Friday Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Hummus Pizza with Veggies

This post was written by Meghan Harris at White Rabbit Garage Storage. She enjoys hiking, playing card games, and spending time with her family.

What other tips do you have to organize your weekly meal plan?

 

Simple Sunday #3: Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Hello friends! I know it’s waaaaaaaay past breakfast/brunch, but I wanted to share a tasty recipe I made this morning anyway.  You won’t believe it’s vegan!! Yes, I know it’s already past five o’clock…That’s what happens when it’s Daylight’s Savings and you lose an hour… You’ll want to make it tomorrow, though. Guaranteed. Or perhaps for dinner tonight. Breakfast for dinner is NOM! Plus this recipe makes enough for leftovers later in the week! 🙂

So I found this recipe where I find many of my ideas…Pinterest. As usual, I was wasting time there a few days ago and I came across a baked oatmeal recipe that seemed easy enough. The recipe had me at chocolate and sold me at peanut butter, so of course I pinned it! 😛 We all know that you actually only make a fraction of the things you pin… BUT, then, this morning my boyfriend suggested we make something new for breakfast. I agreed, but since I was feeling lazy due to “losing” an hour of sleep, I wanted to make something easy and low maintenance.  I knew that this was the morning to try baked oatmeal. My boyfriend and I both loved it. 🙂

Here’s the link to the original recipe that I found on Pinterest : http://laurenkellynutrition.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-baked-oatmeal/. The only changes/modifications I made to the recipe was omitting the mashed banana and salt. So the above website gets all the credit for this amazing recipe, I just wanted to share anyway! : )

As long as you use non-dairy chocolate chips and milk this recipe is vegan! I used Ghirardelli, but as a note only the semi-sweet chips are vegan. The dark chocolate ones are not.

Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional analysis: See below

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Ingredients

2 cups organic oatmeal

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cup organic maple syrup

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (can use semi-sweet or any other kind too)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a glass baking dish.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It may be easier to add the dark chocolate chips last since peanut butter can be tough to stir.

3. Put the mixture into the greased baking dish.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Let the baked oatmeal cool for a few minutes and then cut into 6 slices.

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6. Enjoy the chocolatey peanut butter goodness for breakfast (or anytime of day)!! 🙂 I highly recommend pairing the oatmeal with a large, cold glass of almond milk and/or a cup o’ joe! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Also, here’s the nutritional analysis of the recipe for those interested. I used MyFitnessPal. It’s 321 calories/serving:

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Question of the day: What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? Before today my favorite was just regular oatmeal, made in the microwave, topped with berries and/or peanut butter, but now I think I’m a baked oatmeal fan!

Motivational Monday & What’s for breakfast: Oatmeal edition

Good morning, everyone! This morning I woke up tired, but luckily I am enjoying a delicious cup of coffee as I write this post.

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Thankfully, I have already consumed more than half my cup of coffee, so it counts! Smile with tongue out I’m tired because we had some bad weather here last night and my mom actually woke the whole house up around 2 am due to a tornado warning. We hung out in the basement for a while, but luckily everything was fine and no tornado touched down here. Unfortunately, I did not fall back asleep until after 3 am. I won’t let being a little sleepy get in the way of a good and (hopefully productive) summer day, though.  Here’s some motivation for starting your day off right:

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What’s for Breakfast?! Oatmeal Edition.

Now, let’s chat about one of my favorite meals of the day- breakfast! A healthy and filling breakfast is important to help you wake up, start your day right, and fuel you through the day whether you are at work, school, or somewhere else. A good breakfast will keep you going strong until lunch. I don’t know about you, but a bowl of cold cereal never fills me up and often leaves me hungry an hour or two later. Oatmeal, on the other hand, usually does the trick! You have a lot of options with oatmeal, but please, please stop buying that instant stuff! Not only does the instant stuff have a lot of sugar and sometimes mystery ingredients, it can get expensive over time, especially if you eat two or more packets at once. To make your own, you just need a canister of old fashioned oats and some toppings/ingredients you probably already have around your home. Personally, I almost always have sunflower seeds and raisins on hand so I can add them to my oatmeal for extra iron, a nutrient many of us fall short on, especially women and vegetarians such as myself. Today, I’m here to show you that Oatmeal doesn’t have to be gross or boring. I’m going to share some of my favorite toppings for oatmeal that are yummy, mostly healthy and definitely filling! Smile

For each type of oatmeal I typically start out with 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats (makes 1 cup of oatmeal cooked), but feel free to make more or less depending on your appetite. Cook with milk, almond milk, or soy milk instead of water for added calcium!

I’ll start with the oatmeal I am enjoying this morning, apple cinnamon oatmeal! Smile

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Apple cinnamon oatmeal: Halfway through cooking add one chopped apple to the oatmeal. Continue cooking. Top with cinnamon, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or other nuts. Add honey or a tablespoon of brown sugar for extra sweetness if desired.

Dark chocolate oatmeal: After cooking add one tablespoon of dark chocolate cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate chips. Top with nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, or dried fruit is desired.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Add one chopped banana. Top with cinnamon and a tablespoon of granola or grapenuts, and honey for extra sweetness if desired.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Mix in one tablespoon one dark chocolate chips. Top with raisins or dried fruit if desired.

Peanut butter and berry oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Top with a tablespoon or two of granola for added crunch if desired.

Brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of light brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the cooked oatmeal. Top with raisins, sunflower seeds, or other nuts if desired.

Nutella oatmeal: Okay, okay this is not a very healthy option…BUT it is a good occasional treat! Add one tablespoon of nutella to the cooked oatmeal. Top with dried or fresh fruit if desired.

Nutella and peanut butter oatmeal: Like the previous option this also is not a very healthy choice- high in calories, fat, and sugar, BUT it wouldn’t hurt to eat every once in a while. Everything in moderation, right? Winking smile Add one half-one whole tablespoon each of nutella and natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal.

Have a great day everyone and I hope I inspired some of you to eat oatmeal today. Smile  What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? I’d love more suggestions for oatmeal toppings, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below!

Motivational Monday & What’s for breakfast: Oatmeal edition

Good morning, everyone! This morning I woke up tired, but luckily I am enjoying a delicious cup of coffee as I write this post.

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Thankfully, I have already consumed more than half my cup of coffee, so it counts! Smile with tongue out I’m tired because we had some bad weather here last night and my mom actually woke the whole house up around 2 am due to a tornado warning. We hung out in the basement for a while, but luckily everything was fine and no tornado touched down here. Unfortunately, I did not fall back asleep until after 3 am. I won’t let being a little sleepy get in the way of a good and (hopefully productive) summer day, though.  Here’s some motivation for starting your day off right:

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What’s for Breakfast?! Oatmeal Edition.

Now, let’s chat about one of my favorite meals of the day- breakfast! A healthy and filling breakfast is important to help you wake up, start your day right, and fuel you through the day whether you are at work, school, or somewhere else. A good breakfast will keep you going strong until lunch. I don’t know about you, but a bowl of cold cereal never fills me up and often leaves me hungry an hour or two later. Oatmeal, on the other hand, usually does the trick! You have a lot of options with oatmeal, but please, please stop buying that instant stuff! Not only does the instant stuff have a lot of sugar and sometimes mystery ingredients, it can get expensive over time, especially if you eat two or more packets at once. To make your own, you just need a canister of old fashioned oats and some toppings/ingredients you probably already have around your home. Personally, I almost always have sunflower seeds and raisins on hand so I can add them to my oatmeal for extra iron, a nutrient many of us fall short on, especially women and vegetarians such as myself. Today, I’m here to show you that Oatmeal doesn’t have to be gross or boring. I’m going to share some of my favorite toppings for oatmeal that are yummy, mostly healthy and definitely filling! Smile

For each type of oatmeal I typically start out with 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats (makes 1 cup of oatmeal cooked), but feel free to make more or less depending on your appetite. Cook with milk, almond milk, or soy milk instead of water for added calcium!

I’ll start with the oatmeal I am enjoying this morning, apple cinnamon oatmeal! Smile

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Apple cinnamon oatmeal: Halfway through cooking add one chopped apple to the oatmeal. Continue cooking. Top with cinnamon, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, or other nuts. Add honey or a tablespoon of brown sugar for extra sweetness if desired.

Dark chocolate oatmeal: After cooking add one tablespoon of dark chocolate cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate chips. Top with nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, or dried fruit is desired.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Add one chopped banana. Top with cinnamon and a tablespoon of granola or grapenuts, and honey for extra sweetness if desired.

Peanut butter and dark chocolate oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Mix in one tablespoon of regular or vegan dark chocolate chips. Top with raisins or dried fruit if desired.

Peanut butter and berry oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of natural creamy or crunchy peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal. Top with fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Top with a tablespoon or two of granola for added crunch if desired.

Brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal: Add one tablespoon of light brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to the cooked oatmeal. Top with raisins, sunflower seeds, or other nuts if desired.

Nutella oatmeal: Okay, okay this is not a very healthy option…BUT it is a good occasional treat! Add one tablespoon of nutella to the cooked oatmeal. Top with dried or fresh fruit if desired.

Nutella and peanut butter oatmeal: Like the previous option this also is not a very healthy choice- high in calories, fat, and sugar, BUT it wouldn’t hurt to eat every once in a while. Everything in moderation, right? Winking smile Add one half-one whole tablespoon each of nutella and natural peanut butter to the cooked oatmeal.

Have a great day everyone and I hope I inspired some of you to eat oatmeal today. Smile  What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? I’d love more suggestions for oatmeal toppings, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below!

My IT band story & how I stay positive during a running injury

Good morning everyone! As I sit here enjoying a delicious bowl of homemade apple, nut, and dried fruit oatmeal with almond milk I cannot help, but feel a little sad about not being able to run. Right now I am home and we live near a beautiful bike path.  Today started out as a warm, sunny day and I’m sure many people are outside running, walking, or biking. I cannot help, but feel a little jealous of the runners.  At least the apartment I am moving to next week is also located near a beautiful bike path since I will not be able to run on the one here  for a while:/ .

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My IT band syndrome story: 

I ran my first half marathon two weekends ago and around mile ten of the race I felt the familiar tightness and pain on the outside of my right knee. I knew my IT band was hurting, but I made myself finish the race and I just promised myself would stretch really well. I took a week off after the half and used the foam roller and did yoga-I was sure I’d be okay. I decided to go for a short three mile run and was excited when I felt no pain…until mile 2. IT band syndrome has a KNACK for striking in the middle of the run rather than the beginning. I should have known better…This is my third case of IT band syndrome.

I had my first case on my left side during my freshmen year of college right before the track season. For that case I went to a PT, learned some rehabilitation exercises, and spent most of the season in the pool swimming and aqua jogging. I took me until the summer to fully heal and I kept up with the rehabilitation exercises during the summer which is probably the best choice I could have made. I did not really think twice about IT band syndrome again until I got another case on my right side in the middle of my junior year indoor track season. To heal, I spent a lot of time cross training and performing those rehabilitation exercises I learned my freshmen year. That was a little over a year ago and now I have yet another case. In all cases, I probably increased my mileage too fast and did not foam roll or stretch enough, but for the last two cases I know that my main mistake was not keeping up with my rehabilitation exercises. I clearly have tight hips and glutes and it appears that my right side of my body is somewhat weaker than my left, so if I kept up with the exercises that would have helped strengthen my right side and I may have not gotten hurt yet again. Well, at least I have experience with IT band syndrome so I know what I need to do to get better this time around.

The top 4 ways I stay positive during a running injury:

1. Be proactive. This could mean something different for you, but for myself this means that I should do my rehabilitation exercises year round-at least once a week when I’m not hurt and more often when I am. The exercises I perform are different TheraBand exercises such as side shuffle and a few other body weight exercises such one legged bridges. The routine I do only takes 10-15 minutes, but I still dread it. This also means lots of foam rolling, stretching, and yoga. My favorite yoga moves for IT band relief are pigeon pose and runner’s lunge.

2. Find an alternate form of exercise. When a runner can’t run they tend to get antsy and I’m no different. The way you exercise will depend on your injury. For IT band syndrome, I find that the first week or so I have to stick to swimming or aqua jogging, but as I start to heal I find that the elliptical and bike do not aggravate my IT band. You may even discover you like other workouts besides running Smile with tongue out (what a shocker, right?). Last summer when I was hurt I learned that I actually kind of like yoga (it’s not just runner torture!).

3. Try something new. During an injury is a perfect time to try something new or go on a fun trip because you can afford a few days off from exercising. You may also find that without running and training you have extra time so this would be a great time to try a new hobby! For myself, I decided to try something new and start this blog!

4. Read running magazines, books, or blogs during your injury. While this can make you a little sad or jealous I find that overall for myself reading about other runners pumps me up for my return back to running! Who knows, you may even stumble upon a story of a runner suffering from the same injury you are and you can see what that did to get better or stay positive.

I hope I can continue to stay positive during this injury and if any of you have an injury that is keeping you from running or performing your favorite workout, I feel your pain! Sad smile

Well, today is looking like a somewhat lazy Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to some time to read for fun. Smile I recently finished Orange is the New Black on Netflix with my boyfriend, so I decided to start the book that inspired the series! Have a great Sunday everyone!

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