Here’s a blueprint of what we eat. You can basically take this list and choose from the different breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and post-workout drinks according to your tastes and cooking skill and create a menu for yourself. W e eat according to this blueprint except for two healthy meals out plus one cheat meal every week. In general, Derek recommends that his clients follow a 90/10 rule: eat perfectly 90% of the time and indulge 10% or less of the time. See the bottom for an example of a cheat meal for us.

Some of the example meals below are linked to recipes I’ve posted. Others can be found by searching online, or you can ask me to post if you like. This is a bare outline intended to give an idea of how to eat: feel free to browse the recipe categories to find many more specific dishes! I’ll always be adding more.

Post-Workout Drinks

  • Vega or other vegan multi-source protein + water
  • Protein/fruit/soy or rice milk smoothie
  • Just soy milk, if you’d like to go minimally processed

 

Breakfast

To add calories:

  • Cook grains with soy milk
  • Add nuts or fresh fruit

To minimize calories:

  • Cook grains with water
  • Don’t add toppings, especially dried fruit or nuts

Side:

Steamed Vegetables (broccoli, kale, chard, beet greens, spinach, carrots). Sounds weird, but make it a habit and you’ll easily add more veggies to your daily menu.

Main Dishes:

Easy

  • oatmeal (NOT instant pre-packaged)
  • oat bran
  • steel cut oats
  • oat groats
  • yellow corn grits

 

Fancier

  • sweet brown rice (cooked as per directions, then add extra water and  cook on med-low additional 10 minutes, stirring)
  • omelets
  • tofu scramble
  • tempeh scramble

 

Indulgent (1 day a week max!)

See Vegan Brunch for some awesome recipes here

  • Whole wheat or multi-grain pancakes
  • Vegan French toast
  • Whole grain muffins

 

Lunch

To add calories:

  • Have additional quinoa, brown rice, or sweet potato
  • Add a protein shake or Derek’s whole food gainer

To minimize calories:

  • Have no or less grains, soup, for example
  • Eat a big salad first!

Side:

Salad. Usually with baby spinach (high protein, remember from Part I?) and romaine or loose leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, sliced beets. Have with champagne vinegar or a light organic dressing.

Main Dishes:

Easy (ideal to prepare in bulk for work lunches)

  • rinsed can of black beans + quinoa or brown rice sprinkled with chili powder
  • rinsed can chickpeas + brown rice sprinkled with curry or garam masala powder
  • leftover soup from the night before plus cooked brown rice or quinoa to add heartiness if there’s no grains already in it
  • mujadara
  • tofu, napa cabbage, and brown rice stir fry

 

Fancier

 

Dinner

To add calories:

  • Have additional whole grains
  • Add hearty soup (lentil, chickpea, lima bean, etc)

To minimize calories:

  • Have grains less often with dinner, especially pasta
  • Eat a big salad first!
  • Add a vegetable soup

Sides:

Salad. Usually with baby spinach (high protein, remember from Part I?) and romaine or loose leaf lettuce, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, sliced beets. Have with champagne vinegar or a light organic dressing.

Soup (optional, but it’s an easy way to make your meal more filling and nutrient dense as well as produce leftovers for lunch the next day). See the link for a few examples.

LARGE helping of simply prepared vegetables. For example:

  • 2 zucchini, sliced into half moons and sauteed with some lemon pepper seasoning (cooking spray or water – no oil)
  • 1/2 lb asparagus cooked as above
  • 1/2 bunch of  broccoli, steamed
  • 1/2 lb green beans, steamed
  • 1/2 green beans, simmered with a can of no salt added diced tomatoes, onion, and garlic
  • 1/2 bunch of swiss chard or kale, steamed

 

Main Dishes:

Easy

 

Fancier

More recipes can be found in the main dish recipe index!

 

Snacks

To add calories:

To minimize calories:

  • Choose fruits and vegetables over calorie dense whole grains and nut butters
  • Avoid processed foods like protein bars – they have lots of fat and sugar

Whole Foods

  • apples (fiber makes them filling)
  • almonds
  • grapefruit (very filling and low glycemic)
  • oatmeal or steel cut oats
  • sprouted or hemp bagels with raw nut butter
  • Ezekial bread or English muffins with raw nut butter
  • sprouted/hemp bagel or Ezekial bread with hummus

 

Processed to be high in protein, use sparingly

  • multi-source vegan protein,Vega is ideal
  • protein bars, Derek uses PureFit

 

Cheat Meal

For us a cheat meal usually includes (each) half a whole wheat vegan cheese pizza with roasted cauliflower, (sometimes) a small vegan cupcake, half a whole wheat pita sandwich with hummus and arugula, and half a Cobb salad with a rich dressing and vegan bleu cheese from one of our two favorite restaurants: Fresca on Addison. As cheats go, it’s fairly tame – it’s not a package of Oreos or anything fried.

Note on bulking/bodybuilding diets: Simply choose foods listed under the “To add calories” notes above and add them in as snacks throughout the day. Eat a lot of them if you have trouble gaining weight or if you exercise a lot…some snacks in that case might be a cup of oatmeal or one whole food gainer shake (which has about 750 calories), for example.

Stay tuned for Part III which will include a sample meal plan, some tips on eating out, and more!