1. Chao Slices – Can’t live without cheese? Then don’t. Field Roast really hit this one out of the park. The Coconut Herb flavor is smooth and mild with sea salt, black pepper, and oregano. It’s delicious melted or eaten straight out of the package on your drive home from the store (my preferred method). The Original version is just as smooth and mild, and the flavor reminds me of American cheese. The Tomato Cayenne is the bad boy of the group… Spicy and bold, this would be awesome on black bean burgers, nachos, you name it!
2. Potatoes – any kind will do. Bake them, mash them, make fries or chips… They’re a great way to fill up and not break the bank. One of my favs is to make oven fries. Cut up your little spuds into wedges or strips, toss them with a little water, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and sea salt, then bake away at high heat (around 400 degrees F) until crispy and golden brown. There’s no need for butter or oil, but feel free to add some if you’d like! Here’s a batch that I made. Yum!
3. Avocados – healthy and delicious, these babies add healthy fat, flavor, and substance to a meal. Make a simple guacamole for burritos, slice them up to throw in a sandwich, make a fresh dip or dressing, or just mash it on to some toast and add some salt and red pepper flakes. The options are endless. Here’s a super simple avo dip , made with salt, pepper, garlic powder, red onion, and lemon juice, paired with sweet potato fries.
4. Bananas – even if you’re not absolutely obsessed with them, get some anyway. You can make thick delicious smoothies and nice cream. Just add other fruits, vegan dark chocolate, or nut butters if you don’t love the taste of bananas alone. With potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C, they’re an exceptionally healthy (and cheap) food choice. Here’s some simple nice cream made of blended frozen bananas and strawberries.
5. Brown Rice – borrrrring. Yeah, rice can get a little boring but it’s a great base to a meal. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, and it’s nutty flavor is fabulous in soups, tacos, burritos, salads, or just a side dish. Again, it’s another cheap and nutritious option.
6. Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders – Don’t know what you want to eat? Start with these then work backwards. Make a chik’n parm, panini, pair with Mac n’ Cheese, pasta, or rice. Use your imagination! Gardein has a ton of meat substitutes, so try them out! Here’s one I made with some cheeze and BBQ sauce.
7. Carrots – packed with disease fighting phytochemicals, carrots should make an appearance several times during the week. It’s better if you eat them raw… In a salad or with hummus, etc, but they also create a hearty base in soups, and produce a surprisingly sweet juice (pair it with green apple juice!)
8. Beans – Super cheap and simple, beans give you plenty of fiber and energy for just pennies. Use them in soups, burritos, tacos, nachos, salads, and side dishes. You can make your own bean burgers or hummus. Black bean brownies are AMAZING, and there’s really no limit to what you can make! Here’s some good old rice and beans.
9. Fruits and Veggies- I know, I know… Obvious. Not just any fruits and veggies though. When people go vegan, they think they have to eat strange things that they don’t like… Don’t like kale? Cool. Don’t buy it. Love blueberries? Buy a truckload. Don’t try to force yourself to eat things that you don’t like. It’ll just take the joy and fun out of eating. Try to get in some different colors (apples, sweet potatoes, spinach) if you can. It’s true, you’re tastebuds will change (maybe in the future you’ll shove kale down your throat all day long), but don’t eat things just because you think it’s the “vegan” thing to do. If you don’t like the taste of fruits or veggies on their own, make smoothies or fresh, plant based dips and dressings to help!
10. A multivitamin – Whether you’re vegan or not, a good quality multi, made from whole fruits and veggies, will help you stay energized, focused and strong.
Well, I hope this gave you some ideas! What’s on your must-have list?