Something a lot of people ask me is if I have to spend all day cooking food from scratch because of being vegan. I really enjoy cooking, and because I’m home with the kids I have the opportunity to cook homemade food when I can find time, but I really don’t think it’s necessary to spend any more time cooking than non-vegans, even when you have kids. We don’t eat all homemade food for every meal in our house. I don’t have the time or energy for that.
There are vegan convenience foods available, some of them are things than many non-vegans eat too. Some are expensive but many of them aren’t. And they’re not necessarily unhealthy either. Sometimes people think that vegans need to eat all homemade food to get all their nutrients, but I don’t think that we do more than anyone else. And vegan convenience foods usually aren’t any less healthy than non-vegan convenience foods (and may even be healthier in some cases). It’s not like vegans need to plan out every meal carefully, or that non-vegans can just eat whatever they like and stay healthy without thinking about it.
A lot of vegan meals are very similar to what non-vegans might eat too. We eat “normal” food, really! Vegan “chicken” nuggets and chips or a lentil spaghetti bolognese wouldn’t take any longer to cook than the non-vegan version.
Some examples of easy meals that my family eat are, wholegrain toast with peanut butter or houmous, wholegrain breakfast cereals with plant milks, fruit, smoothies, sandwiches, wraps, baked beans on toast, wholegrain pasta with a jar of tomato sauce and tinned lentils, quick chickpea curries made with a jar of sauce and tinned chickpeas, potato waffles, veggie sausages, veggie burgers, chips. Many of these are healthy enough meals, and sure things like potato waffles are not that nutritious, but they’re no different to what many non-vegan families eat.
And the meals that I do cook from scratch generally take no longer than 20-30 minutes to cook. I love cooking but don’t have the time or patience to spend hours cooking a meal. Vegetables cook quickly and I use tinned beans most of the time, so it can be easy to cook something very quickly. For most of our meals, I just make something up, using whatever ingredients we have, as quickly as possible.
For people who are new to being vegan, it might seem like a lot of hard work, but I think you soon get used to it and realise that it’s just as easy to make vegan meals.