When I heard in the news that there may be a meat shortage in our food supply, I knew that I could help make this situation easier with healthy menu planning for vegetarian meals. So I have created a plant-based eating series called Meatless May where I will be sharing recipes from my family’s kitchen that are easy and delicious while being meat free!
The numbers of people who are choosing to eat plant-based have been growing and there are a number of benefits to eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. You can find out more down below about How to Get Started on a Plant-Based Diet.
No matter what your journey looks like, I hope this month of support, ideas and resources is helpful for you! Whether your meatless journey is temporary until the meat supply is plentiful once again or you begin eating more meatless meals with only occasional ones with meat on the menu or if you jump in the meat-free scene or you may already be there and just want to maintain and get some new ideas, I am here to help!
Easy Healthy Menu Planning Vegetarian for Meals
Whether you have been wanting to begin a plant-based lifestyle or you are thrown into eating less meat because it is unavailable temporarily, I am happy to share survival tools for you. So everyday, I will be sharing recipe, menu and product ideas on social media with a summary of some of these posts as a Meatless May Challenge on the Vine Ripe Nutrition blog.
It is my hope if you are a meat-eater that you will continue with a few of these plant-based menu ideas every week for Meatless Monday or that you even find that you enjoy them as much or more as some of your old “meaty favorites”!
Meatless May Calendar of Events
Every day this month there will be something new about plant-based eating and easy vegetarian recipes. We can talk about some foods that you can substitute for meat in some of your favorite recipes or just ideas how to stretch it out to last if you have just a small amount available.
And if you have been wanting to try more healthy menu planning for plant-based meals, this is a great time to challenge yourself to finally do it!
Here Are Some Plant-Based Eating Ideas that We Will Cover:
- A Vegetarian Cinco De Mio Celebration on May 5
- A Plant-based Mother’s Day Brunch
- Weekly Meatless Monday Celebrations
- Plant-based shopping list, menus and recipe ideas
- Vegetarian Barbecue for Summer Celebrations
- Plant-based protein ideas and much more!
Let’s Get Started on your Meatless Meal Journey!
Meatless May Week One
Here are the things that we will be talking about this week for Meatless May:
- May 1st: Happy May Day & Food Groups to Focus On in a Plant-Based Diet
- May 2nd: Vegetarian Mexican Dishes for Cinco de Mayo (May 5th)
- May 3rd: Sustainable Agriculture Food Choices: Let’s talk about Victory Gardens and supporting local farms.
- May 4th: How to plan a Plant-Based Mother’s Day Brunch Menu (May 10)
- May 5th: Vegetarian Protein Sources: Beans and Nuts with Recipes
- May 5th: Vegetarian Protein Sources: Whole Grains
- May 6th: Vegetarian Protein Sources: Soy and Non-Soy Meat Substitutions
How to Get Started with Healthy Menu Planning for Vegetarian Meals
May Day (May 1st)
Let’s begin your journey learning more about a plant-based eating. So our first topic for me to share with you is the food groups that play a critical role in a meatless diet. Here are the power players:
- Legumes (Beans, Peas & Lentils) /Meat Substitutes
- Healthy Fats
You can find more about what they provide for our health and much more from a recent blog post that I put together https://vineripenutrition.com/create-a-plant-based-diet-you-actually-love/
The picture of the bowl above shows a variety of vegetables, legumes, nuts and fruit (technically avocado which also has lots of healthy fats also).
If you read more from my blog post Create a Plant-Based Diet That You Actually Love. You will learn more about vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and flexitarian. So there are many people who eat a plant-based diet that will also include:
And I would love to hear from you! What questions do you have about moving the focus of your meals more toward plants and while eating less or no meat? Feel free to ask questions in comments or on social media!
Vegetarian Mexican Dishes for Cinco de Mayo
Even though, this celebration begins on May 5, I wanted to share this menu idea now so you can begin gathering them. However, feel free to be flexible and switch up ingredients depending on what you have at home. This is just for inspiration. You can also contact me for ideas if you have other ingredients on hand. For instance, at our grocery store, the avocadoes were not worth purchasing and I just wasn’t in the mood to get pre-made guacamole.
The great thing about Mexican food is that it is based mostly on beans, grains, fruits and vegetables. When it includes meat, it uses it sparingly and can easily be replaced with more plant-based ingredients.
Meatless Cinco de Mayo Menu
Check out this mouthwatering celebration with recipes below.
Orange Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad
Grilled Cauliflower & Poblano Quesadillas
Vegetarian Tacos (See lots of options below in under Low Fodmap Vegetarian Taco Ideas
Festive Wild Blueberry Sangria
Sustainable Agriculture Food Choices
May 3: Let’s talk about Victory Gardens and supporting local farms.
Many things that are going on with our food availability is a breakdown of our supply chain and our over-reliance on big factory farms. Nurturing our local food supply chains not only helps small businesses but it also keeps our communities local food supplies healthy. Here are a few ways how to do it and I have to share that this topic is one that is near and dear to my heart!
Grow Your Own Food
I have been intrigued for many years about Victory Gardens which were gardens grown during World War II as a way for people to get the nutrition they need and also right around World War I known as Depression Gardens. Having a garden can help save money and also help supplement what you find at the grocery store.
My husband has grown a garden every year since we have been married after we graduated from college. This year we are growing lettuce, all sorts of greens, radishes, beets, sugar snap peas and carrots and in the next week or so after the last frost, we are planting tomatoes, eggplant, a big variety of peppers, okra, green beans and cucumbers.
If you don’t have a yard and still want to grow a few things, here is a great post on container gardens.https://brownthumbmama.com/5-best-container-vegetables/
Supporting Local Farmers
We also signed up for a weekly Community Supported Agriculture produce box with Ten Mile Farm http://www.tenmilefarm-nc.com/TenMileFarm/Ten_Mile_Farm.html. Between growing our own food and supplementing it with a weekly box from a local farmer, we not only have the freshest and tastiest produce that you can get but lots of veggies to make our plant based meals.
If you are interested in connecting with a local farmer to pick up a weekly produce box, check out https://www.localharvest.org/csa/
Heirloom Seed Companies
Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated and often come with their own set of unique characteristics and story. They often have been passed down year after year. I love growing these because they preserve our plant genetic diversity and are more flavorful and often more nutritious.
I am sharing two heirloom seed companies that I love. One where I live now and one where I grew up!
Sow True Seed : Asheville, NC
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: Mansfield, MO
How to plan a Plant-Based Mother’s Day Brunch Menu
May 4: Start thinking about your plant-based celebration for mom on May 10th.
Here is a sample menu idea and some recipes:
May 4th: How to plan a Plant-Based Mother’s Day Brunch Menu (May 10)
May 4th: How to plan a Plant-Based Mother’s Day Brunch Menu (May 10)
Vegetarian Mother’s Day Brunch
- Blueberry Pancakes (Gluten-free recipe available)
- Asparagus Benedict
- Tempeh Pecan Sausage
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Lavender Blueberry Lemonade
Other Tasty Brunch Menu Options
- Colorful Tempeh Breakfast Scramble
- Wild Blueberry Huevos Rancheros
- Strawberry Mint Lime Fizz
- Lavender Peach Melba Mini Cheesecakes
Plant-Based Protein Options for Vegetarian Meals
To kick off the beginning on next week, we will be talking about foods rich in protein that are plant-based.
May 5: We will be featuring legumes and nuts.
May 6: Let’s discuss the benefits whole grains
May 7: It will be time to talk about the controversial topic of soy foods.
I will also be sharing more topics coming up for Meatless May also. Thank you so much for taking time to learn more about all the fun ways that you can eat more plant-based foods in your diet.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I love helping people just like you eat foods that keep healthy and feel your best. In addition to Meatless May, I have created a plant-based program to help dive further to help with healthy menu planning for vegetarian meals and additional plant-based eating options. You can find out more about this https://vineripenutrition.com/a-fresh-approach-to-plant-based-eating/ I look forward to sharing ideas all month long too!