Plant-Based Basics: Potatoes

The third installment of the Plant-Based Basics series. This series is designed for those who are new to a plant-based diet but I think this installment will be particularly helpful to everyone. 

I can’t tell you how often people ask me if they can eat potatoes. Even more often I hear, “I can’t eat white potatoes they are so bad for you.” Once a lady emailed me admitting she hadn’t eaten a potato in 15 years. In her attempts to lose weight she had avoided carbs and starchy vegetables but was now embracing a plant-based diet.

Plant Based Basics Potatoes

What do the Plant-Based Experts Say?

I’ll admit that the potato issue isn’t completely cut and dry. There is some disagreement among the plant-based experts. Some doctors like Dr. McDougall practically encourage unlimited potatoes while Dr. Fuhrman and other recommend limiting white potatoes if you are overweight or diabetic.

For most experts it depends on the individuals unique medical situation.

Why you Should Eat Potatoes

1. Potatoes are full of important nutrients like potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and more.

2. Potatoes are fat-free, cholesterol-free, sodium-free and low in sugar.

3. Potatoes are high in fiber and most people don’t get enough fiber.

4. Potatoes are inexpensive and have a long shelf life is stored properly.

Types of Potatoes & Ways to Enjoy Them

There are over 100 varieties of potatoes. I most often eat Russet, White, Red, Sweet Potatoes, and Yams but choices vary by region.

I believe the biggest problem with potatoes is the way we choose to eat them. Most potatoes are fried in oil, served as chips, or topped with added fats in the form of oil or dairy.

Potatoes can easily be baked or roasted in the oven and taste just as good when “baked” in the Crock Pot. Some people prefer to steam or boil potatoes as well.

My Favorite Potato Recipes

I’ll often grab a leftover baked potato as a snack or a quick breakfast. I have lots of potato recipes but some of my favorite meals are happy accidents with leftover potatoes and whatever else is on hand.

plant based basics potatoes

Pictured above you’ll find Taco Potatoes, Dirty Mashed Potatoes, Lentil and Potato Stew and Breakfast Tacos/Burritos.

More favorites (pictured below) include Sweet Potato CasseroleLentil Shepherd’s Pie, Light & Fluffy Mashed Potatoes and Bean & Potato Burritos.

plant based basics potatoes

My most popular potato recipe is my Slow Cooker Potato Soup. It’s really easy to make and absolutely delicious. See my Recipe Page for more recipes featuring potatoes.

Don’t miss the previous installments of the Plant-Based Basics Series.

The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide

 

Meal Plan Monday: Fully Stocked

Quinoa-Lentil Tacos

This week my refrigerator and pantry are fully stocked. Even better, I have a variety or beans and grains already cooked and very little processed junk in the house. This makes meal planning easy, I could make any of our favorites fairly easily. The truth is, I like the challenge of making delicious meals when we only a few things left. When we are running low on our go-to ingredients my husband will want to go to the store to replace them but sometimes I try to wait it out just a little longer. Some of the best recipes are created out of scarcity, rather than plenty.

Breakfast Quinoa

Meal Plan

Breakfast this week will rely on potatoes. I have 5 large baked potatoes in the refrigerator. Breakfast Tacos or Burritos and Gluten-free Savory Breakfast Muffins both rely on potatoes and taste great as leftovers. We may have oatmeal or Breakfast Quinoa with fresh strawberries as well.

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Lunch will be a variety of Bean and Grain Bowls. Black Beans & Quinoa or Pinto Beans & Rice topped with salsa or a combination of fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers and avocado. Baked Potatoes topped with beans & greens and a little nutritional yeast can really hit the spot. All of these easy combinations that can be packed up and reheated at lunch time. Fully loaded salads, like this BBQ Chickpea Salad, are another good option if you have the time, it always takes me a long time to eat salads. When I put it in a wrap I can eat it much quicker. Sandwiches are also a quick and easy standby.

Snacks can be as simple as a hand full of walnuts and apple slices or slightly more time consuming like a yogurt (non-dairy) parfait. We also like green smoothies occasionally for snack. I am most satisfied by apples dipped in peanut butter, it gives me a jolt of energy, tastes great, and is quick and easy. I use almond butter for my youngest who has a peanut allergy.

Broccoli and Brown Rice Casserole

Dinner is still a little up in the air this week. We have a dinner/celebration we are attending on Friday and I have the privilege of helping with a small part of it. There will be a few people attending with allergies or other food restrictions and I’m providing some of the food. I’m so excited! I’m still waiting on the final count.

On the home front, my husband has requested Broccoli and Brown Rice Casserole; this is an easy recipe and a family favorite (and we always have leftovers). To take advantage of this perfect grilling weather I’m thinking about Portobello Steaks (using this Mushroom Marinade), Dirty Mashed Potatoes, and green beans. Taco salad or burritos using Quinoa-Lentil Taco “Meat” along with fresh salsa, beans and avocado is one of my favorite combinations. I may even use fresh cilantro from my garden. The leftovers can be stuffed into peppers and baked or grilled. Lastly, I may make a pot of soup or chili before it is too hot; they all look so good I’m having a hard time deciding.  I usually make soup toward the end of the week when I want to use up random veggies and clear our the fridge.

I don’t normally write about dessert but this girl is in need of some chocolate. I also have a few dessert type recipes I’m experimenting with. I’ll share any progress on Facebook.

What are you eating this week? Are your supplies fully stocked? Any My Plant-Based Family recipes?

Meal Plan Monday: Good Intentions

Dried Beans

Like many of you I have good intentions to eat well. My intentions don’t always result in the best outcome though. I’ll get busy, or frustrated, or overwhelmed, or lazy and default to quick and easy instead of balanced and nutritious. You know what I’m talking about right? Please tell me I’m not alone in this. Some days seem hectic from start to finish. I’ve looked back over the course of a day to realize I’d eaten toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and cereal for dinner; yes, that is the kind of day I’m talking about.

I’ve discovered I feel best when I eat certain things foods. Beans, whole grains (like rice or oats), fruit, lightly steamed veggies, potatoes, salads, nut butters and let us not forget my daily cup of coffee. Sometimes I’ll try to abandon these foods in favor of “healthier” options; I usually fail to prepare and end up eating toast or cereal. Boo!

Those food that I love and feel great eating are the food I primarily ate when I first transitioned to a plant-based diet. I eat other foods too and try to have enough variety that I get all the nutrients I need.

This weeks meal plan will be pretty basic, believe it or not I have another busy week so I want to keep things simple. Healthy Cravings is this week and it looks to be a very FULL meeting! I’m looking forward to meeting several new ladies who are coming!

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Meal Plan

Breakfast this week will be oatmeal most days. I did buy a box of gluten-free waffles to feed my boys an a particularly busy day. We enjoy baked sweet potatoes with a dash of cinnamon as well.

Lunch is usually leftovers and I wont be getting fancy this week. I sometimes cook pasta for my boys for lunch. We don’t eat much pasta as a family but I don’t mind them having it once a week or so. If you feed your kids (or yourself) pasta more often I’m not trying to condemn you; I just feel like it isn’t the most nutrient filled choice and we have to buy gluten-free pasta which gets expensive if we eat it too often. My new trick is giving my kids salad or just greens to snack on while I’m making their lunch, yes they eat salad. I will definitely be eating our fair share of almond butter sandwiches this week.

Snack will be fruit and smoothies. I’m already doing enough extra cooking this week for Healthy Cravings so I won’t be cooking snacks.

Dinner will be an assortment of many of the foods I mentioned earlier. Beans, baked potatoes, steam veggies, and grains. I think this Mexican Casserole will be a great choice because it uses brown rice and beans, plus it will serve us for two days worth of dinners. Broccoli & Cheese Baked Potatoes using the Faux Cheese Sauce will be a crowd pleaser too. We will probably have a big salad at least one night. Over the weekend we visited a U-Pick organic farm and brought home some greens, my kids got to do some of the picking. As previously mentioned Healthy Cravings is on Thursday so I’ll be serving Breakfast Tacos, Blueberry Muffins, Savory Breakfast Muffins, and an Oatmeal Bar to name a few.

A few fun things that are happening include:

What has been going on in your life worth celebrating? Go ahead, share with the class!

Meal Plan Monday: When Time is Short

French Bread Pizza

We have a lot of things scheduled this week and I may be adding a few more. Our busyness is nothing compared to the craziness we experienced when our big kids were younger and lived with us, especially once we added a baby to the mix. They were all very active in sports and played on three different teams that each practiced twice a week, of course none of the practice locations were near each other or our house. We survived that season of life, you may be there now. I know we will return to it in a few years.

Our little boys love sports. Sometimes I start thinking how much fun it would be to start them playing. I day-dream for a moment them I’m taken back to the craziness of it all and decide to wait, at least a little bit longer.

Your kids may not be busy with sports but there are still plenty of lessons, groups, friends, birthday parties, and let us not forget those projects that are usually forgotten until the night before. That doesn’t include the things parents have going on, work, meetings, ministry, housework, cooking, yard work, and projects that are usually forgotten until the night before. Does any of this sound familiar?

In honor of all of those crazy schedules out there this meal plan will focus on mostly easy and quick meals. If you have to pull through a drive thru for bean burritos I wont judge; and if you happen to get a soda it will be our secret.

Meal Plan

Breakfast will be simple, as it should be, cold cereal, nut butter toast, or oatmeal. Have you tried making oatmeal overnight in the crock pot? The enticing smell may make waking up a little easier in the morning.

Lunch is usually leftovers for my husband and I, my boys like some leftovers but they still get excited over sandwiches, they are little weirdies. You can always take sandwiches to a new level; layer your favorite veggies between two pieces of bread and use humus or avocado for the spread. You still get your veggie but enjoy the portability of a sandwich. Likewise a make a wrap and cover in plastic wrap to keep it all together. When I’m short on time (pretty much everyday) I can eat a sandwich or wrap much quicker than a salad. If you need more volume/calories to keep you fueled add a baked potato or cup of beans as a side. I like eating a baked potato with beans or even leftover soup poured on top.

Snack is simple too, you can’t get much simpler than apples, oranges, or bananas. If your kids are younger you may need to peel or cut them up but it can be done ahead of time. My 2 year old loves raw veggies especially with hummus as a dip. His favorite veggie right now is bell pepper. You may think your kids would never eat raw veggies, so did I, but if it is offered regularly you’d be surprised. If your kids will need some extra fuel before heading to practice give them a nut butter sandwich (or a half) or an apple with nut butter. Granola bars can be a quick snack while on the go too, I keep some in the car at all times.

Dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, a prep day is helpful but not always available. We had many nights of the kids eating sack dinners on the way to church or other ball games. Don’t stress, ok maybe that isn’t possible, how about just do the best you can. Here are a few suggestions that may work for you.

  • Cook a big pot of beans and a big pot of rice or use canned beans and cooked packaged rice for easy Bean & Grain Bowls adding veggies to customize each meal.
  • Slow Cooker Potato Soup is extremely easy and oh so good. Make a double (or triple) batch.
  • Burritos or Nachos using Unfried Beans if you have the time but if you don’t use canned vegetarian refried beans.
  • Try bagel or french loaf pizzas and let the kids customize their portion. While they are heating up in the oven serve a garden salad or raw veggies with hummus. If everyone is at the table they will probably nibble on the veggies.

These options may cost a little more if you use canned or other convince products. I keep them stocked in my pantry but try to use them as a last resort. When you have time cooking beans and grains and freezing them can be a big time and money saver down the road. I cooked a big pot of beans today. I hope to make bean burritos for the freezer.

Are you in a busy season of life? Do you have any tips to share or favorite meals that work well on a busy night?

September’s Healthy Cravings Meal Plan

On Monday’s I typically post my meal plan for the week but I’m not going to do that this week. I have no idea what we are eating this week other that leftovers that are in my fridge. I’m not worried though we wont starve. If you feel lost without my Meal Plan you can read previous meal plans to help you get through the week. 🙂

You may remember this summer I hosted my first Food Demo. It was a success but has now morphed into a new group called Healthy Cravings. Our first meeting is this Thursday so I thought it would be fun to share the menu ahead of time. In these meetings I hope to introduce a plant-based diet and encourage ladies toward healthier living even if they are not yet ready to take the plant-based plunge.

For this first meeting the focus will be to Eat More Veggies! Each month I’ll have a different focus and a seasonally appropriate menu. October will be soups and chili, and November will be Thanksgiving. It is still really hot (I know I mention that every day) so I don’t want to heat the house up before everyone comes over.

Healthy Cravings Menu

Salads

  • Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
  • Kale Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing
  • Garden Salad with a variety of dressings
  • Creamy Basil Pasta Salad

Comfort Corner

  • Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole
  • “Cheesy” Broccoli Baked Potato Bake
  • Lentil Ragu and Pasta

Desserts

  • Granola Bars
  • Fruit and Granola Parfait
  • I’m still deciding on some other desserts

So what do you think? I’m so excited! I’m also very thankful that my friend Steffi is bringing the Creamy Basil Pasta Salad and the Lentil Ragu. Isn’t that awesome! I have 18 people RSVP’d so far and a grocery list a mile long.