VEGETARIAN JOURNAL

Vegetarian Journal 2003 Issue 1

Quick and Easy
      Low-Cost Vegan Menus

By Reed Mangels, PhD, RD


Quick Links to article contents:
Low-Cost and Easy-to-Prepare Menus for Men and Women, ages 19-50 (Introduction)
Day 1 Menu
Day 2 Menu
Day 3 Menu
Day 4 Menu
Low-Cost and Easy-to-Prepare Menus for Men and Women Over the Age of 50 (Introduction)
Day 1 Menu
Day 2 Menu
Day 3 Menu
Contact Information for the Companies Listed on these Meal Plans

Many of us would like to spend less time cooking. If you know what to buy and have some quick-to-prepare ideas, you can have "convenience food" on a budget. We've developed menus using a combination of easy-to-fix meals that are quick, inexpensive, and healthful.

The first set of menus was devised to meet the needs of those aged 19-50 years. The menus for women have around 2,200 calories per day, while the men's menus are around 2,500 calories. If you are very active, you will need more calories. You have several choices; you can eat more of the foods already on the menus, or you can add your favorite foods. Conversely, if you are not very active or wish to lose excess weight, you will need fewer calories. In that case, we recommend cutting out some of the "extras," like margarine, chips, desserts, and vegan mayonnaise.

The menus were planned to meet the average person's needs for most nutrients over a week-long period. Although these menus provide generous amounts of iron, women may require additional iron in the form of a supplement.

We used specific brand names of foods but have included information on other foods that can be substituted if you don't care for a particular item.

We were curious about how costly these menus would be. The average cost for one day's food for a man was a bit over $6 using conventional fruits and vegetables and around $8 using all organic products. The average cost for one day's food for a woman was around $5.50 using conventional fruits and vegetables and almost $7.50 using all organic products. Pricing was done in the winter in New England, so costs may vary depending on the season and your location. If you want to reduce food costs even more, you can buy products when they are on sale; see if your supermarket will offer case discounts for items you use often, like soymilk. Also, consider buying store brands instead of name brands, use coupons, and choose fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Note: In all the menus Soy Dream Enriched soymilk can be replaced with Silk soymilk or any other calcium-fortified soymilk that provides at least 25% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin D and 20% of the DV for vitamin B12 in an 8-ounce serving.

Day One Menu Alternatives:
Cheerios can be replaced with any vegan fortified cereal;
however, women should choose one providing 20% of the
DV (Daily Value) for iron or more per cup.

Day Two Menu Alternatives:
Wheat Chex can be replaced with any vegan fortified cereal;
however, women need to choose a cereal providing at least 20% of the DV
for iron or more per cup.
Fantastic Foods Big Bowl of Noodles and Hot and Sour Soup
can be replaced with any soup/entrée cup providing 250-300 calories/cup;
however, women should choose any soup/entrée cup providing at least 8%
of the DV for iron per serving, such as Health Valley Pasta Italiano Soup
or Health Valley Lentil with Couscous Soup.
Morningstar Farms Harvest Burger can be replaced with
any vegan burger; however, women should choose a burger providing at
least 15% of the DV for iron, such as 2 Whole Foods Vegan Burgers.

Day Three Menu Alternatives:
Naysoya Nayonaise can be replaced with any vegan
spread providing 25-50 calories, or it can be omitted.
Fantastic Foods Country Lentil Soup can be replaced
with any soup cup providing 200-300 calories, such as
Fantastic Foods Cha-Cha Chili, Black Bean Soup, Split
Pea Soup, Couscous with Lentils Soup, or Five Beans
Soup; or Health Valley Black Beans Soup or Chili;
however, women should choose a soup with at least 30%
of the DV for iron.
Garden of Eatin' whole wheat tortilla can be replaced
with any tortilla providing 125-150 calories; however, women
should choose a brand providing 6% of the DV for iron.

Day Four Menu Alternatives:
Garden of Eatin' whole wheat tortilla can be replaced
with any tortilla providing 125-150 calories; however,
women should choose a brand providing at least 6% of
the DV for iron.

Low-Cost and Easy-to-Prepare Menus
for Men and Women Over the Age of 50

The following menus were devised to meet the needs of men and women aged 51 years and older. The menus for women have around 1,900 calories per day, while the men's menus are around 2,300 calories. If you are very active, you will need more calories. You have several choices; you can eat more of the foods already on the menus, or you can add your favorite foods. Conversely, if you are not very active, you will need fewer calories. In that case, we recommend cutting out some of the "extras," like margarine, chips, desserts, and vegan mayonnaise.

The menus were planned to meet the average person's needs for most nutrients over a week-long period. We recommend a vitamin D supplement (5 micrograms for people aged 51-70 years, 10 micrograms for those over age 70) if your sunlight exposure is limited.

We used specific brand names of foods but have included information on other foods that can be substituted if you don't care for a particular item.

We were curious about how costly these menus would be. The average cost for one day's food for a man was a bit over $5.50 using conventional fruits and vegetables and around $7.70 using all organic products. The average cost for one day's food for a woman was around $5.00 using conventional fruits and vegetables and almost $6.40 using all organic products. Pricing was done in the winter in New England, so costs may vary depending on the season and your location. If you want to reduce food costs even more, you can buy products when they are on sale; see if your supermarket will offer case discounts for items you use often, like soymilk. Also, consider buying store brands instead of name brands, use coupons, and choose fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Note: Not all products will be available in all areas. Possible alternatives for some products are listed. In all the menus, Soy Dream Enriched soymilk can be replaced with Silk soymilk or any other calcium-fortified soymilk that provides at least 25% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin D and 20% of the DV for vitamin B12 in an 8-ounce serving.

Day One Menu Alternatives:
Yves the Good Dogs can be replaced with any veggie
dogs providing 150-175 calories and 26 or more grams of
protein, such as 3 Yves Veggie Dogs or 2 Lightlife Jumbos.

Day Two Menu Alternatives:
Wheat Chex can be replaced with any vegan
fortified cereal.
Garden of Eatin' whole wheat tortilla can be replaced
with any tortilla providing 125-150 calories.
Men, Whole Soy fruited yogurt can be replaced with
any vegan yogurt providing 120-170 calories and 4 or
more grams of protein per serving, such as White Wave
Silk Cultured Soy.

Day Three Menu Alternatives:
Yves Veggie Bologna Slices can be replaced with any
deli slice providing 50-100 calories and 12 or more grams
of protein per serving, such as as Lightlife's Smart Deli
Bologna Style (4 slices), Yves Veggie Salami Slices
(4 slices), or Vegi-Deli Chicken Style slices (1 ounce).
Men, Naysoya Nayonaise can be replaced with any
vegan spread providing 25-50 calories, or it can be omitted.

Contact Information for the Companies Listed on these Meal Plans

You can get more information about the products in the menus by contacting the companies below.

Boca (veggie burgers); www.bocaburger.com

Fantastic Foods (soup cups, cereal cups); www.fantasticfoods.com

Garden of Eatin' (tortillas); (800) 333-5244; www.gardenofeatin.com

Gardenburger (veggie burger); www.gardenburger.com

General Mills (Cheerios, Wheat Chex); www.generalmills.com

Health Valley (soup cups); (800) 334-3204; www.healthvalley.com

Imagine Foods (Soy Dream, pudding cups, pocket sandwiches, frozen dessert); (800) 333-6339; www.imaginefoods.com

Lightlife (veggie burger, veggie deli slices); (800) 274-6001; (Tofurky deli slices); www.lightlife.com

Morningstar Farms (Harvest Burger); www.morningstarfarms.com

Nasoya (baked tofu, Nayonaise); (800) 229-8638; www.nasoya.com

Red Star (Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast); (800) 558-7279; www.redstaryeast.com

Turtle Island Foods (800) 508-8100; www.tofurky.com Vegi-Deli, (deli slices); (888) 473-3667; www.vegideli.com

White Wave (baked tofu, Silk soymilk and yogurt); (800) 488-9283; www.whitewave.com

Whole Foods (veggie burgers, frozen desserts); www.wholefoodsmarket.com

Whole Soy (yogurt); www.wholesoycom.com

Yves (breakfast "meats," veggie dogs, veggie deli slices); (800) 667-9837; www.yvesveggie.com



Excerpts from the 2003 Issue 1:
What is an Organic Inspector?
Erin Crandell fills us in.
Carrot Cookery
Liven up your meals with this versatile veggie using recipes from Chef Nancy Berkoff.
Note from the Coordinators
Scientific Update
Vegetarian Action
Thinking of the Children: Project Healthy Beginnings, by Jeff Morrison.


The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.



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