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Please help with meal ideas for 12 hour school day

Hi everyone!
I'm transitioning to becoming vegan and I'm new to Vega products as well. I'm starting classes at uni again next Monday. I will be there for about 12 hours a day and need help planning what types of foods to bring. I will be getting up around 330am-4am to get in my morning workouts, shower, walk the dogs, eat breakfast, and get ready for school to be there by 630am. Then I won't be home again until about 630pm. I'm thinking of starting the morning with Vega Sport Optimizer before the workout, then maybe Whole Food Optimizer for breakfast, then after that I have no idea. I want to be sure to have enough healthy meal/snacks so I don't succumb to cafeteria junk or vending machines. And since I'm new to being vegan, the temptation is still quite high! I'm female, 5'3, in my thirties (yup! I'm an "older" student) and trying to lose about 30lbs too, if that helps with what types of food to bring. I appreciate any suggestions you might have.

Thanks in advance!

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Welcome Keko
Congratulations on making healthier decisions in your life. This is certainly the right place for support. I've found that many of the other members are very positive, supportive and generous with their knowledge.

Having a plan will certainly help remove any unproductive stress from your life, and work towards achieving
your goals. You will find that as you transition and fill up on more nutritionally dense foods, your cravings for junk food will lesson and eventually become a thing of the past.

Can I suggest starting off with a few simple recipes and build from there? I pack large salads for my mid day meal. They travel well and the combinations are endless. Nuts and seeds are great mid day snacks. A slow cooker could have your end of day meal ready for you. There are great recipes on this site - many of them can be made on the weekend for the coming week.

Keep us posted on how you make out.
Thanks for the warm welcome and positive support, Kelleigh!

I plan on bringing salads, cut-up fruits, and veggies. My past ventures into veganism have failed because I always end up feeling starved even though I'm filling up on tons of veggies and fruits. So I'm worried that I'll run into the same problem again. I'm planning on bringing some nuts and seeds too, but don't want to eat too much of those due to the fat content since I'm trying to lose weight. I've also recently found out that I'm gluten intolerant, so that presents another limitation. Whoo! I thought late night cramming sessions were going to be my biggest stress but sounds like meal planning may be just as challenging!

Have you tried the Shake & Go? I'm wondering if that fills you up enough for a meal.

I love your idea about using the slow cooker. If you have any favorite recipes for salads or slow cooker or anything else, I'd appreciate any recommendations. In the meantime, I'm off to search the recipe archive :)

Thanks again!

Kelleigh said:
Welcome Keko
Congratulations on making healthier decisions in your life. This is certainly the right place for support. I've found that many of the other members are very positive, supportive and generous with their knowledge.

Having a plan will certainly help remove any unproductive stress from your life, and work towards achieving
your goals. You will find that as you transition and fill up on more nutritionally dense foods, your cravings for junk food will lesson and eventually become a thing of the past.

Can I suggest starting off with a few simple recipes and build from there? I pack large salads for my mid day meal. They travel well and the combinations are endless. Nuts and seeds are great mid day snacks. A slow cooker could have your end of day meal ready for you. There are great recipes on this site - many of them can be made on the weekend for the coming week.

Keep us posted on how you make out.
Great suggestions, Kelleigh!
Keko, you might want to check out the Vega whole food bars and the Vega vibrancy bars. I always make sure I take a bar with me wherever I go so I don't have to buy something unhealthy when hunger hits.
In addition to the fruits, veggies, and nuts, I would also suggest having some foods with different mouthfeels (crunchy, chewy, soft, etc.).
You mentioned being gluten intolerant. Are you able to handle spelt? Some people who are gluten intolerant find they can handle spelt. If you can, Dr. Kracker's spelt crackers are a good crunchy (high fiber) item to have with your midday salad.
I think one of the biggest things is to know what you're having for dinner before you get home. If you've made a few things ahead of time, then you've got some options.
Oh, and you might try putting some chia seeds in your water (about a tablespoon per liter). This will add omega 3s and fiber, and can help big time in feeling full.
Good luck!
hey girl - you might want to look into the myth that fat makes you fat. eating dietary fat from healthy sources like nuts and seeds will only HELP your weight loss, as long as your don't pig out on them. they will give you that satisfaction that veggies lack, and why people give up on veganism. especially in your transition, you'll be used to "heavier" foods and will need that fat for satiety.

good luck and congrats on your new healthier life!
-rebekah
Rebekah Nelson said:
hey girl - you might want to look into the myth that fat makes you fat. eating dietary fat from healthy sources like nuts and seeds will only HELP your weight loss, as long as your don't pig out on them. they will give you that satisfaction that veggies lack, and why people give up on veganism. especially in your transition, you'll be used to "heavier" foods and will need that fat >
Kelleigh said:
Rebekah Nelson said:
hey girl - you might want to look into the myth that fat makes you fat. eating dietary fat from healthy sources like nuts and seeds will only HELP your weight loss, as long as your don't pig out on them. they will give you that satisfaction that veggies lack, and why people give up on veganism. especially in your transition, you'll be used to "heavier" foods and will need that fat for satiety.


Rebekah is right and is offering sage advise. If you focus more on healthy eating habits (that includes healthy fats, protein and fibre) you will find that the weight will eventually come off as a side effect. Keep us posted on what is working for you. Remember you are in transition, so give yourself permission to change at a pace that works for you and your busy schedule, success will follow.


Thanks Rebekah and Kelleigh! You know, you've made a very good point and thank you so much for reminding me. I guess since I've put on so much weight this past year, and it has been so hard to lose, I've got it set in my mind that fat isn't good. Good fats are essential... it's that other crap that's bad! I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself and have been a bit OCD about it, so thanks Kelleigh for reminding me to be patient with the transition. I appreciate this great advice. Thanks ladies!

Kelleigh said:
Kelleigh said:
Rebekah Nelson said:
hey girl - you might want to look into the myth that fat makes you fat. eating dietary fat from healthy sources like nuts and seeds will only HELP your weight loss, as long as your don't pig out on them. they will give you that satisfaction that veggies lack, and why people give up on veganism. especially in your transition, you'll be used to "heavier" foods and will need that fat for satiety.


Rebekah is right and is offering sage advise. If you focus more on healthy eating habits (that includes healthy fats, protein and fibre) you will find that the weight will eventually come off as a side effect. Keep us posted on what is working for you. Remember you are in transition, so give yourself permission to change at a pace that works for you and your busy schedule, success will follow.


Thank you, Ann! The support here has been amazing and it has been so helpful. I'm so grateful for the warm welcome and encouraging insight.

I've just looked at my class schedule and it looks like I have no breaks in between classes! Yikes! I'm worried about how to handle my meals now. This means, I won't get to stop at my car to grab food like I was planning to, and I won't be lugging around a cooler since my backpack will already be heavy with books. I have ten minutes between classes, but I'll be running from one class to the next across campus. I'm thinking I will need to keep a few snack bags full of trail mix, fruit, and cut veggies. I'm worried that this will not keep me satisfied and my energy will drop. Then I might not be able to focus on my studies.

I think I am going to have to depend on those Vega bars you suggest. Do you have a favorite flavor?

I'm newly diagnosed, so I'm still learning about gluten alternatives. I've never tried spelt before. I'll look for those the next time I'm at the store.

LOVE your idea about the chia. I usually just put those in some smoothies, but I think I'll make a little chia fresca in my water bottle. Mmmmm!

So now that I can't bring actual meals, could anyone suggest filling snacks that I can eat while running in between classes? I guess they'll have to be finger foods since I'm not coordinated enough to run and stuff a fork in my mouth at the same time :) I need foods that will keep my energy balanced because I do have low blood sugar issues too and if I get spacey, I won't be able to focus in class.

Also, would love any dinner ideas/recipes. I have a feeling I will be STARVED by the time I get home in the evening and I know when I'm like that I'll start looking for the cookies. Transitioning into veganism while re-starting college as an older student is feeling like a daunting task. Thank you all for being so supportive and I love all your suggestions!

Ann Richter said:
Great suggestions, Kelleigh!
Keko, you might want to check out the Vega whole food bars and the Vega vibrancy bars. I always make sure I take a bar with me wherever I go so I don't have to buy something unhealthy when hunger hits. In addition to the fruits, veggies, and nuts, I would also suggest having some foods with different mouthfeels (crunchy, chewy, soft, etc.). You mentioned being gluten intolerant. Are you able to handle spelt? Some people who are gluten intolerant find they can handle spelt. If you can, Dr. Kracker's spelt crackers are a good crunchy (high fiber) item to have with your midday salad.
I think one of the biggest things is to know what you're having for dinner before you get home. If you've made a few things ahead of time, then you've got some options.
Oh, and you might try putting some chia seeds in your water (about a tablespoon per liter). This will add omega 3s and fiber, and can help big time in feeling full.
Good luck!
it's so scary to just trust our bodies when we're uncomfortable with them, but you have nothing to be ashamed of. you are doing something amazing - taking responsibility for your own health!

i've been on a rollercoaster with my weight my entire life, and it took until i finally just LET GO and was happy with WHO i am instead of WHAT i look like for me to be at a healthy weight. please shoot me an email or check out w if i can help you in any way!

you are worth it beautiful!
-rebekah
oh and p.s. - spelt is WHEAT free, but NOT GLUTEN free! just be forewarned! not safe for celiacs!
Hey, ladies (and others)!
You've just gotta love Vega Community, the support is AWESOME!

I too have been on a process of getting to my optimal body weight, optimal body shape, optimal body fitness level, and optimal body-fat percentage, and I'm doing it in partnership with my body.

I had come to the conclusion--right before finding Thrive, but after finding Vega WFHO, that if I just gave my body what it needed to "thrive" in terms of macro and micro nutrients and love and water and exercise that the weight would take care of itself. And really that has been exactly what has been happening. Yea! I haven't counted calories or carbs or fat grams at all.

I think in the West we by and large have an unnatural way of thinking about our bodies. Namely that our bodies are our property and we should get them to bend and bow to our will, regardless of whether that is incredible feats of strength, endurance, or pain tolerance, or getting our bodies to be an ideal shape or form or forcing our bodies to be the slave of what tastes good. The result can be that we feel we lack will power and self-discipline when our bodies don't "obey" us.
Now contrast that view to a different one where we think about our bodies as an equal part of our beings, as much "us" as our minds/emotions/thoughts/spirits/souls.
Even those of us who treat "our" bodies better are susceptible to thinking about them as somehow separate from our "real" or "true" self, something we carry around with us like a backpack.

I'll paraphrase something Rebekah has told me before--and I hope I do it justice--our bodies are wise and have a wisdom of their own, if we but listen.

I believe that when we accept that our bodies in their entirety (not just our taste buds, eh, ;)) are to be respected and loved and nurtured as the part of us they are--as opposed to thinking of them as our property--that we can then enter into a true partnership with them, er, with that part of ourselves expressing as our physical bodies, and doing this allows us to move closer to thriving on all levels.

Okay, I've waxed philosophic enough tonight. Now onto the questions.

A chia water fresca sounds great. The Italians make a chia lemonade which is very refreshing. I make it myself on hot days, putting the chia and some lemon or lime juice and stevia together. Yum! Oh and BTW I've found this very helpful in stabilizing blood-sugar levels.

As far as the Vega bars go, I don't have a favorite among the Vega whole food energy bars and vibrancy bars. I've liked all the ones I've tried. But I will mix it up sometimes with an Amazing Grass bar, which are very delicious with or without the chocolate, and some of the Kind bars and some of the Lara bars.

Oh, Rebekah, I also had thought that spelt was NOT wheat until just last week, but it turns out it actually is wheat--an ancient variety of wheat that dates WAAAAYYY back and hasn't been futzed with. It has a (significantly?) lower gluten content than what we think of as traditional wheat, but does still contain gluten.

It's my understanding that the sprouted wheat breads are also much lower in gluten. I've found I can tolerate the sprouted breads (like Ezekiel bread) just fine; I just try not to have too much of it. What's nice is that since you purchase it frozen, you can just defrost a couple of slices by popping them in the toaster on low. IF those don't upset your system, then you might could fit in a sandwich one or two days a week.

As to quick meals, besides salads, two of the meals I like to have the ingredients on hand for are (1) avocado and alfalfa sprout tacos made with Rudi's Bakery organic spelt tortillas, and (2) guacamole on baked corn tortillas (tostada or chalupa shells), which I top with sprouts. Uh, yes, San Antonio & Mexican food, it's a love affair.

You can do it, Keko! We're all pulling for you!




Rebekah Nelson said:
oh and p.s. - spelt is WHEAT free, but NOT GLUTEN free! just be forewarned! not safe for celiacs!
interesting about the spelt! i always thought it was a "cousin" to wheat... but as long of people know it's not GF that's all that matters! :)

ps - GREAT reply. love your philosophy on our bodies... i dig.

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