Vegan eats in Tel Aviv | Restaurant review and tips

Together with VibeIsrael, i was invited on their vegan food tour (Gifted trip)

I was contacted a few months ago and at first i didn’t know how to respond… i must admit, i even thought it was just another spam mail. But with a little research i realized that Vibe is infact an established organization that has held many different tours.

I can say, i was honored to be asked to join… even if it was uncertain whether i could travel or not because of my studies. However, i can say now that the trip is over i am so glad that i decided to go, because it was an experience for sure.

If you want to see some of the food we ate and what we did, you can watch my 3 videos, PART 1, PART 2, PART 3 showing you the first 3 days of our trip ๐Ÿ™‚

So, i am sure many of you have heard about Tel Aviv being a sort of vegan Haven? One of the top cities to visit if you are a vegan foodie. Not just aesthetically pleasing food, but delicious food. Because it is in the Middle East, Israel has food from many different cultures as well as having lots of fresh fruit and vegetables which often make it the center of the meal. Which i love!

I may be all for vegan soy burgers and fake meats, but there is something incredible about being able to make amazing dishes out of vegetables, spices and “natural/unprocessed foods”. Of course, natural doesn’t have to be better and it is fine with processed foods, but being able to make vegetables taste delicious and make meat eaters enjoy and like eating vegetables is definitely a talent. And we need more of that in our everyday lives.

So i can say, i am excited to bring back all the new food experiences and different meals i have tried. Maybe have vegetables be more in focus in my meals… but of course focusing on Swedish vegetables.

But, in this post i want to focus on some of the vegan restaurants we ate at. I am sure there are many more amazing vegan places to eat at, but these are the ones we went to.

There will be a mix of my own photos as well as photos from a proffessional food photographer, Amir Menahem, who you should check out and follow on his Instagram.

Bana:

A really cosy vibe and atmosphere. A place where you can go to eat and just sit there for hours, ordering in dishes to share among friends. We went during the evening, around 8pm so it was dark outside but still warm enough to sit outside. This restaurant gave me tapas vibes, i.e you order in a bunch of different meals which you share and try together with friends or family.

The food at Bana was my first taste of Israeli food and i can say i was not disappointed, however we got so many dishes served to us and we were so caught up in talking and eating that i didn’t always register what it was that we were being served.

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The menu changes based on what fruits and vegetables are in season, so the dishes i ate might not be there when you go to visit. But there was a sweet potato dish that was amazing, as well as an eggplant and tahini dish. Not to mention the desserts that were incredible, my favourite being the waffle with apples/pears and caramel sauce.

Vegetables are in focus at Bana, however i don’t think you have to be a vegetable lover to appreciate the food. However if you are a hardcore meatlover who wants that smokey taste and texture, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. But it is an amazing place to get inspiration for different vegetable based dishes.

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You can see some of the meals we ate at Bana in THIS VIDEO.

Opa:

Opa is a rather newly opened (when writing this) restaurant which is focused on vegan fine dining. Meaning high class, gourmet meals that use ingredients and ways of cooking, preparing and styling food you may not have seen or heard about before.

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Photo: Amir Menahem
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Photo: Amir Menahem
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Photo: Amir Menahem

Gourmet and fine dining isn’t really my thing if i am honest. I keep my meals simple and don’t like to overcomplicate food and cooking, so this was definitely an experience for me, and a good one at that!

We got about 8-10 different dishes which two people shared. The vegetable was in focus, just like at Bana, and i think the menu changes depedning on the season and what vegetables are in season as well.

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Amir Menahem

There were so many new and different flavours and tastes, and you can definitely tell that it was not the same as home cooked comfort food. If you are into fine dining or just want to try fine dining experience then i recommend going to Opa. It is of course more expensive than a regular restaurant, but it is worth the experience and if you are in Tel Aviv, why not! It is also great for a date night or maybe celebrating an anniversary!

The chocolate dessert was BEYOND AMAZING. So if it is on the menu, then you definitely have to get it

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Photo: Amir Menahem

You can see some of the dishes are my experience in THIS video!

416:

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Photo: Amir Menahem

416 was one of my favourite places to eat while in Tel Aviv. It had very LA vibes…. loud music, lots of plants, friendly staff and vegan remakes of fast food.. but better than fast food. I.e not the greasy burgers and fries or pizza you get at maybe McDonalds or burger king, but the restaurant type of burgers and pizza which taste so much better.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

This is definitely the type of place you would go with friends, maybe before going out dancing. Or if you are celebrating a birthday or just want some good, filling vegan food. it would work great to bring your partner if they are sceptical to vegan food but willing to try as 416 offers vegan fake meat and remakes of different meatbased dishes.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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I.e vegan ceaser salad, vegan sliders, vegan steak, vegan calamari, vegan filled pasta and of course THE DESSERTS. I highly recommend you leave space for dessert, and maybe order in more than one dessert.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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Not to mention, they have a vegan cocktail bar meaning… all the drinks are vegan. Which is always a plus because then you don’t need to wonder or ask if the wine is vegan!

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Photo: Amir Menahem

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You can see a video from our dinner at 416, HERE.

If you like fake meats or vegan “fast food” i.e not necessarily just vegetables and plantbased, then i do recommend making time to go to 416.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Price wise… i can’t really say. But it is in the middle/high class. and in general, Tel Aviv is rather expensive so i would recommend you save up before travelling there so that you can fully enjoy yourself and enjoy the food there – it is well worth the money ๐Ÿ™‚

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Photo: Amir Menahem
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Photo: Amir Menahem

Citizen garden (brunch)

The last place we ate at was citizen garden, which is a brunch/lunch place and the first thing i have to say is that it is VERY INSTRAGRAM FRIENDLY. Of course, i am sure many don’t care about this…the important thing is that the food tastes good – which it definitely did! But it has amazing lighting, there is a cosy outside “garden” which you can sit in and of course the food both tastes and looks amazing… so yes, you will be wanting to take photos.

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It is the type of place you go to have brunch with friends, weekend breakfast with your partner (or solo!), go there to eat lunch, drink coffee and work for several hours… or even the place you go after a night out, feeling kind of hungover and just want a detox juice and salad… and some avocado toast (which was the case for myself and the rest of the group. A detox juice and plenty of coffee was definitely necessary!).

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I really enjoyed the food at Citizen garden and it is the type of food i make and eat even at home. Different bowls, toasts, drinks and cold dishes. You will want to order a little bit of everything, but i have to say that the bowls/salads are very large almost worth sharing.

So it could be a good idea to get a bowl and toast to share between two people, then you get to try more than one thing.

Price wise… well, it is worth the price for the food you get. It tasted very fresh and of course very nutritious. Not to mention lovely staff and atmosphere!

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Hummus HaCarmel in carmel market

Carmel market is the market in Tel Aviv, and there is plenty to see there. Lots of people, lots of stalls, lots to see and try… almost a little overwhelming. I do also recommend that you try to stay clear from the slaughter/meat/fish part of the market if you are vegan… it wasn’t the most pleasant to walk past that part.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

I did try some things from the market such as bread and sauce, some different sweet desserts and an ethiopian coffee. But the place i wanted to recommend was Hummus HaCarmel. I had never heard of this place, but apparently it is rather well known/a tourist place… which i noticed when we got there. There was a line waiting to eat and we had to wait about 15-20 minutes until we got to sit down and order, but it was worth the wait.

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Basically it is a hummus place. So they have different hummus with salad and you also get pita bread. it is basically a small “in the wall” resturants but it has quite alot of places to sit outside and you do get a place to sit, so it is not just to walk in and sit down.

The vibe is very fast paced… people walking by, people waiting, it is not a place you go to sit for a long time and just talk, instead you go there with a mission to eat your hummus and pita bread and leave rather quickly again. Basically a market place cafe.. it is what you would expect regarding the atmosphere.

But it is worth a visit if you enjoy hummus and are in Carmel market. Also, they do have a sink and antiseptic so you can wash your hands before eating which you will most likely want to do as you eat with your hands!

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Price wise… basically the price of a lunch. More expensive than typical market place food which is often rather cheap (according to me). So even if you just get hummus and pita bread it is rather expensive, but worth it atleast once anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

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Photo: Amir Menahem
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Photo: Amir Menahem

Luna

So, Luna isn’t actually in Tel Aviv, it is in Nazareth (about 2 hours from Tel Aviv) so if you just plan to be in Tel Aviv you may not go here, but if you do have plans to travel around Israel and are in Nazareth, then i do recommend Luna.

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The focus is arabic food. Lots of falafel, tabbouleh, hummus, stuffed cabbage rolls, rice etc

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And the dessert, specifically the Knafeh, was incredible. We were all so full from lunch and our previous eats in the morning that none of us were particularly craving dessert… but one bite in and we all wanted more. So that was definitely a hit!

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Photo: Amir Menahem
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Photo: Amir Menahem

The atmosphere…? Definitely a place you go with your family. It was beside a shopping mall, so i am sure many go shopping and then go for lunch there or vice versa. It is definitely easy to eat a whole bunch at Luna and end up with a food coma deluxa.

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One thing i do have to mention is that the owner, Luna, was so incredibly friendly and you could tell that she was so passionate about the food and wanting us to really enjoy it. And it was like you could tell that the food was cooked with love…. hahaha, how true that is i don’t know. But it was a really nice experience eating there.

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Like Opa and Bana, no fake meats… only wholefoods and vegetables in focus. Lots of different spices, which is very typical in the middle easten cuisine. And of course, it seems like you order a bunch of dishes to share among many (though maybe you can order a dish just for yourself which you do in European restaurants).

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Photo: Amir Menahem

Price wise, unfortunatly i don’t know.

Other tips:

Anastasia

I never visited Anastasia, but apparently it has a great vegan brunch but there is usually a queue (specially on weekends), so you will want to go there in time and be ready to queue until you get a place to sit down.

Other places you can eat:

Order a Sabich (“Hole in the wall” restaurant)

Similar to a fish and chips shop in the U.K, i.e they have a small kitchen/cooking area where they prepare the sabich for you freshly when you order. Takes about 10 minutes to make as they fry the eggplant when you order. Typically Sabich is made with egg, but you can skip that if you want to make it vegan.

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Lots of fresh vegetables, Amazing fried eggplant. Delicious tahini and amba sauce. Definitely a meal you should try… and perfect if you just want a quick lunch before walking around Tel Aviv, or maybe one of those before going out partying meals.

I am not sure the exact address for this “restaurant”, but it was close to Carmel market so i am sure with some googling you may find it. Apparently the locals do want to keep it rather secret as well as they don’t want a bunch of tourists going there and ordering when they just want to eat their lunch!

Note, there are 2-3 benches outside to sit on… but it is one of those meals you most likely eat while stnading up or while on the go unless you bring it with you to sit somewhere else ๐Ÿ™‚

P.s recipe for homemade Sabich HERE

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Betzavta, a Friday night dinner. Basically you eat Friday night dinner at an Israeli host. You contact Betzavta who match you with a host and then the host cooks you dinner and it is a lovely way to talk to people who are locals to share stories and just make connections! It was a lovely experience for me to have the Friday night dinner.

As each host is different and the food they prepare is different, everyone will have a unique experience. So my experience was a positive one, but it can of course vary depending on what host you get.

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Photo: Amir Menahem
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Photo: Amir Menahem

Pop up dinner at TheVeganItalianChef (i.e Nadia):

She hosts pop up dinners at her place where she makes vegan italian food. You can book a place during one of her dinners and she will cook you amazing food. I haven’t done this myself, but Nadia is wonderful and her cooking is amazing (we made brunch together with her), so i would definitely recommend you do this if you want to try different food and different food experiences rather than just restaurants and cafes.

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Photo: Amir Menahem

There you have a list of some places to visit if you want to eat vegan while in Tel Aviv!! If you have any other recommendations, comment down below. Or if you have any questions regarding travelling to Israel or my experience, comment down below or contact me via myInstagram (itsahealthylifestyle)

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Vegan high protein meals |Nutrition advice

As a vegan you don’t have to worry about your protein intake, unless you are maybe 1) undereating, 2) mostly eating starchy foods such as rice and potatoes and very little beans, legumes, nuts or seeds, and 3) if you are a fruitarian or raw food, then it can be harder to get an adequate amount of protein.

And also, if you do want to build muscle then having a higher protein intake is recommended.ย  (Read my post HERE about if you should take protein powder as a vegan)

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If you eat varied and include lots of legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, some plant based milk, maybe some tofu/soya/tempeh, then protein shouldn’t be a problem.

However, if you do want to eat more protein or want some high protein meal ideas… then below are some of my best tips!

If you want some meal ideas for low carb vegan meals, i have a post about there HERE

Or if you want cheap vegan eats, post HERE(snacks) and HERE (Main meals)

Breakfast/snacks

Tofu scramble with beans and potatoes (can either beย  breakfast/snack/ or main meal!) (Recipe HERE)

Soya yoghurt mixed with vegan protein powder, roasted nuts and seeds (or peanut butter) & fruit

Oatmeal with protein powder, nuts/seeds & plant based milk. (Note, you don’t need to use protein powder!)

Smoothie with oats, banana, protein powder(optional), oat milk & nut butter

Chia pudding with oatmilk & almonds/peanuts -> Can add cacao, berries, vanilla etc for flavouring!

Rice cakes with hummus and fried tofu (& adding some paprika or cucumber on top for extra crunch!)

Roasted chickpeas or edmame beans (Recipe HERE)

Chickpea cookie dough (recipe HERE)

Baked beans on toast (optional, with tofu scramble)

(Note, you can also combine the snacks such as a smoothie as well as rice cakes with tofu, or make chia pudding with chickpea cookie dough, etc)

Lunch/Dinner

Quinoa with fried tofu and vegetables

Quinoa salad with sweet potato, corn, edmame beans, chickpeas, sunflower seeds & salad & dressing

Salad with tempeh/tofu/soya meat, roasted chickpeas, seeds, avocado and a dressing based on soya yoghurt

Tacos with soya meat, black beans, avocado, corn and roasted potatoes & salsa, soya yoghurt (either use home made tortilla bread, nachos, or regular store bought tortillas)

Lentil soup with chickpeas, tofu & veggies, served with quinoa or some form of grain. (Add some vegan creme fraiche or soya yoghurt on top!)

Bean pasta with soy meat and tomato sauce and veggies

Stuffed paprika with a mix of seitan, brown rice or quinoa, vegan cheese, black beans, a bit of oat cream & serve with salad

Spring rolls with tempeh/seitan/tofu with vegetables and peanut butter dipping sauce

Home made burgers example black bean burgers, chickpea burgers, or why not use a store bought soya burger. Top with avocado, tomatoes, salad, vegan yoghurt as a base for sauce.

Buddha bowls with a bunch of lentils, beans, quinoa, tofu & salad & maybe some rice or potatoes, is a way to get alot of protein in one meal.

 

Some of the foods with most protein are (in no particular order!):ย 
Seitan (as long as you aren’t gluten intolerant), quinoa, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, green peas, nuts & seeds (particularly chia seeds, pumpkins, almonds & peanuts (even if they’re techincally not a nut), nut butters, tofu/tempeh/soya products, buckwheat, oats, amaranth, plant based milk

Hemp seeds & spirulina have quite alot of protein, however as you only eat such small amounts of these i wouldn’t count them as your protein source.

Most vegetables have a little protein, however they shouldn’t be your first source of protein and instead eating more legumes, grains, nuts, seeds etc

Also note, store bought soya products can often give 18-22g protein per serving in example a burger or serving of fake meat. So that is an easy (but not always cheap) way to get alot of protein in a small portion, because with beans and lentils and grains you often need a higher volume and bigger amount to get the same amount of protein. Example, 100g quinoa will give you 14g protein and chickpeas give 7g protein per 100g (cooked), compared to a soya burger is around 15-20g per 100g (and portion wise is alot smaller in volume).ย 

HOWEVER, i would say just eat the fake meat/store bought products as extra and try eat beans, lentils, grains, nuts primarily as they also have alot more vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, beta-glucans etc than premade soya products.

If you eat alot of beans, grains, lentils, it can lead to alot of bloating, and you can read more about fiber and bloating as sa vegan HERE

Also read more about food comparison HERE (I.E comparing meat with vegan protein sources)

Eating vegan on a budget: Cheap vegan, nutritious meals!

This post has been a long time coming!! I have been meaning to write and share this post for a while but just never gotten around to it…. even if this is one of the simple posts that doesn’t require any sources or reading of articles like some of my other nutritional posts!

I have written a post about eating vegan on a budget (&getting all the vitamins and minerals): HERE

As well as a list of staple vegan foods to have at home.

Eating vegan can be as expensive, time consuming and complicated as you make it to be. Just like any way of eating, it can be easy or complicated or it can be cheap or very expensive.

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If you are eating vegan on a budget then fake meats and cheeses might not be an option and instead focus on in season vegetables, beans and lentils, vegetables and grains will be the base of your diet. It doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless just because you eat vegan on a budget!! And you can of course get all the vitamins and minerals you need (apart from b12 – you will need to take a supplement, just like all vegans), as long as you try to eat as varied as possible within your budget!

Focus on potatoes, dried beans and lentils which you prepare yourself, oats (which you can turn into oat flour and make pie crusts, scones, pancakes, bread etc out of), frozen vegetables are often cheaper than fresh vegetables. Buy in season and on sale fruit and vegetables. Rice and pasta are great alternatives and even white flour which you can make bread, scones, pancakes out of or make your own seitanย (post about what seitan is). Also many smaller asian shops sell tofu for alot cheaper than normal food stores, so i would check that out as tofu is a great source of protein as a vegan. Aquafaba from chickpeas is great to use in recipes, click HERE.

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I have a post with what to do with leftovers (some food tips) & also some vegan food hacks on how to make your own oat milk, vegan butter, cheese etc which might be a good idea if you are eating on a buget and can’t buy the premade vegan alternatives!

In this post i will share just lunch/dinner ideas, and i will make a second post with some snack alternatives! Also note, these are just ideas – you don’t need any exact measurements to make these dishes… it is just inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

The first obvious food tip is lentil soup with vegetables and potatoes & crushed tomatoes. You can vary with seasoning and vegetables – a filling and very nutritious meal.

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Simple tomato soup and roast some chickpeas to have on top for extra crunch. Combine with some homemade bread as well.

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Soak and cook your own chickpeas (tips here) & make hummus (recipe) or falafel or chickpea burgers.

Roasted vegetables – use oil and seasoning and bake in the oven!

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Beans in tomato sauce with rice

Spaghetti with a red lentil “mince” sauce

 

Pasta and make a potato & carrot “cheese” sauce (works best if you can use nutritional yeast and oat cream for optimal creaminess).

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Bean burgers with home made bread & roasted potatoes

Bean mix: Beans, sweet corn, tofu (if you can find some for cheap) and rice (mix together and add some sauce example crushed tomatoes)

Mashed potatoes with peas

Pasta with oat cream and peas – add tofu for extra protein.

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Baked potato with a bean/tofu mix and if you either make your own mayonnaise or have some vegan yoghurt for the mix.

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Chickpea curry with rice – if you find coconut milk cheaply this works great!

Pasta with tomato sauce and beans (& peas for extra protein and taste!)

Tofu scramble (add beans, onion and other vegetables for extra texture and taste) with scones or roast potatoes

Tacos or burritos i.e taco bread/wrap and make a mince using black beans, seasoning and tomato sauce and cook rice and make a burrito or taco.

Chickpea omelette with example a mix of beans or vegetables

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Tomato pie (example, if tomatoes are cheap an in season)

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Kale and onion pie (Kale isn’t always so cheap, but you should be able to sub for example spinach or just skip the kale! Also skip the vegan cheese and walnuts if it is too expensive)

Lentil salad – works best with green lentils, and add black beans, rice, in season roasted vegetables and add some tomatoes and garlic and mix together. Also add some fried tofu if you have it available!

Filled sandwiches. Make a creamy mix of example vegan mayonnaise, tofu, onion, and chickpeas and fill some bread (a baguette!)

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So many ideas, so i might make another post with more recipes/ideas if you would like that ๐Ÿ™‚ Might be a good inspiration. Of course, if you are eating on a budget there is not a whole lot of variation in foods… but you can prepare and season the food differently for some variation! Also i am sure there are different cuisines which have alot of good recipes using lentils, grains, rice, beans as their diets are based on those food!

(Also, can we appreciate how many links/posts i have written the past year of this blog… sometimes i forget how many posts about different topics i have actually written. So searching my blog for certain topics can be a good idea if you are ever stuck, or just commenting so i can write a post about it in the future!)

 

Full day of eating – Vegan

I’ve been requested so many times the past few weeks to share full days of eating on my instagram – and to share more of my meals, which i have been doing on my story on my instagram account – but i don’t share all my meals! There can easily become too much focus on food which i don’t know – also that it can lead to comparison of diet and intake which isn’t good. However it seems to be highly requested and appreciated with showing more of my meals – so here is what i ate yesterday as i pictured almost everything!

How much and what i eat varies each day and usually i prefer 3-4 bigger meals per day i.e breakfast/lunch, dinner and a big night snack. But yesterday i felt more hungry and wanted more inbetween snacks, so that’s what i ate. Also yesterday the only thing i did was study/go to a lecture & a 30 minute walk to school, but otherwise it was study from c.a 11am until 8pm.

Breakfast: 2 scones with vegan spread and cheese & a banana afterwards

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Lunch: Pasta with a mushroom and oumph sauce (left overs from the day before)

^^This is how my food mostly looks when i don’tplate it specifically for an instagram photo!

Snack: Banana and 2 pieces of chocolate. (If you combine the white chocolate with milk chocolate it tastes like kinder bueno *sort of*)

 

Dinner: (Which i had prepared in the morning) Cauliflower wings, pickled red onion, avocado, roasted chickpeas, half a baked sweet potato (which i mashed with some salt and sesame seeds), tofu fried in some oil & 1/2 an avocado

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Night snack: All i was craving was plain oatmeal with salt, so that is exactly what i had. C.a 2 portions of oats with oat milk and salt. I usually love lots of toppings on my oats – but sometimes i just want to keep it simple and don’t crave any toppings… not even my home made jam or peanut butter. I guess the body just knows what it wants/needs!

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I have no idea how many calories i ate or macros – and i don’t care either. I listen to my body and what i ate yesterday was what i wanted/craved/was hungry for.

Everyday is different, somedays i eat more and somedays less… it balances itself out over time! As you can tell, i love having lots of different foods for my lunch and/or dinner (i.e lots of vegetables, potatoes, hummus, avocado, beans, sweet corn etc) but usually for snacks (now a days) just keeping it simple works well for me. And i don’t eat snacks everyday, as i wrote in THIS post. Eating 3-4 big meals per day works better for me and usually my big lunches/dinner keep me satisfied for several hours!

Another reason i don’t do full days of eating so often is that 1) it would require me to picture all my food and remember what i ate each day…. which reminds me that several cups of coffee with oat milk were drank yesterday as well as some cauliflower wings being eaten when i made them in the morning ๐Ÿ˜‰

and 2) i eat pretty much the same thing most days which isn’t alot of variation and no point in sharing everyday or every week if it just looks the same – i.e no inspiration for you, haha!

Full day of eating – Monday

Yesterday was a day that i pictured (almost!) everything i ate, so i thought… why not share it on here!

It was a school day (5 hours of own work/study), went to the gym in the morning, went food shopping in the evening! So a pretty standard day for me! And this is what i ate….

I didn’t picture everything – also my lunch was eaten from a lunch box in school … but i can begin taking pictures of how it looks all mixed up in my lunch box when i remember/eating alone hahaha. When i am eating with friends i obviously won’t!!

Also do you want me to do food diaries on a weekly basis even if i won’t picture all my food? I always think i need to share photos of my food… but maybe i don’t? But maybe i shouldn’t even make full days of eating anyway…. hahah, just let me know! ๐Ÿ™‚

Breakfast: Soy yoghurt, mix of nuts and raisins & muesli & coffee

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Lunch: Mashed sweet potato with peanut butter, so called wheat germ (matvete in swedish!),ย  panfried tofu (just with oil and salt!), half an avocado, beetroot hummus and broccoli with some sesame seeds!

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Snack: 3 pieces of seitan (small prebought/packaged seitan!)

Dinner: Quinoa, more pan fried tofu, sweet and sour sauce and mix of veggies

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Snack: 3 scones with vegan butter (no picture)