my meals

This page will be of special interest to you if you are new to whole-foods, plant-based eating. When I’m eating at home I don’t always use recipes, so I wanted to show you what I eat and how simple my meals are. Hopefully these photos of some of my past meals will give you a few good ideas.

You’ll see from the photos that you don’t need meat or fish to be the centerpiece of a meal. For me it’s usually potatoes, rice, soup, stew, or a big salad. You’ll also see that I tend to eat many of the same things over and over, like salads, corn on the cob, rice, steamed veggies, and potatoes.

Sometimes I have a few different dishes and other times just one. A meal can look any way you like as long as it’s comprised of plenty of nutrient-rich whole foods to fill you up. When you find a handful of dishes that you like, just rotate them and you’ll be set!

StraightUpFood.com

Above: I call this the “big pile of food,” which is simply a plate FULL of your favorite foods. In this case I had pinto beans, sweet potato, kale and zucchini, topped with tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, and avocado. No dressings or sauces on this one, just really good quality food to start with. Yum!

StraightUpFood.com

Above: Spaghetti: brown rice twisty noodles topped with a sauce of tomato paste and sauce, mushrooms, onion, garlic, broccoli, kale, squash, and ground walnuts on top.

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Above: Mashed potatoes and broccoli, with steamed yellow zucchini and kale, and a salad.

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Above: Burrito made with black beans, cabbage, carrots, green onions and avocado, inside an Engine 2 Brown Rice Tortilla. Side of steamed cauliflower.

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Abobe: Mashed potatoes (I just use the seasoned cooking water to mash mine), with sautéed vegetables on top (cabbage, red pepper, mushrooms).

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Above: Steamed vegetables (green beans, green and yellow summer squash), green salad with chickpeas.

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Above: I eat fruit every morning and often for my afternoon snack, around 3 or 4PM. For this one I added some chopped fresh mint, so good!

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Above: I love potatoes, they are my favorite food. Mashed potatoes with some ground pistachios on top, with some steamed asparagus.

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Above: A favorite snack: mango!

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Above: Steamed broccoli with black rice and sesame seeds.

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Above: Steamed vegetables over mashed potatoes, with carrot salad.

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Above: Green salad with cut up veggie burger.

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Above: Green salad with pinto beans and cut up and toasted corn tortilla, and steamed veggies with a side of macaroni salad.

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Above: Another snack: Cara Cara oranges, kiwi, celery and banana.

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Above: Steamed vegetables, with Tuno Salad over lettuce.

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Above: A green salad topped with sautéed (pre-cooked) rice and mushrooms.

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Above: Corn tortilla soft tacos with steamed corn on the cob.

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Above: Mashed potatoes topped with sautéed vegetables using a little almond butter.

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Above: Brown rice pasta topped with sautéed veggies and Navy beans.

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Above: Baked acorn squash topped with steamed veggies and fresh cherry tomatoes.

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Above: Green salad with avocado, and vegetables with a light sauce of sesame seeds and water blended with a little curry powder.

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Above: Steamed veggies and rice with avocado.

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Above: Mashed white potatoes and yams, with a green salad, including chickpeas and black beans.

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Above: Mashed potatoes with veggies, corn on the cob and yellow beans.

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Above: Mashed potatoes with fresh veggies; steamed veggies. I eat both of these plates full of food since it’s so low-calorie.

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Above: Salad with chickpeas; Veggie Chili with Quinoa Cornbread.

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Above: Soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) with vegetables; Veggie Burgers with avocado and mustard.

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Above: Baked fries that have no oil and are lightly seasoned, with hummus, ketchup and mustard on the side; steamed veggies.

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Above: Another snack shot. Pears.

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Above: Spaghetti with green salad.

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Above: Green salad with steamed kale, broccolini and yams.

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Above: Homemade applesauce for a snack.

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Above: Green salad with steamed veggies and Delicata squash.

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Above: Vegetable and bean soup. No recipe, just used what I had on hand.

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Above: Baked yams and Yukon gold potatoes with avocado spread.

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Above: Corn tortilla taco with yams and brown rice.

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Above: Baked potato with penne pasta, kale, onion and marinara.

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Above: Baked potato with veggies and salsa; green salad with sliced almonds.

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Above: Fruit salad; plums in pecan milk. This could be a breakfast or snack.

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Above: Simple vegetable soup with whole-grain noodles.

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Above: Mashed potatoes with salad (cilantro, salad, avocado, cabbage, greens).

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Above: Mashed potatoes with Sautéed mushrooms and celery; steamed green beans.

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Above: A good example of a very simple meal: steamed curly kale, mashed potatoes with tomatoes, steamed corn.

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Above: Baked yams and sweet potato with black beans and avocado.

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Above: When I bake potatoes, I bake a lot, including different kinds and maybe some beets too.

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Above: When company comes I make Oatmeal-lemon Pancakes.

Produce

Above: A productive farmers market trip yields the makings for many meals for the upcoming week.

Happy cooking!

Comments

  1. I saw a lot of food there and looking so tasty…thank you…

  2. I am starting to salivate. Must raid freezer and fridge or make a grocery trip! (Closest decent area is about a 45 minute drive…)

  3. Thanks, Cathy! All lovely. i shared this on my blog’s facebook page.

  4. These pictures and meal ideas are SO helpful to those of us transitioning to all plant foods! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  5. Beautiful, delicious looking food! Thanks so much for sharing your meals.

  6. Bob Bachman says:

    This is the BEST!
    Nice idea.
    Eat more potatoes!
    I’m sharing this…….

  7. so glad to have found your website–having just started eating without oil, sugar, or salt–very hard to find recipes made this way! keep sharing please!!

  8. Another idea maybe. My mom used to cook pinto beans and we would eat them over mashed potatoes with raw onion and vinegar. It is so good!

  9. Christina says:

    Super helpful, thanks so much!

  10. Veggies look so good……nothing on them?

  11. Everything looks simple and yummy! I’ve been wanting to add more meatless meals and this has defiantly inspired me, thanks.

  12. Eunice Martinez Moreno says:

    Everything looks delicious. How do yo store all you farmers market produce for the week without it spoiling? I’ve been eating CLEAN food a little over a month now. I’ve never felt better or had more energy. I do occasionally eat salmon and chicken.

    • Hi Eunice, wonderful! I don’t usually buy enough for the whole week, but like to keep it in plastic bins in the fridge. So a bin for potatoes, one for herbs/greens, one for carrots, celery, beets, and one for fruit. :)

  13. I am just starting this journey…I love LOVE to cook and make meals…I am so inspired by your images…this is going to make life even easier. The pics tell the tale …you really don’t need recipes. Just keep things simple.
    Thanks so much!

  14. Doreen Karp says:

    The photos of the food look so appetizing! We loved your tu-no salad recipe! What temperature and how long do you bake the potatoes and beets in the glass cookware? I would imagine that cutting them in half may cut down the baking time, but I’m not sure.

    • Hi Doreen, I usually bake my potatoes cut in half lengthwise for an hour at 400 degrees. If the beets are the same size approximately, I think they would be done around the same time, but you can always poke the beets earlier to see if they’re done and then just remove them and put the potatoes back in. :)

  15. I love your BLOG! Today is my first day of receiving it :)
    I also have a question about the potatoes and beets.
    Do you need to cover them a little bit, say for the first 20 minutes or so? This way they steam themselves because no oil is being used. And, do you use any seasonings? Thank you so much.

    • Hi Sheila, thanks! :) I usually bake or boil my potatoes and beets. If I bake them, I do not use any water. If I boil, I cover them (cut up, beets peeled first) in water. I use a lot of different seasonings. I should write something up on this. But just whatever you like: garlic or onion powder/granulated, curry powder, green herb blends, etc.

  16. These are amazing, inspirational ways of how to easily eat a plant-strong diet without tons of time spent in the kitchen or fancy recipes. Thank you!!!!

  17. You inspired me. Came home from work and made mashed potatoes, sautéed onions and mushrooms, then added chopped asparagus and lots of spinach. So so so delicious – I’m keep your suggestions open on my computer for reminders of these great ideas. Thank you!!!

    Susan

  18. Hi. I was at true north from May to July and I miss your classes. Love your meal photos. Want to make most of them. I like to cook simple too. Makes life less complicated. Everything looks luscious I would like to be on your list.

  19. Love your site, Cathy. Doing private consult this morning, and will be sharing your website. Thanks for all you do. Hope your cookbook is coming along!!!

  20. Thank you for all the photos and ideas and recipe…can’t wait to try them!

  21. Linda Felts says:

    Cathy
    I out at True North last summer for a couple of weeks. I tried your food and it was delicious. I love that you are showing pictures of what you eat, it is so helpful. Thank you for sharing your recipes, pictures and knowledge with everyone. You are an inspiration.

  22. Your food is just beautiful, I am partial to the raw items, but my family would love all of your “recipes” along with their fresh, raw greens!!
    Thank you for sharing your stunning food pics.
    Peace & Raw Health,
    Elizabeth Marie

  23. This section of your site really makes this way of eating accessible to anyone. I always wonder what some bloggers “really” eat. ;-) I’m certainly among those who struggle to measure and use recipes as more than a starting point. I noticed your love of potatoes. When mangos are looking good, I drool for baked sweet potatoes, topped with black beans and mangoes. mmmm
    I can’t wait to try pistachios on my next potato!!
    Happy Eating!

  24. Dear Cathy,
    I’m hoping to change the way I eat. My sister recommended your web page along with some others. Any suggestions for someone who hasn’t even started eating this way yet?
    Thanks,
    Gail

    • Hi Gail, that’s wonderful, good for you! When you first start out, these things will be most helpful:
      - Think of this as a practice. Strive to eat the best you can everyday based on what you’ve learned so far. If you “fall off the wagon” just start again at the next meal, don’t get down on yourself. It takes time to learn and get he hang of it.
      - Start reading to gain knowledge about this way of eating and living (this will strengthen your discipline and resolve). There are many good books out there, but I would recommend The Starch Solution, since it is very easy to read and understand, and answers all of the common questions, and it has recipes in the back. This page also has tons of resources.
      - Start noting and collecting recipes and meal ideas that you like, and keep them in one folder for easy access. If may help you to draw up a “weekly menu” as well, which will help in your planning and shopping.
      - Repeating meals is totally fine; you don’t need a new recipe every day. Get 5 to 10 under your belt and just rotate them for a while, varying some of the ingredients now and then.
      - Don’t focus on weight (if this is an issue), focus on health (any excess weight loss is the inevitable bonus of adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet). This is a new lifestyle for you, not a diet. Think big-picture.
      - Don’t let family/friends derail you, just do your thing and keep it to yourself until you feel more comfortable in your practice and answering questions. Humans find safety in “sameness” so seeing you break off and do something radically different is unsettling to people (even if they aren’t conscious about it) and they will try to keep you on the same dietary level as them. (If you have some major health issues or on medications, though, you may want to let your doctor know you are transitioning to a plant-based diet.)
      Good luck and let me know if you have other questions. Take care! You can do it! ;-)

  25. Hi Kathy,

    We had your “Burrito Bowl” and “Apple Crisp” last night, and they were terrific! We met you at the November McDougall Program where you taught these two dishes. We have been looking for ideas for everyday meals that are quick, simple and use things we usually have on hand. I wondered if you would have any recipes in this regard on your site and came across this page. Perfect! We feel so fortunate to have finally gotten our diet straight (we tried everything). We are continuing to loose weight, feel great, take no meds, and are looking pretty good! Your ideas here will help us out tremendously. Thanks for this good work!

    • Hi Gary, thank you for your kind note. :) That’s great! Yes, “My Meals” can be a helpful idea generator, in fact I need to probably add more meal ideas to this page. Happy New Year and the best to you both in your healthy food (and life!) adventures!

  26. These meals look sumptuous, I am going to be trying them. Waiting for the cookbook.

  27. Thank you for sharing these beautiful meals. I’m just beginning eating a plant based diet, so seeing the combinations of food is a such a great help. I’m excited to try some of them!

  28. whoa! I feel blessed to have found this website. Your meals look simple, though, coming off a very unhealthy diet (high in salt, sugar, oil, and animal products) I wonder if my palate will ever change. I hear that it will, and I PRAY that it will, but any ideas on how long it takes on average?

    Your meals are a perfect representation of how I DREAM of eating, for health. I have quite a bit of health issues, and I’m at least 50lbs overweight. My desire is to change for life, not just to lose weight. I’ve read quite a bit already on this topic, enough, that I SHOULD have changed by now. Sadly, I haven’t. When I look at the pics of your food, though I KNOW we can get protein from plants, I find myself skeptical of a meal of potatoes and veggies. Is that really all it takes to gain vital nutrients and restore my health? Can it really be this easy?

    Any tips for a Junk Food addicted Newbie, desperately looking to change to a wholefoods, plant based diet for good?

    • Hi Tanya, your palate with change. Give it about a month or two. But be consistent so your palate can get used to going without animal foods, processed foods, SOS. Don’t “should” on yourself too much, and don’t worry about protein. Who do you know who has visited a doctor or hospital from lack of protein? The protein hype is just that. Keep the big picture in mind: a varied whole foods, plant-based diet. You really just must jump in and try it, and feel it. Yes, potatoes and veggies are miracle foods. I eat potatoes daily (sometimes twice!). One suggestion is to read the book, “The Pleasure Trap.” This will give you incredible insight into why we are compelled to eat the ways we do and what you can do to break addictive behaviors. One of my favorite books. Also, don’t keep any junk food at home to start. Make your home a clean homebase. :)

  29. Cathy I love seeing what you eat!! It is very inspiring. I thought the final photo of what you bought at the farmer’s market was informational. It gives us an idea of what our shopping cart should look like. Thought:: show us how you “keep” your vegetables fresh…ie. do you keep all veggies in the fridge until using them or do you leave some on the counter until using. I also enjoyed seeing how you cook your potatoes–simply split open, no aluminum foil, no oil. You might think we all know this stuff but we grew up eating hamburger helper and frozen entrees and not seeing fresh veggies being prepared. Thx!

  30. This is hands down, THE BEST article on whole foods plant asked eating I’ve seen. Such a huge help for newbies and old timers alike. THANK YOU!!! I have shared it with our Facebook group, Get Healthy Rockwall :)

  31. Wow! I so appreciate the pictures, it makes a bigger impact on me! You have taken the mystery out of eating this way. I keep trying to find recipes and that makes it hard. I can’t do hard for very long. Thank you for the visual!

  32. I totally love the beautiful way you having lovingly prepared every dish. It’s so inspiring. I’ve been plant based for quite awhile, but now I’ll started echoing what you’ve done here. The aesthetic simplicity nourishes the soul as well as the body. thank you, thank you. You are so dear.

  33. Cheyenne says:

    I pretty much want to cry with gratitude for this page. I’m new to Eat 2 Live and really needed some ideas. I absolutely LOVE this simple, beautiful food. Now I know what to do! I found this blog through the Eat 2 Live Yahoo group, and thank God I did! I can do this!!!!

  34. Just reading your comments; you’re helping so many people embrace WFPB minus the SOS! Fabulous! Re keeping produce, I’m reading Jo Robinson’s “Eating on the Wild Side”. Robinson’s a researcher who details the evolution of veggies and fruits, the best to buy for highest antioxidant content, and great info on storage. Her recommendation for storing greens is a gem, and works……plunge greens either from garden or organically purchased in ice cold water for 10 minutes. Then give them a good spin in salad spinner, pat dry, store in plastic bags, and, with a pin, punch 10 holes in bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal. The greens stay fresh for days.
    Thanks for all you share, Cathy. Your meals are quick and easy to prepare and so healthy!

  35. Hanna Fowler says:

    These meal ideas were just what I was looking for, thanks!!!

  36. Estelle Stone says:

    I am looking for meals for my son and daughter-in-law who are vegans, but I am seriously considering changing for my health. You are inspiring! Thank you for your help and inspiration!

  37. This is fantastic – simple but delicious food, not too many ingredients (something that puts me off a lot of recipes). I’m in Australia and many ingredients listed on other vegan recipe sites aren’t available here – cooking with predominantly whole foods solves that problem. I love that you incorporate a salad with cooked vegies on the one plate. Can you tell me what the diameter is of your dinner plates? Might sound like a weird question but I really struggle with portion size and almost always load up my plate (i.e. overload), regardless of how hungry I really am. Thanks again for the inspiration, these photos have been immensely helpful.

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