I'm so sorry to hear about your DH's health problems. I have gone through the major diet change process and I know it's really overwhelming at first. Two of my kids have Celiac, and my DH has severe food allergies, and I'm trying to eat Whole Food Plant Based, though I give myself a lot of wiggle room, just like you. Here are some of our standard, regular meals:
GF spaghetti or other noodles with a lentil-mushroom Bolognese sauce. I finely chop a bunch of mushrooms and sauté them in a very scant bit of olive oil until they have reduced significantly in volume, the more, the better IMO. I add a can of drained, rinsed lentils (I prefer the flavor/texture of beluga lentils, also called black lentils. You can also start from dry and cook them separately). Add to your favorite jarred sauce. You can make this even healthier by adding vegetables and/or using GF pasta that is bean or chickpea based, or whole wheat.
Vegan Chili. I use this recipe more-or-less, and I add a can of corn because yummy corn and about 1/4-1/2 cup red quinoa, which helps to absorb some of the juice and adds a meaty texture to compliment the beans. This became my favorite chili recipe instantly, the flavor is so good. You do NOT need an instant pot, the recipe is made from canned beans, I have no idea why you'd drag out the instant pot rather than simmering another 4-10 minutes on the stove.
Indian Red Lentil Dahl. I use this recipe.
Beyond Burgers or other vegan burgers- a once a week staple for us. Yes, they are very salty. I think if they are your only indulgence, there are not too bad!
Mexican Black Bean Bowls. These are a huge hit. I cook black beans from soaked in the IP, then drain and add stock (chicken or veg), sautéed onion, a chopped chipotle pepper or two from a can, and juice of 2 limes. Serve with rice and corn, plus any toppings you might like. I use sour cream, but you can get a vegan substitute easily in the USA!
Red bean tacos- Prepare everything as you would for normal tacos, but instead of meat, drain and rinse as many cans of red beans as your family needs and add a packet of taco seasoning and some water and simmer them a few mninutes until the water is mostly cooked off. Black beans are also fine for this. As are lentils. It's also really easy to make meat for kids and beans for adults.
Refried bean burritos. Open can, heat beans, put in tortillas, add salsa!
PBJ on toast or crackers, gf as necessary.
Falafel wraps or pitas. I buy store-bought falafels and heat in oven, then spread (store bought) hummus onto a pita or tortilla, add salad leaves, red onion slices, cucumber slices, falafel balls, and a good squirt of sriracha. A bit of soy sour cream or plain yogurt is also excellent.
Every week, I make a couple of big salads that we eat at lunch or to fill in the cracks around a meal of leftovers. These include:
- Lentil-Mango-Pomegranate Salad
- Quinoa salad with cucumbers and raisins, lemon vinaigrette
- Chickpea Waldorf Salad
- Green salad with all the fixings you might like. For me that means having sliced red onion on hand, raisins or an apple to chop up, and a half can of lentils (drained/rinsed). I make homemade dressing and always have some ready, so this is a quick lunch. A seeds and nut mix for salads adds a good crunch on the top.
This is personal, but I disagree with the advice to transition slowly. A quick change gives you some momentum to work with and leads to feeling better and seeing better lab numbers rapidly, which is motivating, creating a good cycle.
I would suggest looking at what you already eat, and seeing how easy it is to veganize it. Using vegan "meat" can help while you are trying to get the kids on board.