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6 Steps Towards a More Vegan-friendly Diet

09 January 2020

Major life choices don’t have to start in January, but it’s as good a time as any.

The New Year brings a clean slate for all of us, and for anyone looking to make healthy changes to their lifestyle, what better place to start than your diet?

For anyone looking to ‘go-vegan’ this Veganuary, these 6 tips will help you take your first steps on the road to a healthier, meat-free you!

Make Veg the Main Event

Get out of the habit of centring your meals around meat. For generations we’ve made chicken, beef lamb and fish the star of the show. Think about how we order at restaurants: “I’ll have the lamb”. Vegetables are an afterthought.

But there’s so much to love about loading your meals full of delicious, nutrient-rich veg that doesn’t come with the fatty baggage that some cuts of meat bring. A stir fry minus the meat can be loaded with even more crunchy, flavoursome carrots, broccoli, peppers, onions, and much more besides.

Processed Vegan Meals are still Processed Meals

It’s an easy trap to fall into, but a microwave vegan meal is still just that. They’re likely to be high in saturated fats, and in many cases include palm oil. A meal isn’t healthy simply because it’s vegan.

Keep buying the whole foods you’d usually buy. Fresh fruit and veg will make up the bulk of your ingredients and they include no extra baggage.

Keep it Varied

They say variety is the spice of life, and that couldn’t be more true of a vegan diet. Just because you’re cutting out meat and dairy, you won’t find your options reduced, and it’s important to know which vital nutrients you can get from which foods.

Seeds and nuts are an excellent source of protein, and make quick and healthy snack alternatives to crisps and chocolate. Mushrooms are packed with vitamin D and can be added to virtually every meal.

Spinach, broccoli and peppers are veggies which give you a hit of vitamin C. As do oranges and most citrus fruits, which are also high in fibre along with grains, beans and legumes which are great alternatives in soups and chilis.

B&M Top Tip: we have lots of great vegan recipes over on our Lifestyle page. Like this Veganuary Fried Rice, with tofu instead of chicken!

Don’t Have a Cow

The market is currently bursting with alternatives to cow’s milk: oat, soya, almond, coconut and rice to name a few. It might take a few attempts to find the right one for you, but they’re ideal replacements for dairy in tea and coffee, as well as at breakfast time (oat milk is the perfect like-for-like swap for porridge).

Ask Yourself: Why?

There are lots of different reasons for going vegan: environmental, ethical or health related are the main ones.

Whatever your motivation, write them down and keep this list in the kitchen. It’s worth reminding yourself what’s good about a vegan-based diet during stressful times when you’re tempted to revert back to old habits.

Vegan Substitutes to get you Started

Going vegan for most people doesn’t mean giving up meat and animal based meals overnight. It should be a gradual process. Maybe you substitute cow’s milk for cashew milk in your morning brew (or drink green tea instead of black). Perhaps you take the chicken out of your chicken korma and use sweet potato instead.

You only need to take small steps to embark on your great vegan journey, so check out these suggestions for simple swaps in your weekly repertoire:

  • Oat milk instead of cow’s milk on cereal/in porridge
  • Plant-based yogurt on granola with raspberries
  • Jackfruit instead of pulled pork
  • Quorn pieces instead of chicken/pork/beef in stir fry
  • Aquafaba (water from soaking chickpeas) instead of eggs in cookies, brownies and other baked treats.

B&M Top Tip: we bet you thought you’d have to give up ice-cream didn’t you? This irresistible Vegan Caramel Ice Cream is dairy-free and just as tasty.

Have you made any changes to your diet this Veganuary? Show us all the amazing meat-free meals you’ve been eating on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

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