If you want to go vegan, you couldn’t have picked a better time. Today, going vegan is easy, with most grocery stores offering a wide assortment of plant-based foods. Here are eleven ways to go vegan without missing the meat with so many healthy vegan choices.
Is a plant-based diet healthy?
If you want to go vegan but are concerned about this diet’s health, you are in luck. A vegan diet has been proven to help you:
- Lose weight
- Lowers your risk of heart disease
- Lower your cholesterol
- Manage your blood sugar
- Reduce the number of medications you take
- Decreases your risk of cancer
Eleven tips to help you go vegan
When you talk about getting healthy, avoiding terms like vegetarian or vegan, eating more plant-based foods, and eating less meat, dairy and eggs may be helpful. This shift in language makes the whole idea of eating this way feel less of a significant life change.
1. Make your regular recipes vegan friendly
If you want to do away with meat, it’s not that hard, especially if you choose good vegan alternatives. Take your favorite recipes and make them vegan friendly by using plant-based meatless options such as:
- Vegan burgers
- Vegan chicken nuggets
- Faux bacon
- Beefless strips
- Veggie hot dogs
You can also come up with unique ways to make your recipes vegan. You can swap out regular ingredients for vegan-friendly ones. Try these:
- Butter: Vegan butter or olive oil
- Milk: Oat, almond, cashew, hemp, and coconut milk.
- Jackfruit: It’s a good substitute for chicken or beef. Use it in pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, or gyros.
- Aquafaba: This is the liquid from canned chickpeas. It’s a good egg white substitute for mousse, meringues, sponges, or brownies. Mix it with sugar and lemon juice to create a vegan royal icing.
2. Don’t rush into your new plant-based diet
One of the biggest mistakes people who want to go vegan make is going all out all at once. It’s best to take it slow. You may want to stop eating as much meat and eat more veggies. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. But focusing on eating more plant-based foods is an excellent first step. Other things you can try are these:
- Eat meat-free at least one or two days a week
- Increase the plant-based foods in each meal
- Lower the amount of meat you use in a meal. If you used 6 ounces of red meat in a spaghetti sauce, lower it to 4 ounces in the spaghetti sauce. Eventually, you can substitute a meat alternative.
- Be patient. You may fall off the wagon and eat a beef taco, but that’s okay. Start fresh again tomorrow.
3. Think more about what you can eat
When you’re eating a new diet, it’s easy to ruminate about what you miss. But eating plant-based isn’t a big sacrifice when you focus on what you can eat rather than what you can’t eat. If there’s a food you miss, take a bite of it and ask yourself.
- Is this food as good as you thought?
- Do I need another bite?
- Why do I miss it so much?
- Is it a texture thing or a flavor issue?
- What vegan alternative would taste good right now?
Before you know it, you won’t miss non-vegan foods as much. Most of these thoughts are in your head, and there are so many great-tasting plant-based foods you can try. Experiment with plant-based ice cream, cheese, and other snacks.
4. Try store-bought vegan meals
Does broccoli cheese bake, tamale Verde, and cheese chili mac meals sound good enough to eat? If it does, then you should try store-bought vegan frozen meals. These are more available in your grocery store’s frozen food aisle. Gone are the days of making all your vegan meals from scratch. Today, there is a vast assortment of frozen meals, bread, and desserts. You don’t need to feel deprived if you want to go vegan. Load up on these meals for quick lunches or when you’re too tired to prepare dinner. It’s an easy way to go vegan without missing the meat.
5. Go to vegan or vegetarian restaurants
There are vegan restaurants in almost every area of the country. Many of them are budget-friendly places with delicious foods. Eating at a plant-based restaurant inspires you to try new foods and maybe try to recreate them at home. Plus, many popular chain restaurants now offer plant-based alternative meals. This option makes it easier when you’re out with friends who don’t want to eat at a plant-based restaurant. National chain restaurants that offer plant-based alternative meals include:
- White Castle
- The Cheesecake Factory
- PF Changs
Another way to find vegan-friendly restaurants is to download the Happy Cow app. It lists the vegan and vegetarian restaurants in your area and worldwide. There’s a paid version for Apple devices and a free and paid one for Android devices.
6. Try vegan ethnic foods
Many ethnic meals are meat-free. These vegan and vegetarian cuisines are worth checking out. Ethnic foods that offer plant-based meals include:
Try them at home or explore an ethnic restaurant to try these delicious dishes.
Don’t be shy about exploring new cuisines.
7. Avoid vegan junk foods
Avoid eating vegan-friendly junk foods. It’s not healthy, and you won’t feel good. Instead, focus on eating whole foods, like beans, fruit, veggies, and grains. This focus guarantees you’re getting the nutrition you need. Eat some fast food once in a while.
8. Start with easy recipes when you first go vegan
Remember, you’re just getting started. Take it slow and cook with what you know. Keep it real for you. Using complicated ingredients or following multi-step recipes can overwhelm you when you first try a vegan diet. Try simple dishes such as.
- Vegetarian chili
- Veggie stir fry
- Pasta and zucchini with red sauce
9. Stay organized
Learning how to eat vegan is easiest if you stay organized. Follow these tips for staying organized.
- Stock up on the right ingredients
- Shop with a list, not from your head
- Go to the grocery after you’ve eaten- There’s nothing worse than shopping when you’re hungry.
- Plan our meals-Write the meals you want to have for the week. This helps you know what to buy.
- Buy some prepared vegan meals-Be sure to buy pre-made vegan meals for quick, easy meals.
10. Get help; learn how to go vegan from online communities
You can feel lonely munching on a salad when you’re out with friends who are eating pepperoni pizza. There are many groups and organizations to help you eat plant-based. Check out these helpful sites:
- The Vegan Society and Veganuary are great resources loaded with recipes, articles, and useful information to help you.
- Some magazines contain nutrition guides and recipe ideas. Vegan Food, Living and Plantbased Magazine are two popular vegan magazines to try.
11. Stay with your new plant-based menu
Most of all, don’t give up. Stick with the diet even if you have some bad days. Ask a vegan friend for their favorite recipes and what things they found helpful to keep eating plant-based meals. Getting their inspiration helps you not give up.
Is it expensive to go vegan?
Eating plant-based doesn’t need to be expensive. If you plan and buy wisely, you can eat a vegetarian or vegan diet on a budget. Here are some suggestions for keeping your budget intact while eating a plant-based diet.
- Use dry beans: They’re cheaper, but you need to soak them overnight. That’s not a problem if you plan. Through the amount, you go into a bowl of water and put it into the fridge for the night. When you get up, they’ll be ready to cook the way you want.
- Buy frozen foods: Frozen veggies and fruits are just as healthy as fresh, and they last longer. Load up on a good supply of them, so they’re ready when you need them for soups, casseroles, or stews.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a superfood for vegan eaters. It’s packed with fiber, iron, and calcium. Plus, it’s a cheap food that is great in many dishes.
- Produce that’s on sale: Follow a rule that says don’t buy any product that is more than $2.00 a pound. Too limiting, you say? Then raise it to $2.50 a pound. Just stick to this rule, and you’ll save.
- Splurge wisely: If you must splurge, choose one thing that will enhance all your meals. Some plant-based eaters suggest buying Veganasie since you can use it in salad dressings or sauces, but it’s your splurge, so you decide.
- Eat more soup: Soup is healthy, and it’s cheap. You can make a decent broth by boiling a mix of veggies like celery, carrots, potatoes, or squash. Once you have a nice broth with chopped-up veggies, add pepper, salt, a dash of lemon juice, and Tabasco. Viola! You have a heart-healthy, delicious soup that costs you pennies to make.
- Stock up on staples: Keep your pantry stocked with basics like pasta, rice, peanut butter, flour, and brown sugar.
Meal ideas if you decide to go vegan
Here are some budget-friendly vegan meal ideas you can try this week.
- Tofu scramble
- Bagel with vegan butter
- Fruit smoothie
- Cereal with almond milk
- Peanut noodles
- Pasta with marinara
- Falafel in pita
- Hummus wrap
- Avocado toast
- Veggie stir-fry
- Loaded baked potato
- Veggie burger
- Curried chickpeas
- Salad and soup
- Lentil chili
Final thoughts on little changes to help you go vegan
It’s a great time to go vegan. Most grocery stores offer a wide variety of plant-based products and meat alternatives. It’s also easy because there are a lot of vegan-friendly frozen foods and vegetarian and vegan restaurants. If you want to try eating a vegan diet, be sure to take it slow and be patient with yourself. You’ll enjoy plant-based eating benefits as you learn to use vegan recipes and adapt to the diet.