Veganuary comes but once a year and most people are surprised by how easy it is to adapt to veganism, at least for a month. Many go on to be full-time or intermittent followers of the vegan diet, whether that's for health, weight-loss or ethical reasons, or a combination of all three. If you're struggling, however, we have some great ingredient tips from Lifesum's Dr Alona Pulde. She's suggested seven ways to take your favourite, pre-Veganuary comfort foods and takeaways and turn them into fully vegetable-based super snacks.
Dr Alona is speaking on behalf of Lifesum. 'What is that?' you may well ask. Well, Lifesum is a 'global leading nutrition app' for Android and iOS. It's also compatible with Apple Health, and it's currently half price to sign up! (opens in new tab)
Black bean or lentil burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, toppings, and your favourite bun
These nutrient rich ingredients make for hearty, delicious, and healthy alternatives to traditional burgers. Beans and lentils provide protein, fibre, zinc, iron, and phytochemicals a combination that has been shown to help with heart health and cholesterol, diabetes and digestion – especially constipation.
T3's Top Tip: All the big burger chains do remarkably good vegan burgers. Quite what they are made of we have no idea, but the McDonalds and Burger King ones are just as good as their meat staples.
Vegan cheese, sauce, and veggies on a vegan pizza crust
A perfect combination or those that are dairy intolerant or just trying to avoid the health concerns with diary consumption, this makes a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional pizza. Add your favourite vegetables and as many as you can to increase the rich vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals they provide.
T3's Top Tip: you can make a pizza base by putting cauliflower through a blender and then baking the resultant 'dough'.
Cashew or cauliflower 'cheese' with nutritional yeast
Whether you are looking for a more calorie dense or calorie dilute option, you have it here. Cashew cheese makes a creamy and delicious alternative to dairy and can be incorporated into family favourites such as mac ’n’ cheese, lasagne, and chilli cheese fries. In addition, cashews provide protein, fibre, minerals like copper that boost immune function and brain health, and antioxidants that block free radicals from harming our cells and increasing inflammation and illness.
Cashews are more calorie dense though, so for those of you aiming to lose weight, cauliflower – steamed, blended well, and flavoured – is an excellent, creamy and very healthy choice. Cauliflower is a low calorie food and an excellent source of fibre, antioxidants, Vitamin C (important for bone health and our immune systems), and choline (a nutrient that helps with memory, mood regulation, muscle and nerve function, and liver function).
Soy, Oat, Almond or Hemp milk instead of dairy milk.
The many options for non-dairy milks allow you to pick the one you most enjoy for coffee, tea, cereal or baking and cooking. Non-dairy milks are an excellent source of calcium, an important nutrient for supporting strong bones and teeth.
Pancakes and cookies
Replace butter with apple sauce and flax seeds
Choosing these ingredients removes saturated fat, adds fibre, and decreases the calorie density of your foods. Flax is a great source of Omega 3, an essential fatty acid our body needs to get from food. Apples keep the doctor away with their fibre, Vitamin C and antioxidants that have been shown to support a healthy heart, strong immune system, and weight loss.
Chilli, burritos and tacos
Tempeh instead of minced beef
This nutritious and delicious food made from fermented soybeans can be swapped in for the meat in Mexican foods, bolognese sauces and many more dishes. Tempeh is not only high in protein but also a great source of calcium for strong bones and teeth, iron for building red blood cells that carry oxygen to our cells, and fibre important for digestions and heart health.
A classic Veganuary swop, using one of the many tofu varieties available instead of chicken or beef can give you the protein you desire along with the 'meaty' substance. Add tofu to Pad Thai or any stir-fry dish and you also get a rich source of antioxidants and phytochemicals, to fight off inflammation.