Easy Vegan Food Switches

If you missed last week’s post, Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet Made Easy, you might want to read that first. As the title suggests, I talk about the different ways in which to transition to a plant-based diet!

This week I’m looking at easy vegan food switches you can make during and after your transition.

Meat Alternatives

Although being vegan and eating a plant-based diet, means you don’t consume anything that comes from an animal, most people instantly think about replacing meat. This is the big one. Although for me, it was the one thing I gave up easily and didn’t miss.

The most common meat alternative is tofu, followed by either seitan or tempeh. Tofu is tasteless, so just remember you’ll need to either marinate it or add some salt and pepper to flavour.

Seitan is made from wheat flour, so if you have an intolerance or allergy to wheat or gluten – give it a miss.

Meat is associated with protein, which is why tofu, seitan and tempeh are good alternatives. Although, out of the three, tempeh contains the highest amount.

Other easy switches include plant-based burgers, sausages, chicken nuggets and sandwich meats. Just like the meat-based versions, these are processed foods, so include them sparingly in your diet.

Check out your local supermarket for their own brand products. You’ll also find big brand names like Linda McCartney, Quorn and Cauldron.

Linda McCartney pulled pork burger, with homemade onion rings and sweet potato fries

Linda McCartney Pulled Pork Burger, with homemade onion rings & sweet potato fries

TOFU

Tofu is very versatile, so I wanted to include a little bit more information. Although it’s a good meat alternative nutritionally, it doesn’t have the texture of meat – unlike seitan and tempeh. So, if that’s something you’re going to add into your diet, bear that in mind. I don’t miss the meaty texture, which is why I prefer tofu.

It’s also available in varying levels of firmness. Silken tofu is a softer consistency and will fall apart easier than regular tofu. It’s also commonly used as a dairy substitute in vegan desserts.

Apart from being used as a meat alternative, scrambled tofu is a popular alternative for scrambled eggs on toast.

Tofu is also widely used in soups and salads, and to make burgers with. For some inspiration, head over here to see some delicious recipes.

Milk and Dairy Alternatives

No longer are we restricted to just soya milk or almond milk. Food manufacturers have made it easier than ever to make the switch and with so many plant-based alternatives, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

If you’re looking for something a bit creamier to mimic dairy, try cashew, soya or coconut milk. If you’re concerned about your protein intake, try soya, oat or hemp milk.

Even coffee shops like Starbucks now offer soya, almond, coconut, and oat milk.

Yoghurt

Swap your dairy based yoghurt for a non-dairy version by Alpro instead. They do a range of vegan yoghurts and desserts.

Ice-Cream

Ben and Jerry’s, one of the world’s most famous ice-cream makers, have a range of non-dairy ice-cream. Known for their indulgent and sometimes perhaps a little random flavours, they now have four flavours available. My favourite is Peanut Butter and Cookies, and Ian’s is Chunky Monkey.

But if you’re looking for a super indulgent dairy-free ice-cream, and want to support a company that is completely vegan, check out Booja Booja. Their Caramel Pecan Praline ice-cream is possibly the tastiest plant-based ice-cream I’ve ever had. They even make chocolates!

Even Magnum have released a vegan version of their classic ice-cream, covered in chocolate. They describe it as delicious and velvety plant-based ice-cream. They’ve also made a statement to say that they’re working closely with the Rainforest Alliance, to make sure all their cocoa beans are responsibly sourced.

Cheese Alternatives

Dairy free cheese has become just as easy to buy as well. And again, you’ll find own brand supermarket products alongside bigger brand names like Violife, Cheezly and MozzaRisella. Just like with dairy based cheese, this comes down to personal preference regarding strength of taste and smell.

Personally, I don’t like a strong cheese and my current favourite is Violife.

Zizzi, Prezzo, Pizza Hut and Pizza Express all have vegan cheese options now, and even Asda offer vegan cheese at some of their pizza counters. You might need to call your local store in advance and check they have it.

Homemade pizza with Violife vegan cheese

Homemade pizza with Violife cheese

Honey Alternatives

Ah, the honey debate. Some vegans eat it, and some don’t. If you fall into the don’t camp, you can use agave nectar or maple syrup as an alternative in baking etc.

They’re both sugar and don’t really have any nutritional benefits, so like any sugar, they should be used sparingly in your diet. Although, if you look at the research, maple syrup comes out on top (just) as the healthiest of the two because it contains a small amount of other vitamins and minerals.

It basically comes down to personal preference.

Mayonnaise Alternatives

There are a few different options for mayonnaise. Until recently, Vegenaise was probably the most popular brand. But then Hellman’s jumped on the bandwagon. I’ve tried both, and personally Hellman’s is the winner for me. It’s not something I eat often, but when I do, there’s no competition. It’s Hellman’s all the way.

Other brands to try, include Mr. Organic and Chippa. Although the consensus seems to be that Chippa tastes more like salad cream.

If you’re looking for a spicy vegan mayonnaise, try Flying Goose Sriracha Mayonnaise Sauce.

Pizza Alternatives

Whether eating out or eating at home, vegan pizza is one of the easiest things to replace. Asda offer vegan pizzas at some of the pizza counters – just phone your local store first to check before visiting.

Sainsbury’s was recently voted vegan retailer of the year, and you’ll find their own brand pizzas and plain pizza bases, alongside bigger name brands like White Rabbit.

Goodfellas also make a vegan falafel pizza, which you’ll find in the frozen section at your local supermarket.

With new vegan options popping up daily, it’s easier than ever before to transition to a plant-based diet. Just make sure you put together a meal plan at the beginning of each week. When you know exactly what you’re eating, and which foods you’ll be replacing – a plan will help keep you on track, making sure you don’t feel tempted to cheat.

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