This blog was written by registered dietitian, Alice Bleathman.
Have you been thinking about going vegan? Or even switching up your diet to make it a little more plant-based? Whatever it may be, it can be daunting and confusing as to where to start. Thankfully, transitioning to a vegan diet has never been easier with the range of accessible substitutes on our shelves. Here are some of our favourites:
Whether you’re crisping it up or marinating it in a delicious dressing, tofu and tempeh are great sources of protein, iron, and fibre. As well as being delicious, they are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and incredibly versatile. Depending on preference, the firmness of tofu can allow for so many delicious recipes. Whether you decide to bake, create delicious smoothies or curries, Tempeh and tofu both have served a purpose within the vegan space.
Thanks to the rise in the number of people following a vegan/vegetarian diet, you can now find a huge range of plant-based milks at your supermarket. If you are using plant-based milks as your sole milk replacement, it’s important to include ones that are a natural source of protein and fortified with calcium.
Did you know that you can use flaxseeds as a vegan egg replacement? Simply combine three tablespoons of ground flaxseeds plus six tablespoons of water, soak for ten minutes and you’ve got a wonderful egg alternative! Flax seeds are huge within the vegan community due to the fact that they’re enriched with fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that one tablespoon (7 grams) of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (includes the omega 3s), 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories. Some other brilliant egg replacements include applesauce, banana, silken tofu, and chia seeds.
The ultimate vegan parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast has a sharp, intense taste and is a go-to replacement for those on a plant-based diet who miss that classic cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast is also packed with B vitamins and contains a great dose of protein and fibre. Perfect to top on pasta, pizza, soup, or anywhere you’d usually use parmesan.
Take your pallet to the beach with some delicious seaweed. With a unique source of omega-3, iron, potassium, magnesium, iodine, and calcium as well as a delicious flavour seaweed will become your new best friend when it comes to adding that little extra flavour to your meals. Iodine and calcium are also two nutrients in particular that can be difficult to find in plant-based products which is another reason to chuck a little seaweed on top of your next dish or even grab some when you’re running out the door for an amazing on-the-go snack.
Legumes such as lentils and beans are an inexpensive and versatile staple for anyone on a vegan diet. Packed full of fibre, protein, iron, and zinc, legumes are a must for anyone following a vegan diet. Some ways to include legumes in your diet include adding them to salads, soups, or stews, roasting them and eating them as crunchy snacks, or blending them into sauces to thicken.
As you can see, swapping out animal products doesn’t mean you need to miss out on your favourite foods or flavours! Try replacing some of your animal products with these alternatives in your next meal.