It’s not just all avocados and veg!
I think the way to sustain a new vegan/veggie diet is to find staple meals that you love. This may not just be about finding alternatives to what you already love, it’s also about finding completely new meals that you enjoy. For example I’ve always liked chilli with jacket potatoes or rice, but I have to be honest that minced beef has never really wowed me. Yet now I’ve discovered this veggie chilli recipe I really love! I feel like I’m getting excited about meals again. Even if you’re going vegan/veggie for a limited time it really does open your eyes to new foods and flavours. We are only at the beginning of our journey, meat and cheese were huge parts of our diet just 8 weeks ago! So we may be new to it all but that means we understand where you are right now. Keep on reading for some tips that you’ll hopefully find useful as you embark on your own journey, be it for life or for a little while.
Eating at home, buying your own food shopping, it’s all in your control. But then there’s eating out with friends and visiting family. Do you have to announce that your diet has changed?! It can feel a bit awkward, a bit like you’re being difficult. But family and friends won’t suddenly disown you for what you chose not to eat! But be ready for curiosity. It’s actually a really interesting conversation to get into and who knows maybe they’ll be inspired to try some new foods. The number one response when we tell people that we no longer eat meat or dairy is…
“So what DO you eat?”
When you’re new to this it’s a bit like, erm actually I don’t know! Yet now I could answer with “So do you only eat meat (and dairy)?” Haha. Truth is the more time that passes the more we are learning. Like anything new, it takes time, patience and a bit of determination too! The number one thing I’d say is not to be too harsh on yourself if you slip up. None of us are perfect and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For us we’ve decided to occasionally eat fish/prawns so we’re not technically vegan/veggie but for us that’s what works for the time being.
So what DO we eat? Here’s some staples that we now have in our home.
Breakfast – Porridge made with oat/soya milk, various cereals with oat milk, dairy free yogurt and granola (Steve loves this), toast with dairy free butter (pure), toast with nut butters or jam, homemade vegan pancakes with maple syrup (recipe), smoothie.
Lunch – veg fritters, pasta with vegan pesto and nutritional yeast, roasted veg pasta in a tomato sauce, mixed bean salad, nut butter bagels, soups, jacket potato, veg stir fry, left over dinners, “chicken” burgers, beans on toast, sliced avocado with crackers.
Dinner – veggie chilli, roast dinner with a stuffed mushroom (we tried this yummy sprout recipe on Christmas day), sweet potato curry, roast vegetable pasta bake, vegan pizza, vegan sausage and mash, jacket potatoes, beans on toast, vegan cheese toastie, mushroom stroganoff, vegan burritos (I’ve used left over veggie chilli and rice with bell peppers before), risotto, peanut and avocado burgers.
Snacks/Treats – Oreos, bourbon biscuits, galaxy vegan chocolate, Cadbury bourneville, Trek/Nakd bars, nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, carrot sticks with hummus, bbq Pringles, vegan banana bread, vegan ice creams.
Many of the foods you snack on already may well be vegan anyway, take a look at this HERE for some examples!
Foods to try
– lentils – great in curries!
– Nutritional yeast – found in most supermarkets, Amazon, Holland & Barrett .
– chia seeds – sprinkle over salads, add to smoothies.
– spices like paprika, turmeric, cumin.
– Oatly products (milk, cream).
– Pure (dairy free butter).
– Linda McCartney hoisin ‘duck’ wraps
Places we like to eat out, so far!
If in doubt, plan ahead. You’ll be surprised at just how many restaurants cater for vegans. Have a quick search online at menus and ask for recommendations. Our children are still eating meat and dairy so we like to visit places that have a menu catering for all. Though Steve and I are keen to visit a vegan only restaurant on our next date lunch/dinner!
– If you order a jacket potato make sure to say no butter as some places put it on for you before your topping!
– Ask for alternative milks in cafes.
– Look for VE on the menu for vegan options.