If you’re new to veganism, thinking of trying it out, or maybe struggling with the idea of such a big change, then these tips should be super useful for you.
I’ve been vegan for more than 11 years now and I’ve identified a few useful habits to get into as well as sticking points that can be overcome. Maybe you struggle with particular meals (e.g. breakfast) or with how to plan ahead. You might find it difficult to make friends with all vegetables, or wonder how you’ll ever cook up meatless dishes that taste rich and flavourful. Maybe you have kids (or adults, for that matter) who can’t be fooled with chia pudding, or you might have no idea what your pantry staples should be.
Hopefully these six tips will help you out and make the transition to veganism a little smoother!
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1. Make friends with peanut butter & tahini
These days I buy my peanut butter by the kilo. Yep, I buy 1kg of natural/whole crunchy peanut butter at a time, and I always keep a big ol’ jar of tahini in my cupboards too. Peanut butter is a godsend when it comes to curries, marinades, oatmeal, baking, and more. It lends a wonderfully tasty richness to any sweet or savoury recipe and I’ve been known to throw a tablespoon of peanut butter into just about anything. I’m a particular fan of DIY peanut butter stir fry sauces and creamy tahini salad dressings. Here are a few recipes to get you going:
- Peanut butter sweet potato curry with veggies and peas
- Tofu with spicy peanut sauce
- Creamy tahini dressing
- Vegan satay noodles
- Peanut butter blondies
2. Become a pro-prepper
As the fairly obnoxious old adage goes, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail“, and while that’s not true in many cases, it can help you enormously if you don’t have access to vegan convenience foods or the money to pay for them. Whilst you’ve no doubt spent years figuring out your go-to lunches for school/work/University, and know where to go to buy a cheap lunch if you forget to prepare one in advance, you’re unlikely to know all the vegan options until you’ve spent time figuring them out too.
Even the smallest amount of prep can save you from resorting to non-vegan conveniences and therefore limiting how many times you fall off the wagon on your vegan journey. (N.B. literally every single vegan out there has slipped up at some point, so do your best and don’t beat yourself up about mistakes!)
Here are some handy sources of info/advice on vegan food-prepping…
- 5 ingredient vegan lunch ideas for school & work
- Vegan sandwich ideas for back to school/work
- 5 no-heat vegan school lunch ideas for college
- 10 vegan lunchbox ideas for kids
- 65+ vegan meal prep recipes
|🍴 Check out my own easy, no-fuss weekly vegan meal plan here: Vegan Weekly Meal Plan|
3. Fall in love with vegan breakfast
Breakfast can often be a stumbling block for many folks new to veganism. If you’re accustomed to eggy pancakes, bacon sandwiches, and breakfast sausage, then you might feel a little hopeless about your options. The good news is that breakfast can be veganised without a fuss and without losing out on the yum factor. For convenience breakfasts we love veggie sausage sandwiches (many brands are excellent now: Linda McCartney, Quorn, Sainsbury’s shroom dogs, Fry’s, etc.), Jus Rol cinnamon rolls or croissants, toasted bagels with jam or marmalade, or one or more of the below…
- Southwest tofu scramble
- Eggy tofu
- Tofu omelets
- Peanut butter banana overnight oats
- Simple vegan pancakes
- Easy vegan cinnamon buns
|🍴 Or, grab some chickpea flour and have a go of my deep dish omelette|
4. Make friends with bowls
With all the fuss about bowls it’s easy (if you’re a cynic like me) to scoff at the idea of a dish named after…….a dish. But bowls are an easy way for you to put together batch lunches or just construct a tasty dinner that has all the food groups you need to get a wholesome meal. Also often called ‘buddha bowls’, the anatomy of a bowl is usually a base of whole grains, a portion of protein, two or three vegetables, some “good” fat, and a big ol’ injection of flavour. I’m a big fan of brown rice or noodle bases, along with tofu/seitan/veggie meat substitute along with houmous or beans, loads of veggies, and a peanut or tahini sauce. Here are some yum recipes to get you started:
- Sweet potato chickpea buddha bowl
- BBQ soy curls bowl with ranch dressing
- Lemongrass tofu buddha bowls with peanut sauce
- Vegan buddha bowl three ways
- Easy peanut noodles two ways
- Classic vegan caesar with avocado & chickpeas
5. Subscribe to a local veg box or meal service
If you want to force yourself to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet, and maybe push the boundary on your comfort zone just a little, then I’d highly recommend subscribing to a supermarket or (better if you can) local veg box scheme.
We’re signed up to a local organisation set up originally through a cooperative. We pay £10 per week for a big box of fruits and vegetables that are more or less seasonal, with many products that don’t have a lot of air miles. This can get a little depressing in the English winter months (hello potage) but for the most part it’s an excellent way to force us to work around the ingredients we have. This is a great option if you love to cook!
If adventurous cooking isn’t quite your thing, but you still crave nutritious and delicious and varied vegan dinners, consider signing up to a meal service like AllPlants. Dinners can be pick n’ mixed from their range and delivered to your door ready to pop in the freezer. Meals are ready in around 15 minutes and the packaging is completely recyclable and returnable. Read about the meals I tried out here, and use code JEN15 for a discount off your first box here.
6. Follow #AccidentallyVegan
If all else fails, you can always rely on what’s accidentally vegan. Follow the account on Instagram and prepare to be thrilled when you find out you can still buy Party Rings and bacon crisps!
How about you? What helped you when you transitioned to veganism? Is there anything you still struggle with?
Header image credit: https://unsplash.com/@edgarraw
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