Incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains with these top tips from nutritionist Bethan Hamilton
So, you’ve decided to go vegan – now what? it’s not necessarily easy to limit your intake of meat and dairy products, but it can yield several benefits including a gradual increase in energy and improved heart health. So, to make the transition a bit more bearable, get started with these simple tips.
1 Focus on the positives
It’s helpful to think about the new plant-based foods you’ll be including in your diet instead of focusing on what you may need to cut down on. This can prevent a mindset of deprivation and enable you to concentrate on what you’re gaining from this new experience. Start by including one plant-based ingredient per day. For example, add an extra side of veg to your evening dish or make a veggie chilli, packed with chickpeas and butternut squash. Give ‘meat-free Mondays’ a go, and if you like it, increase this to ‘tasty veg Tuesdays’.
2 Prep your meals
Meal preparation at the weekend could be your saving grace. It will take away the stress of late-night rummaging for dinner inspiration, and you’ll also prevent any food going to waste, saving you time and money. Try using leftover butternut squash to make a risotto for your weekday lunches. By doing so, you’ll have a delicious midday meal from Monday to Friday. Planning ahead will also stop you from reaching for the takeaway pizza menu.
3 Switch-up your snacks
Snacking is a common habit to keep hunger at bay, but there are a lot of tasty, plant-based alternatives that you can eat to combat those cravings. Try carrot sticks with hummous, roasted nuts and seeds or even something as simple as a piece of fruit. Bethan says: “I also highly recommend dates dunked in a bit of peanut butter – it’s delicious!”
4 Get Inspired
Follow bloggers, subscribe to a magazine or treat yourself to a brand new cookbook. There’s a huge variety of recipes that will inspire you to get into the kitchen and make meals from scratch.
Getting your friends and family on board with your new diet can make the process a bit easier. Invite them round for a chickpea curry, cook-up a new dish together or head out to a restaurant and try a delectable meat-free meal. You’ll be able to share your experiences and possibly get them to switch their dietary habits, too.
Credit: Bethan Hamilton, national educator and nutritionist for Vega