Whether you’re trying to eat a fully vegan diet or just trying to work more plants in your meals (good choice!), it’s easier to do than you think. What sounds like a gigantic task to eliminate the bacon, eggs, butter, milk and meat, is really simple when you focus on things to add and not on what you won’t be eating. It’s also pretty delicious if you want to know the truth. In fact, many American classic dishes are naturally vegan, though most people don’t even realize it. Many people also don’t realize how many animal products are found in foods they’re eating each day, since they lurk in everything from commercial salad dressings to spreads, and many processed snacks.
Here’s a trick to start with: Take out everything in your fridge and pantry that has any form of dairy (cheese, butter, milk, yogurt, sour cream, kefir, etc.), meat, eggs, poultry or seafood. How much is left? If it’s not a lot, don’t be scared – you’re not going to starve; you’ll just need to do a little fun shopping. Head to the store (here’s a great shopping list of healthy foods and tips if you’re on a budget), and purchase plant-based options instead. If you’re going the whole foods, healthy route, then you’ll need nothing more than some whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and all the fruits and vegetables you can get your hands on. You can also use some store bought items that fill in the gaps in a vegan diet (as you’ll see below) to help you veganize your meals more easily.
Let’s veganize your day, shall we?
Keep it Fast, Fresh and Clean for Breakfast
Breakfast is easy to veganize! In fact, it’s my favorite for introducing people to a plant-based meal without telling them. Two simple options are ones everyone can do and they are quick and affordable: oatmeal and smoothies. Those are not your only options, but they are healthy, delicious, filling, and the perfect vehicle for fresh produce like fruits (and greens in green smoothies). If you have a blender, and don’t already love smoothies, then do yourself a favor start making one a few days a week or every day. Smoothies can be made in minutes with some berries, oats, ice, greens, non-dairy milk (like almond or coconut), nut butter, chia or flax, and even some vegan protein powder if you happen to like it. When your body receives high amounts of nutrients in one serving, you are less likely to have unhealthy cravings the rest of the day.
Or, if you want something more creamy and decadent, go for some overnight oatmeal with coconut yogurt, raspberries and walnuts, chia seeds and some flax seeds. Not into overnight oats? Cook yourself up a batch of porridge on the stove and feel free to add a dollop of almond or peanut butter for extra protein and satiety. Other options for breakfast include fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegan yogurt. Simple, fast and easy. See more breakfast meal ideas here.
Make Lunch Simple and Portable
Lunches can be as easy as some hummus spread on your sandwich instead of mayo with some tomatoes, avocados, and cucumber slices with romaine leaves, or it could even be peanut butter and jelly (choose natural unsweetened jam if you can). If you go for a sandwich, try to choose sprouted grain bread instead of bread on the shelf, since it’s made of only whole grains and no refined flours. Or, if you’re not into sandwiches, try a salad with lentils, black beans, or chickpeas with veggies and greens as another excellent idea. Even a simple baked sweet potato stuffed with some salsa, guac, and a side of veggies or salad would be another great option. If you make vegan chili for dinner, you can reheat it the next day for lunch, or, if you make a batch of yummy veggie burgers on the weekend, you’ll have easy eats to enjoy all week for lunch. Paired with some vegan condiments, you’ve got a simple, fast and delicious meal in minutes to take to work or enjoy at home.
SSS for Dinner
Stew, soup and salad are easy to make vegan, and while they’re not the only options (with tacos, burgers, and even pizza as other tasty choices), they are very easy to prepare ahead of time. They’re also a vehicle for multiple ingredients like veggies, greens, beans, and legumes, and they’re normally very healthy for your heart and your waistline. You can even whip up many of them in your blender! If you get tired of one of those, or if you’re super tired and don’t feel like cooking, then see some tips for freezer-friendly meals you can use to reheat a meal in just a few minutes.
Keep Snacks Simple and Fresh
Fruit, nuts, seeds, homemade trail mix, and even cut veggies with hummus are all the perfect snack. You’d be surprised how satisfying something simple like an orange and almonds are, or something like raw almond butter with carrots, not to mention how much more energized you’ll be afterwards in comparison to after you eat something processed or with milk, meat, and other animal products. If you have time, raw energy bites are another healthy, fresh staple to keep on hand for quick snacks. Snacks should be simple, fresh, and as close to nature as possible. This not only likens the chance they’re healthy for you, but will also help you avoid animal products too.
Learn Dairy-Free Tricks for Dessert
While it’s easy to avoid red meat and poultry during dessert, dairy is another issue completely. Found in everything, it hides in most dessert products out there or recipes you might already enjoy. But not to worry, all of our desserts are dairy-free (and vegan) that you can choose from to satisfy you’re cravings. You can also learn how to make dairy-free desserts with your blender, and check out our tips for using avocados, bananas, and even other creamy foods to replace your favorite dairy staples.
And there you go – these tips will easily help you eat a vegan day without even really trying. Remember to focus on whole, plant-based foods at meals and snacks, get yourself an arsenal of easy recipes, and have at it – vegan eating is at your disposal with the very next bite!
Lead Image Source: 10 Fabulous 5 Minute Vegan Meals