Veganism is going mainstream! In America today, veganism has grown by 600% and now 6% of the population identify as vegan. There are many health and environmental benefits to a vegan diet.
If you are thinking of taking the leap to a plant-based way of eating, or simply want to do a Beyonce and go vegan for a short time, here are our top vegan food tips.
Don’t Just Replace Meat Products With Starchy Carbs
While many people (incorrectly) believe that a vegan diet is limiting, plant-based eating is actually incredibly creative and delicious. What is true however, is that a vegan diet requires an overhaul of the kitchen staples with which most Americans are familiar. Before you begin your vegan journey, research vegan recipes and healthy choices to set yourself up for success. Don’t start overdosing on pasta, fries and bread -- it won’t make you feel (or look) good and you’ll wind up being constantly hungry.
Prep Your Pantry
Instead, prep your pantry by packing your kitchen cupboards full of lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, quinoa and whole grains. Try to make vegetables the main event of your meals... Fill your fridge with an array of hearty vegetables like kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and collards. Eating these healthy, whole foods will give your body the vital nutrients and antioxidants it needs and keep you feeling full.
Avoid Frozen Meals and Most Convenience Foods
If you’re just starting out, it might seem tempting to fill your freezer with pre-prepared vegan pizza, store bought veggie burgers or other ready meals. While these foods might be ok on occasion, most of the time you’ll find they’re a poor substitute for the meat versions you used to enjoy. Eating these types of meals won’t inspire you to stick to your new plant-based way of eating. Instead, get insta-inspired and check out some awesome vegan recipes and chefs on instagram for vegan motivation and delicious eats.
Change Your Food Shopping Habits
The traditional grocery store now has more vegan options than ever but they can be quite pricey. Buying your grains, beans, and nuts in bulk from costco or amazon will save you money. So too will visiting the farmer’s market shortly before closing time (where you’ll pick up a ton of discounts). Also consider joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to support local farmers, eat fresh, seasonal produce and cut down on food miles. When you join a CSA, you are purchasing a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly or bi-weekly, from June until October or November, they’ll deliver your produce to a convenient drop-off location near you. Typically you pay for an entire season upfront (around $450-$650) and then each week you’ll receive a variety of fresh, seasonal veg to feed your household.
Pack Your Snacks
While vegan snacks are becoming increasingly available, a big tip is to make sure you always have a snack with you in case hunger strikes when the vegan options around are slim pickings. Carrying energy bars, nuts, or crackers will help you stay strong when you go on long road trips or vacations.
Following a vegan diet certainly requires some lifestyle changes. However, buy following the above tips, you’ll find the journey much easier and far more rewarding.