Your Health

What to Eat During Veganuary and Beyond

What to Eat During Veganuary and Beyond

Veganuary is in full swing, and hundreds of thousands of people across the UK are experiencing the vegan diet for the first time. Veganuary encourages people to use their New Year’s resolution for January to try making the switch to a vegan diet for a month to experience the health and environmental benefits for themselves. 

 

The majority of those who take part in Veganuary would recommend making the month-long pledge, and many continue to eat a vegan diet once the month is over. 

 

If you’re taking part in Veganuary this year, and you’re looking for advice on what food you should be eating to make a healthy and effective switch to a full vegan diet in 2020, look no further! 

 

How to Switch to a Vegan Diet

 

Making the transition to a full vegan diet can initially feel overwhelming. For most people, the easiest way to start the transition to a 100% plant-based diet is to get creative with their current favourite meals, by switching out the meat-based products for vegan alternatives. 

 

Once you feel more confident, you can then begin to branch out and get more adventurous with the food choices in your new diet. 

 

 

Part of committing to a long-term vegan diet is having a kitchen stocked with versatile and tasty ingredients. Don’t feel like you need to try all of them straight away though; use this as a guide to fill your cupboards and fridge over Veganuary and beyond. 

 

What to Eat During Veganuary

 

Vegans don’t just eat spinach and kale, contrary to the belief of some non-vegans. 

 

Nowadays, there are more vegan food substitutes than ever and until you make the switch to a plant-based diet, you may be unaware that many of the foods you have been eating on a daily basis are actually vegan. 

 

As a vegan, you can eat a well-rounded and interesting diet incorporating ingredients from fruits and vegetables to grains and pulses, all of which can be used and combined to create a variety of delicious dishes. 

 

Vegan Protein Sources

 

At this point in Veganuary, you’ve probably been asked multiple times where you’re getting your protein from in a purely plant-based diet. 

 

It’s a misnomer that vegans struggle to get all the protein they need in their diet. Some great sources of protein to try in dishes during Veganuary, include: 

 

  • Tofu – One of the most popular meat substitutes. Add it to vegetables dishes or serve is as the dish itself. 
  • Beans  Rich in protein whether they’re fresh, dried or tinned. 
  • Chickpeas and lentils  Legumes are a really useful protein addition to your meals and can be cooked in a variety of different ways. 
  • Spinach  One of the most nutrient-rich leafy green vegetables, including high protein content. 
  • Broccoli – Can be cooked a variety of ways or eaten raw and it’s great in soups, sauces or side dishes. 
  • Seeds – Can be eaten raw and great for sprinkling on meals, especially cereals and salads. 
  • Nuts – Loads of different varieties – from almonds to cashews – and they’re all rich in protein. 
  • Quorn  Another popular meat substitute and they’ve recently introduced a vegan range. Just make sure you check the label to get the items which don’t contain milk or dairy. 
  • Protein powders – If you are worried about getting enough protein in your new diet, Garden of Life offer a full range of vegan protein powders. 

 

Vegan Dairy Alternatives

 

One of the most frequently cited reasons people give for not being able to go vegan is that they won’t be able to eat dairy products anymore. 

 

But there are now so many dairy replacements on offer for vegans that the world of cheese and ice cream is no longer a no-go zone. 

 

  • Plant-based spreads – There are a wealth of plant-based spread alternatives to butter and margarine. 
  • Dairy-free cheese  One of the fastest growing vegan options in the UK. There are so many dairy free cheese options nowadays, there’s no excuse for not trying some of them. 
  • Plant milk – Soy, rice, almond, oat , coconut, hemp; take your pick. 
  • Yoghurts  Try soy and coconut alternatives. 
  • Ice cream  Another rapidly growing market in the UK, with many major brands offering non-dairy options. 
  • Agave nectar or maple syrup – Both are a great replacement for honey. 
  • Coconut oil  A great alternative to butter in recipes. 
  • Egg replacements – Not dairy but if you’re a baker, it’s worth knowing that flax seeds and chia seeds are a great substitute for eggs to help things bind. 

 

Fruits and Vegetables: Vegan-Friendly Staples

 

All fruit and veg is 100% vegan so you’ve no excuse not to stock up and get loads of colourful fruits and veggies in your diet. 

 

Some of the most nutritious fruits and vegetables to include in a fully vegan diet are apples, broccoli, mushrooms, avocado, sweet potato, peppers, bananas, carrots, spinach, kale, tomatoes, asparagus and citrus fruits. 

 

 

Grains: Vegan-Friendly Staples

 

Grains are naturally vegan which means they’re all easy to incorporate into your new diet. 

 

The best grains to try, include brown, wild or white riceoatspastaquinoaand couscous. 

 

You can also find whole grains in bread and tortillas too. 

 

Vegan-Friendly Seasoning & Condiments

There are a range of vegan cooking alternatives available which you can make use of as you make the switch to plant-based cooking. 

 

  • Vegetable stock – An easy alternative to beef and chicken stock. 
  • Nutritional yeast – Great to add to sauces to add a more cheesy or nutty taste. 
  • Agar agar – A vegan alternative to gelatin. 
  • Oils – Rather than using fat-based oils, switch to plant-based oils like olive oil, coconut oil or vegetable oil. Not only are they vegan, they’re healthier too. 

 

Luckily for us, a number of sauces and condiments are accidentally vegan too. 

 

  • Tomato sauce and ketchup  The majority of tomato ketchup brands are completely vegan so your chips don’t have to go without. 
  • HP Sauce – Brown sauce is 100% vegan too. 
  • Mustard – Most mustard is suitable for vegans. 
  • Egg-free mayo – The majority of brands now offer egg-free mayonnaise options. 
  • Hot sauce – Even though many are made to accompany meat products, the sauce itself is often suitable for vegans. 

 

Vitamin B12 for Vegans

 

Vitamin B12 is an essential mineral to keep your body’s nerve and blood cells healthy, keep bones strong, and maintain good mood and energy levels throughout the day. 

 

Unfortunately, the body cannot produce B12 itself and it is the only essential nutrient found in almost no plant-based foods. 

 

Plant-based foods have no vitamin B12 unless they are fortified. 

 

Vegan sources of vitamin B12 include: 

 

  • Marmite – You either love it or hate it but if you’re a fan of marmite then you’re in luck because it’s a great way for vegans to keep their B12 levels topped up. 
  • Nutritional yeast – A very popular product in the vegan world, as it’s fortified with a range of nutrients including B12 so adding this to your favourite plant-based meals is really useful. 
  • Fortified cereals  Many vegan cereals come fortified with B12 and other essential vitamins. 
  • Fortified milks – Certain plant-based milk brands can also help you meet your B12 needs. 
  • Vitamin B12 supplements – For a quick and easy solution to getting your daily dose of B12, our MyKind B12 organic vitamin spray is perfect. 

 

 

Vegan Omega-3 and Omega-6

 

Again, our bodies don’t naturally produce these essential fats so it’s crucial you get them from your diet. 

 

Omega-3 and 6 fats are generally associated with fatty fish and eggs – great if you’re a pescatarian but not useful for those who have adopted the full vegan diet. Fortunately, there are some plant-based sources of both omega 3 and omega 6. 

 

Omega-3 can be found in flax seedschia seeds and walnuts. 

You can get Omega-6 from sunflower oilsoya oil and most nuts and seeds. 

 

Vegan Calcium Sources

 

Calcium is most typically associated with dairy products. However, it’s a myth that dairy is the only foods you can get calcium from. 

 

There are actually a bunch of plant-based sources of calcium, including kalecollard greenswatercressbroccolifortified plant milksfortified cereals, and soy yoghurt. 

 

Everything You Need to Go Vegan

 

By eating a good mix of these foods, you can ensure you’re getting a well-rounded vegan diet, with all the vitamins and nutrients you need. 

 

If you’re looking for more advice on how to make the switch to a vegan diet, read our 7 essential tips for vegan beginners. 

 

If you’re looking for a bit of extra help to incorporate plant-based protein and supplements into your new vegan diet, explore our full range of vegan vitamins, protein and supplements today. 



Garden of Life

Garden of Life

Writer and expert