7 Easy Plant-based Swaps for a Healthier Diet
The vegan lifestyle is in. Whether it’s the full-on vegan lifestyle for you or just mixing up ingredients for a healthier diet – there are a lot of pros by swapping out animal products for plant-based alternatives.
We all know there are lots of benefits to an animal product-free lifestyle. First, eating fewer animal products – especially meat – also reduces your personal carbon footprint (and maybe one day our planet’s, too!). If done correctly, it’s also very healthy for you, because it fills you up on all the good veggies, fruits and nuts your body definitely needs (if you’re not allergic, that is.)
For those of you who are new to the vegan diet, finding alternatives – and knowing what to do with them – isn’t always easy. We’ve come up with a list of handy plant-based products that will help ease you into a more sustainable nutrition.
- Yoghurt and cream: Soy
Gasp! Shock! Soya! Yes, we’re starting this list with the most obvious alternative: soya milk. Soy alternatives come in all shapes and forms: from breakfast yoghurt to shakes and even cream cheese. It’s an easy swap right of the bat: for example, if you’re still new to the soya yoghurt experience (and its taste) you can mix up with fresh berries and some agave syrup!
Also a great swap: soya cream. Some tasty dinner meals just need a creamy sauce, and there’s certainly options to reach the level of creaminess you’re used to by swapping to soya cream. Nowadays, there are many different brands offering a range of different cream products – just have some fun trying them out (We’ve heard cashews have quite a lot of fans!). I’m sure you’ll find your favourite!
- Creamer: That alternative for your coffee on the go
You might have seen the increasingly growing list of plant-based milk alternatives in your local coffee shop. Big brands like Starbucks and Costa have had them for a couple of years. For some, you may pay a little extra, but there’s usually at least one swap that’s free of charge. You may wonder why there are so many nowadays, and the answer is quite simple: carbon emissions. Dairy production still has a significant impact on the planet’s ecosystem and offering a variety of different alternatives from different sources takes off some of that impact. Also, it also accommodates those with allergies or food intolerances, as not every plant-based swap works for everyone. Why don’t you try an alternative on your next trip to your favourite coffee shop?
- Butter: Oil and Avocados
This one is one of the easiest swaps. If you use a lot of butter for cooking, try exchanging it for an oil – obviously, rapeseed, sunflower and olive oil are the main choices, but there are plenty out there with extra flavours, such as garlic or chili oil, to spice up your dinner! Additionally, avocado is a great swap on your toast.
If you’re not a fan of either, you can also find plant-based margarine in pretty much every supermarket, which is also ideal for baking.
Jackfruit is a great alternative for traditionally meat-based recipes! You can buy it fresh from the grocer or, for the lazier among us, stock up on canned jackfruit to be whipped out whenever needed. It’s THE go to ingredient for a vegan pulled-pork, but it works great with other recipes like stir-fries, a topping in tacos or even stuffed potatoes, too!
Okay, this one sounds like a magic spell, and it certainly works a bit like one! Aquafaba nothing else than the water that’s left when you drain a can of bean, but it’s actually really great! It works as a great egg white substitute – so whenever your recipe calls for egg white, you can swap it for some aquafaba instead! It can be whipped just like you’d do with normal egg wipes, meaning you can magic up some great vegan macarons or meringue for your next birthday party.
- Nutritional yeast
Vegans never fail to amaze us! Did you know that you can create a tasty vegan cheese sauce from nutritional yeast? Many of us crave that melting piece of happiness, but there are some that can’t digest normal cheese due to an intolerance or an allergy. Nutritional yeast is absolutely dairy free, and you can whisk it with some flour and spices into a tasty cheesy sauce.
- Maple and Agave syrup
Going vegan (even for just a month) also means no honey in your tea or on your pancakes. There are a lot of super easy alternatives out there! Maple syrup, of course, is THE golden syrup you’d want for your pancakes, and agave syrup – also made from a plant – blends perfectly with hot drinks – even coffee… Definitely our cup of tea!
Do you think something is missing on our list? Let us know in the comments!