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Jessica Mifsud

5 Tips for Veganuary 2021

 

Are you participating in Veganuary’s 31-day challenge this month? How are you doing so far? Do you want to give it a go but don’t know how to start? Well, here are my top 5 tips for going vegan!

What is Veganuary?

Since 2014, Veganuary has been a non-profit organisation that encourages people worldwide to try a vegan lifestyle for the month of January. Veganuary has a great website (click here) that has fantastic resources to educate us about veganism as well as the environment and animal welfare. It’s full of recipes, other ways to get involved and eating guides that include topics such as nutrition. 

Although we are in the middle of January, this 31-day challenge can be tackled at any time of year, it can still be veganuary in February! So here we go, my top 5 tips for trying a new vegan lifestyle...

vegan Yellow curried cauliflower soup

[ Vegan yellow curried cauliflower soup ]

Have an open mind

Going vegan may be quite daunting and thinking about all the foods you can no longer eat can be hard, but adopting a more plant-based lifestyle in 2021 is a whole lot easier then it was 10 years ago. 

There are plenty of options and substitutions that are accessible in your local supermarket. Swapping a couple of ingredients here and there to turn your favourite meals into a vegan meal may not be too much of a hassle.

Stay positive, there’s no such thing as a perfect vegan! You may slip up sometimes and that’s okay, just try again. You’re already doing great by taking part!

Do a little research

There is much misconception that a vegan diet lacks nutrition but that’s not the case as you can get all the nutrition you need from plant-based foods. As mentioned above there are plenty of options and substitutions, you just have to to do a little research to find them.

  • Lentils, beans and soya products such as tofu and tempeh are all great sources of protein and can be a substitute for your meat. 
  • Iron can be found in chickpeas, mushrooms, swiss chard, spinach and nuts & seeds.
  • Broccoli, bok choy, mustard green and plant-based milks are good sources of calcium
  • Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in seaweed, pumpkin seeds, cauliflower and wild rice

There are many more ingredients that will give you all that goodness but there are a few vitamins that are harder to find in foods such as B12 and vitamin D. There are supplements you buy if you want to stay vegan long term. Don’t let misconceptions put you off starting this 31-day challenge.

veganuary protein options

Get inspired!

Go ahead and find inspiration for new dishes to try, no need to eat salads all day, every day! Try looking up different cooking sites such as BBC Good Food, Epicurious and Yummly for different recipes, there are many more out there. 

If you haven’t done so already, have a look at our recipes right here, some are already vegan but all of them can be adjusted to make it a vegan meal. Simply switch the meat to tofu, tempeh or a meatier vegetable like jackfruit or aubergine and use light soya sauce instead of fish sauce. Give them a go this veganuary!

Other ways to get inspired online is through social media. Instagram is great to find new delicious dishes with many putting the recipes in the captions. Try typing hashtags in the search bar like #veganrecipes #veganuary #plantbasedfood and you will find thousands of new ideas. Youtube is equally great to find cooking tutorials that are easy to follow along with. 

Try looking at cookbooks or food magazines for inspiration too. And lastly, get talking, you might have a friend or family member participating in veganuary too. Sharing new recipes with each other will make this challenge more enjoyable and keep you motivated on your journey.

Plan and batch cook your meals

Planning your meals ahead is important, especially in current times where leaving your house should be at a minimum. Making a shopping list can save you time on your trip and remind yourself about the ingredients you need to buy that you may not normally buy. There could be some ingredients in your cupboards that have hidden animal products lurking about, so it’s essential to read the labels and buy replacements.

Cooking in batches is always a good idea as you don’t need to think about 21 different dishes to cook during the week (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Instead, plan around 12-15 different meals and make a little extra for leftovers so it can be enjoyed the following day for lunch or dinner. Curries always taste better the next day too!

Vegan thai panang curry, veganuary recipe

[Tofu Thai Panang curry recipe here]

Treat yourself with snacks and takeaways

Don’t forget about treating yourself with snacks and even takeaways from time to time! When you first start a vegan diet you may find yourself getting hungry more often, but the good news is that there are lots of delicious snacks you can be munching on throughout the day. 

Plant-based meals have fewer calories than meals with meat, so you will need to pick a snack that will fill you a little and keep your energy high. Although a piece of fruit is good and healthy it probably won’t get you to your next meal without getting hangry; bad food choices are made when you’re hangry! 

Try turning it into a small fruit salad, or have a banana with nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew). Maybe dried fruit is more you, pairing it with a handful of mixed nuts and vegan dark chocolate if you are feeling cheeky! 

Let’s talk about takeaways. Ordering takeaway every night is no way to live a healthy lifestyle and also it will be very expensive, but getting a couple in a month won’t harm anyone. There are increasingly more vegan options at restaurants, so I’m sure there will be something vegan at your favourite restaurant/take away place that you should try out!

Make yourself a fakeaway (fake-takeaway), try Chinese, Indian or Thai cuisines. Try our vegan Thai curry pastes and make your own fakeaway at home. With little time, you can prepare and cook a restaurant-quality meal for a fraction of the cost!

I hope these tips help you on your new veganuary journey and comment below your progress or any tips and tricks of your own that you can share with others. Good luck!


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