3 Ways To Make Your Vegan Diet Healthy and Delicious
With Veganuary just around the corner, many people are considering starting to eat vegan, or at least incorporating more plant-based foods into their diet. So, we are here to give you some advice on how to make sure that your vegan diet is healthy as well as delicious! You can get healthier and lose weight in a healthy way without compromising on the taste of your food. The health benefits of a vegan diet have been widely recognised, so making the effort to eat more plant-based foods is certainly a good idea.
Make Meat Substitutes Yourself
The first thing that you can do to make your vegan diet both healthy and delicious is to make your own meat substitutes. It is fantastic that supermarkets offer amazing meat substitutes which are easily accessible and taste amazing, but it is best to eat these in moderation as some can contain quite high levels of fat, making them no healthier than meat alternatives. So, eating these sometimes and then making some of your own meat substitutes is the best way forward!
We have an amazing recipe to make vegan ‘ground beef’ that can be used to make burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, chilli, spaghetti bolognese, tacos and so much more. This is just one option and there are so many others out there to make delicious meat alternatives. For this recipe, you will need 400g of cooked brown lentils, 425g of whole cooked beetroots, 200g mushrooms, 1 onion, 50g nutritional yeast, 50g flour (oat or almond works well), 3 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Start by blending the lentils, beetroots, mushrooms and onion to create a near smooth paste. Transfer this to a bowl and combine with the dry ingredients.
Your mixture is now ready to use as a beef alternative in any dish! This will keep in the fridge for around 2 days and in the freezer for 6 months, so you could pre-shape some burgers and meatballs to have on hand in the freezer. There’s around 12g of protein per 100g in this mixture which is a great contribution to your daily protein needs.
Be Conscious Of Your Vitamin Intake
Next up, it is essential that you are conscious of your vitamin intake. Whilst it is definitely possible to access most of the vitamins you need through a plant-based diet, there are some vitamins that you might need to supplement. Eating a varied diet containing plenty of fruit and vegetables of all different colours, including plenty of leafy greens, should help you to consume the majority of vitamins and minerals that you need.
However, plant-based diets lack some vitamins that can be found in plant-based foods, but in small amounts, such as iron, vitamin D and vitamin B12. So, taking iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D tablets, or a multivitamin containing these things, can help you to give your body the additional fuel it needs!
Eat Plant-Based Protein
Another thing you should do to make your plant-based diet healthy and fulfilling is to eat more protein. Many people struggle to eat enough protein on a plant-based diet, but this is usually because they’re not sure where to find it! It is really simple to incorporate plant-based protein into your diet, without just having to rely on tofu.
Lentils have 9g of protein per 100g and are so easy to incorporate into your diet. You can add them to soup, pasta sauces, curries, salads and casseroles. Green and red lentils cook in 15-20 minutes, so if you are cooking something with a sauce, add them around 20 minutes before the food is done! When blended up into soup or sauce, you won’t be able to feel the texture or taste the lentils at all, so this is a great option if you aren’t a big fan of lentils but want some additional protein. For the lentil lovers out there, you can boil the lentils separately, flavour them and then add to anything you want!
Chickpeas are another great choice that can easily be added to plenty of recipes for a delicious meat substitute, plus there is 19g of protein per 100g! You could make chickpea fajitas, add chickpeas to your curry, make burgers, crispy roasted chickpeas to add to salads, homemade houmous, bean chilli or chickpea fritters. Having a few tins of chickpeas ready to go in your cupboard will give you plenty of options for your lunches and evening meals!
Whilst many people aren’t keen on tofu to begin with, once you know how to cook it properly, it might just become your go to! To cook the actual tofu, dry it off, cut it into bite size chunks, coat in cornflour and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes. This will make it light and fluffy in the middle whilst also being crispy on the outside. For the flavours, you can go in any direction! You could add seasoning to the cornflour such as salt and pepper, garlic and paprika or jerk seasoning. An alternative would be to add the crispy tofu to a sauce like sweet and sour or a curry so you have the perfect combination of crispy tofu and a lovely sauce. If you haven’t been keen on tofu before, give it another go and you might just change your mind.
We are just getting started with these recommendations as there are so many other directions to go in with plant-based protein! These things are both delicious and healthy, so you will definitely find a new favourite as an alternative to meat.