6 Simple Plant-based Swaps
Making the choice to eat more plant-based may feel a little overwhelming at first, just like anything else that's new to you or you don't know a ton about. But don't let that little bit of intimidation get the best of you...you can totally conquer the plant-based lifestyle with a little work, knowledge, and determination.
A great approach to set you up for success is making SWAPS rather than eliminations.
Don't focus on cutting out meat or getting rid of dairy. Instead, think of the things you eat in your normal day-to-day and then take those and substitute plant-based, meat & dairy-free swaps for them.
Here are some common meat & dairy foods that are staples in the traditional American diet & plant-based alternatives that can take their place.
#1 Swap. Scrambled eggs to Tofu scramble.
Just press some extra firm tofu, chop it up with some fresh veggies, add some herbs & spices, cook it up in a nonstick skillet, & VIOLA...scrambled 'eggs'.
You can even add some turmeric powder to give it that yellow color, while adding some anti-inflammatory goodness to your go-to brekkie or brunch.
#2 Swap. Grated cheese to Nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast has become a GODSENT for me.
Before I started my #Vegan journey, I thought cheese would be 1000% the hardest thing for me to give up, because, man, I LOVED cheese.
Giving it up wasn't the hardest thing in the world, but I didn't even know about nutritional yeast when I cut out cheese. BUT THEN...I was introduced to the glorious, deliciousness that is nutritional yeast.
Talk about a game changer.
It's like grated parmesan in texture, plus the taste of cheddar, minus the saturated fat...all tossed into one. It's loaded with protein and vitamin B12, which is super important to make sure you're getting enough of while on a Vegan diet, especially, but when following a more plant-based diet, too.
It's creamy when warm and goes great in pasta, on salads, and my favorite way...as a popcorn topper. YUM!
#3 Swap. Dairy milk to Plant-based/nut milk.
You choices are endless here. There's almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk, etc. etc. etc. Any of these work as great substitutes for traditional dairy milk...with cereal, baking, oatmeal, etc. And as long as you choose an unsweetened version of these, you'll consume fewer calories & sugar. Although, soy and oat milk can be a little higher in calorie, but higher in protein, too.
#4 Swap. Meat patties to Plant-based patties.
Meat patties can really pack on the calories, fat, sodium, and even cholesterol. There are so many plant-based options now that you can swap for instead. You can grill up a big portobello mushroom cap...that's an AMAZING swap.
Or, opt for a veggie burger instead. There's black bean, California style, Tex-mex...so many varieties you can choose from—BUT, read your labels and take note of the ingredients. Keep in mind that just because something is labeled as 'plant-based' or 'Vegan' doesn't mean it's optimal for your health!
#5 Swap. Eggs to Chia seeds.
This is my favorite baking staple swap. I use this swap for tons of my recipes, like cookies, muffins, cakes, etc.
If you soak chia seeds in water, they can absorb up to 9 times their weight. Soaking the seeds turns them into a gel, which makes for a great substitute for an egg when it comes to baking.
Take 1 tbsp chia seeds, dump them into a small cup, pour in 1/3 cup water, let that soak for 1 hour *or longer*, and that's the equivalent to one egg. Behold, the 'Chia Egg'.
#6 Swap. Salad Swap: Chicken to Chickpeas & Beans.
Chicken is without a doubt a go-to source of protein for tons of people.
It's super common to add chicken to a salad to bump up your protein intake & make a salad feel more like a true meal, rather than just a side dish or a starter.
A fool-proof swap for diced chicken on a salad is chickpeas or any beans/legumes.
Chickpeas and beans are great sources of not only protein, but fiber too! So, adding either to your salad, instead of the chicken, will still keep you full. Plus, you get the added bonus of promoting healthy movement throughout your system.
We all like a good bowel movement, whether we're willing to admit it or not.
So, there ya have it!
Six easy, fool-proof swaps to help ease the process of switching to a more
plant-based approach of eating that'll promote healthy habits & a healthy mindset.
Hope these swaps help! Reach out with any questions. :)