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More and more people in the UK are trialling a vegan lifestyle, reportedly around 542,000 and growing. The motivations vary from health concerns to animal welfare, environmental reasons to those keen to follow the trend. If you're contemplating adopting a plant-based plate, we've got some helpful tips and guidance on becoming vegan and altering your diet.
The best way to go vegan is to not jump straight to cold turkey (or tofu!) It's much easier to gradually phase out meat, dairy and eggs from your diet than to dive in the deep end with no idea what to replace them with. Why not try going vegan for two or three days a week? Or only eating vegan lunches? That way you'll get a sense of how difficult it would be for you and what to expect.
Our guide to a balanced diet for vegans also explains the everyday nutritional needs to keep you happy and healthy.
Planning is key
Think about what you have on an average day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then, think about what you could substitute. Try replacing one of your meals e.g. lunch or dinner with a vegan alternative as an easy intro to veganism. Read up and research everything you'll need to make sure your diet complete in the absence of meat, dairy and eggs. It may be the case that you need more B12, iron or zinc in the form of supplements.
In terms of cooking, a good place to start is your main meal of the day. Our vegan dinner collection has 48 tasty recipes that range in difficulty and prep time. Peruse and pick what's right for you. These meals are hearty, filling and just happen to be vegan. For example, our vegan 'cheesy' leek crumble and vegan shepherd's pie are sure to be family favourites. Check out our vegan pasta collection for more filling main meal options.
Give these hearty vegan one-pots a try...
On your shop, get used to reading the labels for any sneaky non-vegan products. You'll also need to budget carefully as even though you're not buying meat, being vegan can be equally expensive, particularly if you're buying ready-made products.
Find delicious vegan recipes
Time to practice your cooking skills! There are plenty of tasty veggie packed recipes out there, so why not plan your weekly dinners and test out your cooking expertise? Make sure you're packing in the veggies, pulses and protein. Rather than thinking of this as a restrictive diet, think of it as an opportunity to try new recipes and cooking methods.
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You can also impress your family and friends by whipping up a delicious vegan dessert from our sweet collection. These vegan cherry & almond brownies are so squidgy, dense and delicious you'd never guess they're vegan-friendly.
As a treat, why not branch out and find a restaurant with stunning vegan options? Most mainstream restaurants will have at least one or two vegan items on their menus.
Get snack happy
Bring in your own treats and snacks to stave off hunger and keep yourself topped up with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Bring in a stash of fruit and nuts for when you get peckish, read up in our guide about the health benefits of different nuts. These salted caramel biscuit bars will give everyone in the office serious food envy.
Try these vegan snacks...
Get to know your vegan substitutes
It's worth investigating different vegan substitutes such as tofu, vegan quorn products, vegan cheeses, soy and nut milks and mayos to see if you can convert some of your favourite dishes. Try your hand at making vegan cashew cream cheese, it's simpler than you might think with no cooking involved.
Our guide to five vegan ingredients you've never heard of will give you inspiration. Some of these handy storecupboard ingredients such as aquafaba and nutritional yeast could be worth stocking up on.
Experiment and enjoy!
Get to know the world of vegan cooking and baking and experiment with a whole host of new recipes.
Find out how to have a balanced diet as a vegan.
Find more delicious vegan recipes...
What are your tips for becoming vegan? Let us know in the comments below...