It is advisable to move to the vegan side of life for so many reasons, the most important being the health benefits. However, going vegan is not as easy as we would like it to be. First, it is a little expensive to completely go vegan; secondly, staying committed to a vegan diet can be hard as meat is very enticing.
If you are about to go vegan, or you just started, here are a couple of pieces of advice that can help you maximize your vegan meal diet.
Don’t make a lot of food
Vegan food at the early stages is not exactly pleasant to the taste buds. Half the time, you may feel like you do not want to swallow. If you start with so much vegan food, you will end up throwing some of it away. Also, if you had been a very meaty person from the beginning, it is advisable to slowly ease yourself into the vegan life instead of going cold turkey on the meat. You can start by eating one meat and more vegetables a day, instead of veggies and no meat.
Eat as much fiber as you can.
During your initial days of following a completely vegan diet, you might come across the sensation of not being full. You might feel hungry right after a meal. Part of this may be your brain craving a processed snack to munch on, or it might be because you are depriving your body of fiber.
When you go vegan, it’s easier to load up the fiber in your diet. Do just that. Eat your portion of grains, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables such as carrots, apples, dates, nuts, and seeds. Once you consume these foods in the required quantity, your body will automatically give up the cravings for processed foods, and you’ll remain satiated for a long time.
Buy things in bulk
Yes, going vegan is a little on the high side; however, it does not mean that your plan is completely useless. Instead of getting small packs of veggies when you get to the market, you should get veggies in bulk and store them. This way, you have enough food items even when your finances are not looking up. Also, buying in small chunks will cost more and serve you less eventually.
Make your meals
It is tempting to order vegan meals because you do not think you can make them yourself. However, making your vegan meals is cheaper and gives you the chance to find out what you would like. With vegan meals, it is not a one-size-fits-all situation; sometimes, your system may not like what is on the menu. When you prepare your meals yourself, you are open to a variety of meal testing, and from there, you can find the ones you like best. There are a lot of vegan recipes on the internet you can try out in your free time.
When you switch to vegan, you will have a lot of vegetables and fruits to chop for your meal. This can be a tiring task. Additionally, as you are new to the vegan world, you might have limited knowledge of the recipes. Thus, to ensure your food gets prepared on time, start prepping your meals and deciding on the recipes beforehand. This will give you an upper hand and save a lot of time from your daily schedule. Another benefit would be that since you have a good time in hand, you will get to prepare new meals every day, thus not getting bored of any of the vegan dishes.
Keep track of your protein intake.
Protein is another macronutrient that plays a vital role in keeping you full for a long time and helps build the necessary muscles in your body. When you turn vegan, there’s a high chance that you may not be able to reach your daily recommended protein intake from food.
Even before you turn completely vegan, try replacing your animal-based protein with plant-based protein like tofu. Get accustomed to the taste and keep a tab on the macros for that particular meal. This will help you plan the meals and reach the required protein levels once you become completely vegan.
Eat a variety of dishes.
Instead of relying on one to two recipes, try out a variety of recipes. Even if you are trying out vegan dishes or are at the initial stages of turning vegan, make sure you play with the ingredients and try creating recipes that imitate the non-vegan dishes you used to eat. This is one way to get over the constant cravings you get.
Make a meal plan
So eating the right vegan meals may require some planning because it is not a basic cereal-in-a-bowl food that you can throw up together in the morning. It requires tentative planning unless you are ordering in. Making a meal plan will help you get the most out of your vegan journey.
If you store them well, leftovers from dinners can make perfect breakfasts. Instead of throwing away the small veggies left after dinner, save them and have a light vegan breakfast the next day. This way, you are saving food and then maintaining your vegan diet.
Go for lentils and beans.
If you are worried about protein since you cannot have meat; lentils and beans will give you all the protein you need. They are the best bet at getting a good amount of protein as a vegan, and they are easy to prepare, especially the beans which come canned.
Switch onto whole grains instead of refined grains.
Many a time, you tend to stick to the vegan pasta and noodle recipes simply because it’s easy to prepare. Switch it out for whole grains like rice and quinoa. It’s way more nutritious and keeps you full for a long time.
The best part is that you can play around with flavors by altering only a few elements. As for quinoa, you can prepare a variety of salad bowls by mixing the available vegetables and some quinoa and using a dressing your taste buds crave. The meal is quite easy to prepare and doesn’t make you feel that you are eating a vegan meal.
Don’t think that vegan foods are healthier than your regular diet.
There’s a popular misconception that vegan foods are much healthier than non-vegan varieties. This is totally wrong. Also, our body associates anything ‘healthy’ with a bland taste and boring to look at. So erase this misconception from your mind because some vegan foods are unhealthier than their non-vegan counterparts.
Your target is to focus on consuming quality and a variety of vegan foods that are minimally processed and make it easy for your body to absorb the nutrients.
Well, that’s our bits of advice to help you go full throttle on vegan meals. You need not go vegan overnight. Start slow, maintain the pace, and slowly transition. Your body and your taste buds would get easily accustomed to it.
Going vegan is one of the best choices you can make for yourself; it is healthy and good for the environment. However, it is not an easy lifestyle change to make, and it can leave you wondering if you are getting the best out of it or not. The pieces of advice above should help you fully maximize your vegan meal diet.
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