Easy Swaps for a Plant-Based New Year

As the New Year approaches, so does the season for health and wellness resolutions. Surely some will use 2019 as a launching point into a plant-based diet. Whether you would like to incorporate more plant-centered meals into your routine or are ready to go fully vegan, the swaps below can help simplify the transition.

Dairy Alternatives

  • Milk: Try almond, soy, rice, coconut, oat or hemp milk.

  • Yogurt: Try soy, almond, coconut or cashew based yogurts (soy yogurt or Greek style almond yogurts are my personal favorite due to their higher protein and lower fat content).

  • Cheese: There are vegan cheese alternatives out there for about every type of cheese now and the quality is better than ever. Everything from shredded cheddar style cheese to cultured nut-based soft cheeses can be found. The variety of brands available can be quite diverse in taste and texture so experiment and see which you prefer. Tip: in place of cheese, try avocado sliced on a sandwich or diced in a salad as a creamy and heart-healthy addition.

  • Butter: Replace with olive oil in savory dishes. In baking, replace with oil such as canola oil, grapeseed oil or coconut oil (use refined coconut oil if you want to avoid imparting a coconut flavor). Instead of butter on toast, try nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter for an extra boost of protein and heart healthy fats.

Meat Alternatives

  • Replace meat in a stir-fry with tofu, tempeh or seitan.

  • Replace meat in Mexican entrees like tacos, burritos or tostadas with beans.

  • Replace meat in a salad with beans, nuts or seeds. Try adding garbanzo beans, kidney beans, walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds to your salad for protein. Beans (canned or dried) are a readily available and affordable plant-based protein.

  • Replace sausage with veggie sausage in your favorite Italian dishes or as a pizza topping. Tip: freeze your veggie sausages to prolong their shelf life if you’re only using one at a time.

Eggs Alternatives

  • Replace scrambled eggs at breakfast with a tofu scramble. Tofu can be crumbled and sautéed with your favorite vegetables for a high protein, fiber-filled breakfast.

  • In baking, replace eggs with a flax egg, applesauce, mashed banana, or extra baking powder.

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