Would you love to eat more healthily but can’t quite find the time? The hectic modern lifestyle doesn't have to lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Did you know that cutting out meat, dairy and eggs could cut your chances of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer – and could even add years to your life expectancy? Of course, if you replace meat with chocolate éclairs and chip butties you’re unlikely to reap maximum health benefits. The key is choosing healthy meat substitutes, such as tofu and other ‘mock meats’, beans, peas, lentils, wholegrain products (brown rice, oats, wholegrain bread), plenty of fruit and vegetables - including dark green leafy veggies, plant milks, nuts and seeds. But going vegan needn’t mean learning enough new recipes to fill an encyclopedia. Many familiar dishes such as Spaghetti Bolognese, chilli and stir-fries can easily be 'veganised' – made vegan! Most people have about seven or eight dishes that they cook regularly and, surprise surprise, vegetarians and vegans are no different.
Check out Viva!Health’s guide to transforming everyday meals into top vegan tucker below.
Find products via our L-Plate Vegan Guide, Everyone's Going Dairy-free Guide and hundreds of recipes on the Vegan Recipe Club. Or just make a start with the 30 Day Vegan, a month's worth of recipes, health tips and more!
And to make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need, we summarised it all in a neat package on vegan nutrition here.
It couldn't be easier and don't forget – we are always happy to help!
|Cereal with milk and fruit served with orange juice||Cereal with plant milk eg soya/almond/rice and fruit, served with orange juice|
|Scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, cup of tea||Scrambled tofu, wholemeal toast, vegan sausage (eg Linda McCartney, VBites or Fry's), cup of tea with plant milk of your choice|
|Pancakes and maple syrup||Pancakes (egg and dairy-free) and maple or agave syrup with fresh fruit|
|Chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mayo; yogurt; crisps||Smoked tofu or hummus sandwich with lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo, eg Tiger Tiger or Plamil; fruity soya yoghurt (eg Alpro, Tesco, Sojade); piece of fruit. Or Avocado & Walnut Toast with Tomato, Coriander and vegan mayo (see picture)|
|Chicken soup, bread, green salad and vinaigrette||Vegetable or minestrone soup, wholemeal bread, green salad with low-fat dressing. Lots of chilled and tinned soups are suitable, just read the labels. Amy's Kitchen range is very good.|
|Burger and chips||Vegan veggieburger in a wholemeal roll, chutney and vegan mayo with extra portion of salad - beanburgers are sold everywhere and are usually vegan. Fry's make delicious 'meaty' style burgers – beef and chicken-style – in Holland & Barrett and other health food shops. Many burger outlets offer a vegan version, just ask!|
|Sausage Sarnie||Veggie Sausage Sarnie on wholemeal bread, tomato/brown sauce and salad – see above for brands, but also Dee's, available from Ocado|
|Grilled salmon, boiled new potatoes with butter; asparagus with parmesan cheese||Grilled giant field mushrooms drizzled with olive oil, garlic and quality soya sauce (GF tamari or regular shoyu); boiled new potatoes with basil and black pepper; grilled asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and nutritional yeast flakes or Violife melting block cheese|
|Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread||Veggie Bolognese (substitute frozen vegan veggie mince for meat, eg Linda Mac and most supermarket own-brands). Serve with crusty bread and green salad|
|Quiche Lorraine, chips and salad||Deluxe Vegan Cheese & Broccoli Quiche, baked potato or low-fat potato wedges and salad. Or Mama Cucina GF and vegan quiches (Holland & Barrett or online)|
|Chicken Chow Mein||Tasty Veg & Tofu Stir-fry with Mustard Peanut Sauce|
|Chilli Con Carne||Viva!'s Classic Chilli Non Carne (substitute frozen vegan mince for meat), guacamole, rice and salad|
|Bangers and Mash||Bangers and Mash – vegan sausages (see above for brands), mashed potatoes creamed with vegan margarine and soya milk; steamed greens and gravy|
Find products in our Everyone’s Going Dairy-free guide and hundreds of recipes on the Vegan Recipe Club. Or just make a start with the 30 Day Vegan program, a month’s worth of recipes, health tips and more.
If banishing a beer belly appeals then look no further. Researchers at the American Cancer Society studied more than 75,000 people for a decade to find out which behaviours were most associated with an increasing waistline. Even after controlling for other factors, people who ate more than a single serving of meat per day were 50 per cent more likely to put on weight around their middles (the most unhealthy way to carry fat) than those who ate meat just a few times per week.
A Rough Guide to Healthy Portion Sizes:
It’s easy to make sure that you’re getting a balanced diet with Viva!Health’s pin-up and keep guide. Healthy eating is simply a matter of recognising what constitutes a healthy portion size and knowing how many servings to eat on a daily basis. Place special emphasis on eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day and you won’t go far wrong. For more information, see our handy collection of wallcharts here: www.vivahealth.org.uk/resources/wallcharts.
|Number of servings||Food||Healthy portion size||To provide|
|At least 5 (aim for 8)||Fruit and vegetables||Folate, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Fibre|
|Fresh fruit||1 medium piece the size of a tennis ball|
|Dried fruit||1-1½ tablespoons or 1 golf ball|
|Green or root veg||2-3 tablespoons or ½ tennis ball|
|Salad veg||80g or 1 large cereal bowl|
|3 or 4||Cereals and grains||Energy, Fibre, B Vitamins, Calcium, Iron, Protein|
|eg Cooked brown rice, cous-cous or other grains||2-3 heaped tablespoons or ½ teacup|
|Breakfast cereal||25g or 1 regular sized cereal bowl|
|Wholemeal pasta||1 cup (cooked) as side dish or 2 cups as main dish|
|Wholemeal bread||2 slices|
|2 or 3||Pulses, nuts or seeds||Protein, Energy, Fibre, Calcium, Other Minerals|
|Peas, beans and lentils||
½ cup (cooked)
|Nuts or seeds||2 tablespoons or a small handful|
|Small amounts||Vegetable oil, margarine||Essential Fatty Acids*, Energy, Vitamin E (Vegetable oils), Vitamin A & D (Fortified Margarine)|
|Some||Foods fortified with vitamin B12 eg yeast extract or fortified soya milk|
Also try to drink one to two litres (at least eight glasses) of water each day.
*Ditch fish from your diet! Omega-3 fats are found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli; some nuts, especially walnuts; seeds, especially flaxseed (also called linseed), chia, hemp and rapeseed, and oils extracted from these foods. One teaspoon of flaxseed oil, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds or a handful of walnuts daily will provide you with sufficient omega-3 fats. These fats are easily damaged by light or heat so try and keep these foods refrigerated and use them cold, for example on cold vegetable/rice/pasta salads and so on. Alternatively, try an algae-based omega-3 supplement (algae are sea plants that the fish eat and get omega-3s from and less polluted!). Olive and rapeseed oil are the best to use when cooking as they are much less prone to heat damage.