1. Eat more
If you’re switching to vegan from an omnivorous diet, it can be hard to get your proportions right. Not getting enough protein in your diet will leave you feeling hungry, so Lyz Swanton, co-founder and COO of food tech start-up Feedr, recommends adding beans, nuts and legumes to your meals to keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you’re still hankering for a late-night snack, dairy-free blogger Nutella Tasha encourages new vegans not to feel bad about eating more: “Allow your body to get used to the change and listen to what it wants. If you feel hungry in the evening, have some fruit or a slice of toast.” Just add vegan butter.
2. Veganise your favourite meals
While being vegan might encourage you to experiment with exciting new dishes, to begin with, it might be easier to veganise your favourite go-to meals. Jane Land, co-founder of Veganuary, flags chilli, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, pizza, fajitas, curry, casseroles and pasta as meals that can easily be tweaked to be vegan with faux meats and cheeses. Once you’ve mastered the basics, start experimenting with Veganuary’s Quick & Easy recipe bank. Don’t think you’ll have to hunt high and low for vegan ingredients, either: try switching out egg pasta for Aldi’s Organic Bean Spaghetti, made with black beans, soy beans and edamame for a twist on your classic spaghetti bolognese – with vegan mince, of course.
3. Stock your cupboards
Before you commit to a vegan diet, cover your bases by stocking your kitchen with vegan versions of staple groceries (and noting the ‘accidentally vegan’ products already in your cupboards). Delphine Chui, one half of organic beauty blog FToxins, replaced butter with organic sunflower spread, her usual slab of cheddar with Violife and milk with alternatives like Aldi almond milk. Once the basics are at your disposal, you’ll find it much easier to get on with your new vegan diet.
Nutritionist Resource member Sonal Shah also recommends stocking up on tinned beans, dark green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts, bread, hummus, dairy-free dark chocolate and nut butter spreads. To add a familiar spicy kick to your dishes, pick up Aldi’s vegan Sriracha Mayonnaise with your weekly shop.
4. Find your support group
If you’re struggling to think of an exciting vegan dinner or just want to check if Oreos really are vegan (good news, they are), Rhian of Rhian’s Recipes advises new vegans to get online: “Facebook groups can be a great source of inspiration. There are lots of people sharing their tried and tested recipes as well as packaged food recommendations, plus it’s a great way to pick up cooking tips and people are really helpful if you have any questions.”
5. Do your research
For mouth-watering vegan brunch inspo and cheap, delicious dinners, make sure you’re following bloggers and Instagram feeds that will inspire your new diet. Jane Land suggests Jack Monroe’s Cooking on a Bootstrap for meals on a tight budget, Vegan Richa for delicious recipes and Wicked Healthy for no-nonsense cooking packed with flavour. Earthling Izzy also recommends investing time flicking through vegan cookbooks and flagging the recipes you’d like to try, while 10-year-strong vegan Laila Woozeer of Tape Parade suggests following vegan or vegetarian brands for non-dairy snack ideas and cooking tips. Don’t dismiss supermarkets, either; Aldi have a tasty vegan recipe page for delicious meal inspo you can make on a budget.
6. Plan in advance
“As with any diet or lifestyle change, preparing ahead will help prevent from falling off the wagon,” says Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. After researching vegan meal ideas, make a weekly plan and fill your cupboards with the ingredients you need. If you have time, bulk cook so, like Helen, you always have a few lunches and dinners in the freezer for times when cooking from scratch isn’t an option.
It’s also a good idea to have a few vegan snacks in your handbag for when you’re on-the-go, but don’t think you have to go out of your way to find them – try stashing a few of Aldi’s Bounce Energy Balls in your handbag to up your protein instake and curb your hunger pangs, or try RAW bars in Cashew Crush or Cranberry and Cherry flavours.
7. Know your subs
When veganising your favourite recipes, it’s useful to know handy swaps. Helen tends to swap butter for vegetable oil and instead of egg tries “apple sauce, banana, flax or linseed, depending on the recipe.” Laila suggests “picking apart recipes a little more than you would normally, meaning that you’ll be able to find a substitute that has the same function. Ask yourself what the non vegan-friendly ingredient is actually doing and when you find a substitute that works, note it down!”