Everyday veganism isn’t for everyone (and doesn’t need to be!), but eating vegan at one meal every day for one week is a great way to channel your inner plant lover and enjoy the benefits of clean eating.
There are tons of benefits, and it isn’t nearly as hard as you think.
Consider this: Research shows eating at least one vegan meal a day can help lower your risk of chronic diseases, and that vegans tend to be leaner and have lower cholesterol and blood pressure. When you eliminate animal products you also naturally eat more fiber, which will keep you satisfied and regular. Fruits and veggies provide antioxidants that mop up free radicals, slowing the aging process and improving overall health, while protein sources like beans, lentils, seeds, and tempeh keep you energized.
And eating plants isn’t just good for you, it’s great for Mother Earth, too. In fact, eating less meat (and better meat when you do eat it!) is one of the best ways to protect the planet, according to eco-experts.
Here’s the key: please don’t swap your meaty meal for french fries, potato chips, and processed soy patties. It’s easy to eat unhealthy vegan meals. We’re talking reaching for a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Read more about the basics of healthy veganism, here.
We promise, it won’t be boring. Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat like a bird, and it definitely doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy tasty meals. Invest in a vegan cookbook and browse our vegan recipes for more ideas on how to expand your meal plans and experiment with new ingredients. For example, did you know you could make a pizza crust out of cauliflower? Or “cheese” out of cashews? And hey, there are vegan restaurants everywhere now, so if you’re dining out, there’s bound to be a delicious option.
Ready to go vegan once a day?
What’s in It for You
Excite your palate by experimenting with new veggies you’ve never had before
Lower your risk of chronic disease and live longer
Become a lean, mean, heart-healthy machine!
Help the environment
How to Eat Vegan at One Meal Every Day
1. Start Simple With Foods You Already Eat
Don’t be afraid of the word vegan. You already eat a whole lot of vegan foods without realizing it. Start simple with those foods you already know and love. Create a list and plan a trip to the grocery store at the start of the week. Here, we’ll even make it easier and start a list for you: almonds, cashews, chickpeas, lentils, romaine, spinach, sweet potatoes…
2. Try Breakfast, First
Meat isn’t as much of a breakfast staple, so finding a vegan breakfast you love is easy. Make peanut butter cup oatmeal (yum!) or overnight oats. Mix cooked quinoa with chia seeds and almond milk and top with cinnamon. Or blend up a smoothie with plant protein, like this one that tastes like a coconut cookie or this low-sugar berry-green favorite.
3. Get Creative With Your Salads
Bulk up a green salad with all of your favorite textured veggies, crunchy nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices. (Just remember: no cheese.) If you’ve been feeling good eating a chopped romaine salad with carrots, tomatoes, and peppers topped with grilled chicken, feta, and vinaigrette, an easy transition would be to go for the same chopped romaine and veggies, swap out chicken for chickpeas (about a half cup), and chopped, toasted walnuts for the feta. The chickpeas will keep you full from the fiber and protein and the nuts will provide satiety from the fat, fiber, and protein.
4. Expand Your Horizons
Experiment with new, less familiar foods and try a grain you’ve never had like bulgur or farro as the star ingredient of your main course. Instead of pasta, try making spaghetti squash. Or, say buh-bye to your mainstay turkey burger and opt for a black eyed pea salad instead.
5. Make Smart Swaps
“Veg” up your fave recipes and swap traditional protein with beans, nuts, or organic tofu. This list of 19 delish vegan dinners, for instance, includes a sweet potato shepherd’s pie, general tso’s cauliflower, and vegan sloppy joes. Missing milk and cheese? Try a creamy dairy alternative like cashew milk in your smoothie, cereal, and coffee. Top popcorn with nutritional yeast, and top your Ezekiel toast with coconut butter and cinnamon instead of butter. We’ve also got a genius recipe for coconut bacon. You’re welcome.
(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)