As vegans we’re used to being aware of what we put in our mouths, but the myriad contradicting advice about what makes a nutritious diet can be confusing for some. In this article you’ll find some easy swaps to give you a healthy head start.
Eat a Rainbow
Fruit and vegetables not only contain vitamins and minerals vital to health, but also amazing compounds called antioxidants that have many benefits for us. It’s these antioxidants that give food its colour. The more colourful your meals the better – think red, green and orange at every meal.
- Sweet potato over regular potato
- Red and yellow peppers instead of green peppers
- Colourful berries like blueberries and goji berries for sweetness rather than dried fruit like raisins and sultanas
When we talk about fibre, we tend to think of bran, which keeps us regular. This is insoluble fibre, and while important, it’s only half the story. Soluble fibre is found in plants and may help control cholesterol.
- Wholemeal bread, pasta and rice instead of their white counterparts for insoluble fibre
- Oats, beans, apples, kale, chia and flax seeds provide soluble fibre
Don’t Avoid Fat!
Although we’re conditioned to think fat is bad for us, the story isn’t quite so simple. We need certain types of fat for healthy immune and cardiovascular systems and glowing skin. Omega 3 fats tend to be especially low in our diets because food manufacturers remove them as they don’t keep well.
- Walnuts and pumpkin seeds instead of peanuts
- Flaxseed oil as a salad dressing rather than readymade
- Coconut oil instead of sunflower oil for cooking – it’s more stable when heated
Slow Down on Soya
Soya beans are a great source of protein, but there are also other options to consider too.
Explore options such as:
- Almond milk or oat milk instead of soya milk
- Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, broad beans and quinoa for protein instead of processed soya protein
- Coconut yogurt – a delicious alternative to soya yogurt
Keep Ready Meals for Treat Days
It’s tempting to reach for a ready meal, especially when you’re in a hurry – and there are some fantastic vegan ready meals out there! Try to cook from fresh the majority of the time, if you can, and have pre-cooked meals for treats or when you’re in a rush.
- Keeping a supply of fresh veggies in the fridge and whip up a stir fry in minutes
- Ordering a local vegetable box delivery
- Cooking healthy meals in batches and freeze portions for when you’re short of time
By choosing foods packed with nutrients we can do the very best for our health
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If you’re inspired, check out this guest post full of more advice on vegan swaps.