There are many things that others will say or tell you when you mention that you are vegan. Where do you get your protein? Don’t you miss cheese? So you only eat fruits and vegetables, right? After a while you’ll get used to answering these questions graciously and perhaps with a little wit. But sometimes when you first become a vegan it can feel like your choices are limited and you find yourself eating the same things over and over again.
Not only can this get boring, it can lead to being deficient in certain nutrients. Fear not! There are so many options when it comes to a vegan diet that you never have to feel bored and you don’t have to worry about getting all the vital nutrients that you need to be healthy. Here are some ways to vary your diet and enjoy your vegan lifestyle in delicious new ways!
Try to move past packaged foods
When you first start eating a vegan diet, it can be really tempting and easy to rely heavily on packaged products. There are so many out there – even Oreos are vegan. While some packaged foods out there do have some health benefits, many of them are no better than non-vegan processed foods out there. It is much better to eat real and whole food. Not only is this more beneficial to your health, it will help to broaden your cooking skills as well as the variety of foods you can eat. Start small and pick one new food to try each week. Go online and find a simple recipe and learn how to make that dish. Now you have a new food to eat and a new way to cook it! Keep doing this and soon you will have a huge arsenal of healthy and delicious vegan food to make and eat.
Use grains/legumes in new ways
Whole grains, legumes, and beans are a staple in vegan diets and with good reason! They are delicious, healthy, and fairly easy to prepare. Once you have a handle on grains/legumes, try thinking outside the box. Instead of sweet oatmeal mixed with fruit and nuts or seeds, try making a savory oatmeal mixed with salsa and taco seasonings. Or try using quinoa or amaranth as your breakfast. Beans are great in chili and pasta dishes, but they can also be used in desserts like brownies and chocolate chip cookie dough! Start experimenting with using these healthy staples in brand new, and tasty, ways.
Dips, spreads, and sauces, Oh my!
All three of these things will take your meals to the next level. A ho hum salad can become an amazing meal with a splash of delicious dressing. A sandwich can be even more tasty with a smear of hummus. Pasta is a great dish to try a variety of different sauces. There are so many ways that you can use these toppings that you can have a new meal every day by just switching which sauce you use. You can even go sweet with dips. Try mashing a ripe banana with tahini, or any other nut/seed butter you like, and a little cinnamon and now you have a healthy fruit dip. Try new to you dips like mina harissa, edamole, or creamy cashew sour cream and put them on any and everything!
The main thing to keep in mind when you are eating a vegan diet is to choose things that you love and enjoy as well as making sure you are eating as many real, unprocessed foods as possible. If you don’t like tofu, don’t force yourself to eat a ton of tofu. Find other foods that will benefit your health that also bring you joy. Eating a vegan diet should not feel boring or restricted. It should give you energy, zest, and the best health possible!