Easy Plant Based Food Swaps
Making the transition into a plant-based diet can be a difficult one. Many doubtful thoughts will pass through your head, like "will I never eat cheese again?", "but I will miss hamburgers", and "how will I eat my morning cereal without milk?", but rest assured, there is a way! Before we get into these swaps, I'd like to point out that many of these foods are considered processed, and aren't things I eat on an everyday basis, but are nice options to have on special occasions, or when first transitioning into this lifestyle. Even if you aren't planning on eating plant-based, it's nice to switch out high-fat and cholesterol ridden products with a healthier alternative from time to time. For those of you thinking that you could never give up some of your favorite foods, consider giving these alternatives a try, you might even find that you like them better!
Cow's Milk for Almond Milk
Almond milk is one of my favorite non-dairy milks on the market. It has a mild taste, creamy texture, and is very low in calories (one 8 oz glass will set you back about 60 calories). If you don't like the taste of almond milk, there are many others to choose from, such as soy, hemp, coconut, cashew, and rice milk. These milks can also work as a great substitute for cow's milk in cooking and baking.
Eggs or VeganEgg
Recently, vegan food company Follow Your Heart has launched their new VeganEgg, and plant-based foodies everywhere rejoiced. This powdered formula, derived from algae, can replace eggs to make delicious omelets, scrambled eggs, quiches and more. Other great alternatives to eggs are chickpea flour or tofu, which can mimic scrambled eggs, and bananas, applesauce, or flax seed, which replace eggs as a binding agent in baking.
Butter for Vegan Butter
There is nothing like the creamy and salty taste of butter, which can be a difficult thing to give up when going plant-based, but products like Earth Balance's Buttery Sticks makes everything much easier. This product mimics the buttery flavor wonderfully, and works great in cooking, baking, and as a spread. I can barely notice the difference when I use these in recipes, and I feel great knowing I'm not adding cholesterol to my food. Of course the fat content is still higher than I'd like, so I make sure to keep this for special occasions.
Hamburger for Veggie Burger
You may have tried veggie burgers before and felt like they fell short from the real deal, but the newest veggie burgers on the market are so realistic it's almost scary! I first tried Beyond Meat's products a few years ago at a food festival in LA and was blown away by the realistic flavor. Veggie burgers are evolving and are no longer the boring, soggy patty, lacking any flavors that resemble a burger. Today's veggie burgers are becoming better and better, and can appeal to even the most die-hard meat lovers.
Cheese for Vegan Cheese
Follow Your Heart is one of my favorite brands for plant-based diary alternative products. They have really great formulas that don't taste like chemicals, which can happen with some cheese alternatives. Another great option to try is cashew cheese, which is so creamy, and mimics the flavor and texture of cheese really well. Last Thanksgiving, I made Mac & Cheese using homemade cashew cheese, and no one believed that it was plant-based because it was so rich and creamy.
I hope you found these swaps helpful and are able to give them a try next time you feel like trying something new. As I said earlier, I don't eat these type of products every day, as they are processed and higher in fat than I prefer, but when I want to make a special dish, or when there's a holiday or birthday, I find these plant-based swaps to be the best option for creating some really delicious meals. I will be following up this post soon with even more swaps, but this time focusing more on healthy, everyday alternatives for a plant-based lifestyle.
Have you ever tried a plant-based diet? Are you currently plant-based? What was your experience? Share with me in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!