Easy Plant-based Food Swaps for a Healthier You

There are plenty of good reasons to include more plant-based meals in your diet, but for many people, actually making the change is easier said than done. Read on for a few everyday plant-based food swaps you can make to become more plant-based, and start eating a little healthier.

People tend to think of adding more plant-based foods to their daily intake in temporary terms, but eating your greens is important beyond Veganuary or any short-lived dietary fad.

Going plant-based is super-important for two reasons:

  • It’s better for your health – lots of plant-based foods are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • It’s better for the environment – eating two plant-based meals a day cuts your food-related carbon emissions by 50% (more on that here)

It’s easy to despair at the thought of not eating meat, but the good news is you don’t need to give it up completely or go ‘Full-Vegan’ to achieve this, or even miss it if those swaps are super tasty.

Ready to eat a bit healthier? Read on for some simple plant-based swaps you can make to give your diet an overhaul.

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Shake Up Your Breakfast

Unless you’re someone who goes for bacon and/or eggs most mornings, it’s likely that your breakfast is already mostly plant-friendly.

Even so, you can still make a number of swaps to try making nutritious options like overnight oats a breakfast staple. These can be made the night before, in bulk, and are practically a blank canvas for all sorts of fruits, nuts, spices, and seeds.

Top tips for a nutritious plant-powered breakfast:

Toast: swap out white bread (refined grains lacking in vitamins and minerals) for brown bread (packed with healthier wholegrains and several vitamins and minerals)

Dairy alternatives: swap out milk for oat milk (or almond… or soy…) in your tea, coffee, or cereal. For more info, check out our Top 10 Plant-Based Milk Alternatives guide – from Alpro to Oatly, we’ve got you covered.

If nothing else… there’s always Huel. Fun fact: a Huel Powder or Black Edition shake makes for a quick, easy, calorie-controlled (two scoops is only 400kcal) breakfast option.

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Smarter Snacking

Try looking at your meals-between-meals for opportunities to add more good stuff to your diet. There are a bunch of ways you can curb your cravings, but if you do need to snack (no judging here – we’ve all done it), here’s a few simple healthy plant-based swaps you can make...

Top tips for healthier, plant-based snacking:

Nuts and seeds: nutrient-dense and a great source of fat, fibre, and protein

Fruit: if you’ve got a sweet tooth, swap sweets and chocolate for fresh or dried fruit to get a midday boost of vitamins and minerals

Vegetables: crudités, anyone?

Berries, bananas, carrot batons, and cucumber sticks make for perfectly good snacks, and are far more nutritious than other heavily marketed snacks, even the allegedly ‘healthy’ ones. For more on healthy snacking, check out our guide.

But, of course, if you’re looking for a snack that contains all the carbohydrates, protein, essential fats, fibre, phytonutrients, and essential vitamins and minerals you need, then look no further than the Huel Bar.

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Eating Healthy at Home

In our age of instant consumption, eating out has become the norm (although that might not be the case for everyone during a pandemic...). Whether it’s fine dining, fast food, or a grab-and-go lunch from a coffee shop or supermarket, people are leaving the home for at least one meal a day.

This isn’t to say that eating out is a bad thing, but your options aren’t always going to be the most nutritious. If you’re trying to eat healthier and add more plant-based food to your diet, then cooking at home is your best bet. Here's a handy comparison guide.

As you might imagine, meat features prominently in the average Western diet. Most countries in Western Europe consume between 80 and 90 kilograms of meat per person, while others further afield (Argentina and New Zealand, for example) consume 100kg per person. For context, that’s the same as 50 chickens or half a cow.

Cooking at home is not only cheaper than eating out, but it’s easier to control exactly what’s going into your meals.

By using more plant-based ingredients into your home cooking, you’re automatically making your dishes more nutritious. Next time you’re rustling something up in the kitchen, have a think about going entirely plant-powered for a meal or two.

Top tips for plant-based home cooking:

  • Meat swaps: switching red meat for poultry and fish is a good start but why not go one step further and include plant-based protein sources?
  • Grains, beans, and pulses: can easily be included in winter warmers like stews or curries, and are just as good for summertime salads and BBQs
  • Explore meat-free alternatives: there are now loads of brands out there specialising in delicious plant-based meat alternatives (Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, THIS, to name a few)

That being said, just because something is plant-based, it’s not automatically healthy. If you ate nothing but chips, you’d be eating an entirely plant-based meal… but you’d also be malnourished. For more on plant-based food, check out our guide.

So there you go – some simple plant-based swaps you can use to eat a little healthier, and help the environment out while you’re at it. If you’re looking for a quick-and-easy way to start your plant-based food journey, look no further than Huel.

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