Struggling with veganuary? M&S nutritionist shares 10 plant swaps

Struggling with veganuary? M&S nutritionist reveals 10 plant-based swaps YOU can make – from eating aubergine for a meaty texture to sprinkling nuts on soup to pack it with protein

  • M&S nutritionist Sophia Linn has shared 10 swaps you can make for veganuary
  • Said nuts can be sprinkled on salads and soups, as well as enjoyed as a snack 
  • Added aubergine and mushrooms are good substitutes for a meaty texture

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions this week, and many of us will be embarking on our first week of ‘veganuary’. 

But swapping a traditional diet for a plant-based one means it can be easy to feel like you’re missing out on the essential nutrients, like protein, that your body needs to stay healthy. 

Fortunately M&S nutritionist Sophia Linn has shared with FEMAIL 10 quick and easy food swaps everyone can make if they’re embarking on a month of veganism. 

M&S nutritionist Sophia Linn has shared with FEMAIL 10 quick and easy food swaps everyone can make if they’re embarking on a month of veganism. Stock image

She suggested, for example, topping soups or salads with a handful of nuts to make up for the lack of protein that might be missing from eating meat. 

Sophia also advised trying recipes with aubergine and mushroom for main meals, as these can mimic the heft and texture of meat. 

It comes as M&S launched the Sparking Change National Challenge, which offers free expert tips and resources for customers on cooking from scratch, reducing food waste and plant-based protein. 

From milk to vitamins, three MORE tips to try 

Switch the milk 

One of the easiest plant-based swaps is to switch your usual milk for an alternative such as oat, nut, rice or soya milk. Not all alternatives are fortified with vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and iodine so make sure to check the label.

Combine cereals with nuts   

Try combining cereals such as rice and pasta with beans or lentils, and nuts such as peanut butter on wholemeal toast for complementing proteins.

Pay attention to vitamins 

Moving to a more plant-based diet means you need to consider protein but also vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Make sure to consult your GP or a healthcare professional if making changes to your diet.

It follows a nine-week behavioural change trial with 100 families, during which 40 per cent of participants found they saved money through small lifestyle changes.  

Add nuts on soups and salads 

Nuts are packed with protein and are a quick and easy way to incorporate more into your diet if you’re cutting down on meat. 

Having a handful for a snack is great, or you can incorporate them into a main meal. 

Sophia explain: ‘Topping soups or salads with a handful or just eating nuts as a snack adds more than just an extra crunch – it’s an easy way to include plant-based protein in your diet, as well as other important vitamins and minerals.’

Cheat the meat texture 

Pick up aubergine and mushrooms during your next supermarket shop. 

Not only are these two ingredients delicious and nutritious, their chewy texture makes them a great meat alternative in an all-vegan meal. 

‘Season with miso, smoked paprika or soy sauce for extra flavour,’ Sophia suggests.

Mix in beans and pulses 

Going plant-based some or all of the time doesn’t mean you need to ditch your favourite recipes. 

Instead, why not swap out beef and chicken for beans and pulses, experimenting until you find your favourite combos. 

Sophia’s tip? ‘Try green lentils in your Bolognese or tofu in your Thai curry.’ 

Get creative with snacks 

After a festive season of overindulging, now is a good time to put down those chocolates and crisps in favour of a healthier snack. 

Sophia says: ‘Swap your usual snack for a grain bowl, using wholegrains like quinoa and combining with red peppers, lime and chipotle for an extra kick.

Give seeds a shot   

‘From pumpkin to sunflower and chia, seeds are a great source of protein and there are lots to choose from,’ Sophia says. 

‘If you’re not a fan of them on their own, try lightly toasting and adding to a stir fry for extra flavour.’

Stock up on broccoli 

Everyone knows how important it is to get a balance of fruit and veg as part of your five a day, but some veggies can be an excellent source of protein, too. 

Sophia points to the benefits of ingredients like broccoli and spinach. 

‘Try adding a handful of spinach to your curry or casserole,’ Sophia suggests. 

Find new favourites 

‘Plant based food is becoming more popular, which means more options are available on the shelves,’ Sophia says. 

‘If you’re longing for your usual meat favourite, see if a pea protein or tofu version is available instead.’

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