You may have read my post showing how going plant-based has never been so easy, and now you want to know how to do it. Or you may just want to find the best plant-based alternatives to some of the foods you normally eat.
In either case, you’re in the right place! It’s never been easier to eat plant-based to help feed more people, to better care for animals, for your health, or for our natural resources (if you want to find out more on how going plant-based can make a huge difference, check out my previous post).
If you want to go plant-based but don’t want to give up pizzas and burgers and ice creams and more, don’t worry! There are a ton of choices today to get food that’s basically like it’s animal-based counterpart. With Impossible burgers, dairy free yogurt, and Ben & Jerry’s dairy free ice cream, you can pretty much find anything you want. Here are the best tasting and/or most authentic options.
A Quick Disclaimer
Before I begin to show you exactly how you can do this, there’s something you should think about. First of all, eating more fruits and vegetables and less animal products can greatly improve your health. It’s a good idea to do this no matter what your goal.
If your goal is to help animals or others by putting less of a strain on the food supply, then most plant-based options are okay. Just don’t expect that eating plant based ice cream or burgers is healthy.
Also, going plant-based can either make your wallet fatter or thinner depending on how you eat. If you eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables (often referred to as “whole foods vegan” or “whole foods plant-based”), your wallet will thank you! Produce is much cheaper than animal-based foods.
However, if you eat a ton of plant-based alternatives like meat substitutes and dairy-free cheeses, it can get expensive. The trick here is the same for everyone whether you are plant-based or not: base what you eat around fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, etc. and enjoy the other stuff in moderation.
Now let’s check out the plant-based alternatives.
Most restaurants with vegan options and store-bought pre-packaged items like pizzas use a cheese called Daiya. There are better options out there. It can be okay on a pizza, but there are much tastier options like So Delicious and Violife. They have amazing Mozzarella and So Delicious has fantastic cheddar. A lot of stores like Whole Foods and Hannaford are also carrying their own. In most cases the Mozzarella is tasty, but sometimes may not melt well.
Again, a lot of stores are carrying their own. Additionally, Violife and Ciao have great sliced cheese.
The best plant-based alternative for milk in my opinion is oat milk. Not only is it good straight, it uses a lot less of our natural resources to produce.
Some other plant-based milks will work in cereal and recipes but aren’t the best to drink straight. As a rule, drinking water is the best for your health anyway. You can find oat milk all over the place. I use Oat Yeah by Silk, but I’m pretty sure they’re all decent.
There are a ton of ways to replace eggs, such as they show in this blog post on egg substitutes.
Or look on the shelf for “Egg Replacer” which is often by the different flours and meals (like corn meal and flax seed meal). Bob’s Red Mill has one which you should be able to find anywhere.
For my own recipes I just used 1 TBSP of flax seed meal and 3 TBSP of water and let them sit for 5 minutes.
If you want to replace scrambled eggs, try a tofu scramble. It’s actually quite tasty and fairly easy to make like this southwest tofu scramble. Tofu should be easy to find in any store that sells groceries.
There are some great plant-based alternatives for meat. Impossible burgers are awesome, but currently are only available in restaurants. Beyond Meat is probably the closest to typical burgers although Gardein’s Beefless Burgers will do in a pinch. Unlike the Impossibles and Beyond Meat burgers, the Beefless Burgers can be easily distinguished from a real burger, but are still tasty.
Gardein’s breakfast sausage is awesome. Field Roast has some okay sausage links and Sweet Earth has a nice benevolent bacon. Bear in mind with the last two, they are reminiscent of sausage and bacon, but taste quite different. They still taste good, although the benevolent bacon is best as a companion food, like on a burger.
Gardein has Chik’n Sliders that are tasty and Morning Star Farms has Chicken patties and nuggets that come in both buffalo and regular which are good.
There are a lot of other options – a lot – but these are the best and can get you started. Also, I’ve noted a few other options in the meals in the next blog post .
Chips and Dip
What would a party be without chips and dip? I have good news for you: there are lots of options.
Your healthiest options will be to cut up some broccoli and cauliflower and dip them in Good Foods Queso or Buffalo dips. These dips do not use any added oils like most do (oils are a huge source of calories).
These can be found at Target just like the Dips from Hope Foods which include French Onion and Jalapeño Ranch.
Most unseasoned corn and potato chips are plant-based, although they use oil. You may also find things like the the regular or pepper flavors of Skinny Pop which uses very little oil, or Skinny Sticks which are unrelated, but come in a variety of plant-based flavors.
Surprisingly there are a lot of flavors of name-brand chips that are plant-based. If you want to dig a little deeper, do a Google search for “vegan chips” the next time you’re in the grocery store.
What would a list of the best plant-based alternatives be without deserts? My favorite is King Arthur Gluten Free mix. You can get them for cookies, brownies, muffins and more. Use a plant-based butter, an egg replacer, and a plant-based milk. Target will have all these except the butter. Your local grocery may have them all.
Use Nestle’s Simply Delicious chocolate chips or any of Enjoy Life’s chips or chunks. You can also enjoy Ghirardelli’s Twilight Dark bar, or pretty much any of Chocolove’s bars that have 55% or more cocoa.
There are a ton more options out there, but this will get you started.
There are so many great choices out there that, although these are the best plant-based alternatives I’ve found, there are still so many more that you can find.
Going plant-based has never been so easy. If you want to dip your toe in, now’s the time, and don’t miss my next post on easy plant-based meals.