Going vegan/vegetarian can be a shock to the system, especially if you are one who likes the taste of meat. Thankfully, there are a number of food manufacturers catering to consumers who are trying to live a more ethical and environmentally conscious lifestyle.

Disclaimer: if you are partial to a lamb cutlet every so often or a hearty oxtail stew during winter, I’m not judging you – I’d just like to think you are sourcing ethically reared, organic meat.

If you ever get a hankering for steak strips in your salad, there are delicious and nutritious veggie substitutes on the market that won’t force you to compromise your dietary decision. Here is a list of some of my favourite breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack substitutes. Give them a try at home and who knows, you might end up converting your friends and family.

BREAKFAST

Contrary to contemporary food trends, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it wake your metabolism up and get it working for the rest of the day, it fuels your body to keep you going until lunchtime.

Some might want to grab a quick bite before heading out to work, while others enjoy a leisurely start to their days; it’s always such a mind-bend trying to come up with a filling, fueling breakfast idea.

For vegetarians; eggs are always a really great way to start the day. You’re tucking into a sizable percentage of your protein as eggs are high in Vitamin D, B6 which services the central nervous system, B12 which combats anaemia, as well as zinc, iron and copper. If you’re trying to cut out (or completely eliminate) the amount of meat you eat in a day then making the switch from pork bacon to Coconut Bacon is the one. The substitute is air dried and has a delicious smokiness to it. When I want a break from a traditional fry-up, I like to sprinkle a few of the coconut bacon chips on top of peanut butter and banana pancakes. Fan of sweet-and-savoury flavour combinations might like this too.

LUNCH

We can all agree that mushrooms have an undeniable earthy-type meaty taste to them, making them a great substitute for some vegetarians and plant-based eaters. The vegan community is still split when it comes to classifying certain types of mushrooms as ethical or not.

While I suggest vegans research which fungi they are going to allow into their kitchens and onto their plates, you can get a reasonable amount of blood-pressure-lowering potassium from a mushroom salad. Moreover, mushrooms are low-calorie foods so feel free to be as generous with your Quinoa with Oyster Mushrooms & Adzuki Beans dish as you’d like.

Beta-glucans found in most mushrooms stimulate immunity in the body, while simultaneously improving the body’s resistance to allergies. Making a filling creamy mushroom soup is a great way to load up on this body-strengthening property, especially during winter.

DINNER

It’s very easy to neglect your diet during the day. The demands of work, school, and kids tend to take first priority. Supper provides a great opportunity to unwind to a well-cooked meal, though it is advised that you eat before 7pm to give your digestive system a head start on breaking down your meal.

I always pig out during dinnertime. If I’m not face-deep in a sloppy joe made with Soy Mince, I’m mopping up what’s left of my Fry’s Family Chicken-style Burger with some oven-baked chips.

Clean eaters might prefer the soy mince as it is flavouring-, colouring- and GMO-free; and a fantastic source of fibre and protein. Fry’s Food products are a personal favourite because they taste just like meat meaning you won’t miss chicken, beef or seafood if you shop their range of products.

SNACKS

Like a bird, I like to peck at food, as opposed to eating a mammoth meal, so I’ve always got a nibble or two in my handbag (not because I get incredibly hangry, despite what my mother might tell you). Because I love biltong, I tend to stock up on this Droewors when I’m getting my groceries for the month because the seaweed wrapping tends to satisfy my salt cravings, while the tamari is a powerful antioxidant.

If you have a nut allergy and/or gluten intolerance, you can chomp down on these with no worries because they are completely free of those – and dairy too.

Most of us get the pre-knock off lethargy, and a great way to pick yourself up before hometime is with a slice of rye or seeded bread toast and a lashing of Olive Marmalade. Every jar is packed with 49% organically grown olives and is GMO-free (literally: the ingredients are olives, brown sugar, water, lemon and assorted herbs and spices). With every bite, the olives will treat you to skin, colon and breast cancer-fighting properties, iron, and pain reducing benefits.

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