Whether you are a new vegan or have been vegan for a while, (deep down) you know you can’t live off of junk food forever.
Just because something is vegan doesn’t automatically mean it is healthy (sorry!).
Before you freak out, understand that I’m not saying you have to eat healthy 100% of the time, but the majority of it 😁. But more on that later.
Don’t worry, switching to a more nutritious diet isn’t difficult.
Plus, this post is the perfect guide to help you transition from vegan to healthy vegan in four easy steps.
So, you’ll know exactly where to start and how to go through with it without feeling overwhelmed.
- What does a healthy vegan diet look like
- So what do you eat on a whole-foods vegan diet?
- Why should you choose whole foods
- How to go from vegan to healthy vegan?
- Do you need to eat healthy ALL of the time?
- How to transition from vegan to healthy vegan in 4 steps
- Summary: How to go from vegan to healthy vegan in four steps
- How to stick with a healthy vegan diet
Consuming processed foods such as vegan alternatives to meat and dairy can be helpful for new vegans because it makes transitioning much easier.
You can still have all your favorite foods; the only difference is that now they’re vegan. Using these substitutes certainly helped me a lot when I first went vegan.
Plus, let’s be real; junk food usually does taste good.
However, once you’ve been vegan for a while, you should work towards a vegan whole foods diet.
Doing so ensures that you get all the nutrients you need and experience all the fantastic health benefits a vegan diet offers.
The four steps outlined in this post will make transitioning from vegan to healthy vegan easy and achievable.
I know you can do it! 💪🏻
What does a healthy vegan diet look like
The goal of a healthy vegan diet is to opt for whole foods as often as possible. This means you pick foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed.
So, ingredients that resemble what they look like in nature.
Simultaneously, you try to avoid highly processed foods such as vegan meat substitutes, vegan cheese, vegan sausage, vegan fast food, oil, refined grains, and table sugar.
So what do you eat on a whole-foods vegan diet?
This article goes into all the details, but here is a basic overview:
A healthy vegan diet consists mostly out of
- Whole-wheat and pseudocereals
- Nuts, and seeds
Why should you choose whole foods
It’s a good idea to minimize your intake of processed foods because they are relatively low in nutrients and usually high(er) in calories and fat.
Moreover, they often contain potentially harmful substances like oil, saturated fatty acids, additives, artificial flavors, and too much salt.
Summary: On a healthy vegan diet, you try to eat mostly unprocessed or minimally processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, legumes, and nuts & seeds. These foods offer the most health benefits, taste fantastic, and allow you to avoid potentially harmful substances.
How to go from vegan to healthy vegan?
A great strategy to follow when you want to transition to a healthy vegan diet is to slowly and gradually replace individual unhealthy ingredients with healthier alternatives.
This post offers a helpful guideline.
But swapping everything at once may be overwhelming. So, here is a step by step approach that will make the whole process less overwhelming.
How much time you take between each step is totally up to you. Take as much time as you need, but don’t stall 😉.
Do you need to eat healthy ALL of the time?
While you’ll experience the most benefits from following a whole-foods vegan diet, there’s no need to stick with it 100%.
I recommend aiming for 90-95% of the time, but choose what works best for you.
Of course, the more often you practice a whole-foods diet, the better you’ll feel, and the more health benefits you get.🙂
But eating should also be a pleasurable experience, and not being so strict about what you eat helps you enjoy food more.
For that reason, I think it’s fine to consume not so healthy foods now and then.
Summary: A great strategy to follow when you want to transition to a healthy vegan diet is to slowly and gradually replace individual unhealthy ingredients with healthier alternatives. To make this process less overwhelming, you can follow the step by step guide below. It’s not necessary to eat 100% healthy all the time, but the more often you do, the more benefits you’ll experience.
How to transition from vegan to healthy vegan in 4 steps
1. Choose one meal of the day and make this meal healthier from now on.
Let's say you pick breakfast:
Instead of toast with jelly, choose whole-wheat bread. Then, spread hummus or mashed avocado on it and top off with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and sprouts.
Instead of making pancakes from a box, prepare the batter from scratch with wholesome ingredients and top the pancakes off with fruit instead of syrup.
To start the day exceptionally nutritious, you could prepare a green breakfast smoothie.
One of my favorite combinations is spinach, banana, pear, raspberries, oatmeal, dates flaxseed, and almond milk.
2. Once eating one healthy meal a day works well for you, add a second healthy meal every day.
Let’s say you want to upgrade your lunch.
Instead of, for example, a vegan Caesar salad with vegan chicken strips, choose to make a salad with tempeh and fresh veggies like carrots, corn, bell peppers, and tomatoes. And make a lemon-tahini dressing.
Or you could try one of these healthy lunches that are perfect for work or school.
3. Switch all your snacks and desserts to healthier options
Here are some examples.
Instead of chips in front of the TV, enjoy roasted chickpeas or home-made oil-free popcorn.
For a snack during the day, you can eat some fruit with nut butter or prepare vegetable sticks with hummus.
You could also make delicious home-made snacks like energy balls or one of these 5 easy snacks.
You can replace vegan candy with dates and other dried fruit (try mango or apricots!).
Even when it comes to dessert, you can make healthier choices. Instead of store-bought ice cream, make yourself some nice cream, like this three-ingredient strawberry nice cream.
There are also healthier cake and cookie recipes, like these amazing peanut butter cookies.
4. Switch all your remaining meals to healthier ones.
So, for example, if you crave pizza for dinner, instead of warming up a frozen pizza or ordering one, you can prepare a delicious home-made whole-wheat vegetable pizza.
Or if you feel like eating a burger, instead of buying vegan burger patties, you can make home-made patties out of black beans and sweet potatoes, for example.
Whatever you are eating, there’s probably a way to make it healthier. And you won’t have to sacrifice taste for it.
So, get creative 😄.
And remember, google is your friend 👯♀️. It provides countless healthy and delicious recipes vegan recipes with just a few clicks.
Congratulations. 🎉🥳🎆 You just went from vegan to healthy vegan in four easy steps!
I am so excited for you! How are you feeling? Awesome, right?
Summary: How to go from vegan to healthy vegan in four steps
How to stick with a healthy vegan diet
For more guidance on implementing a healthy vegan diet, you can check out the Daily Dozen List.
The building block system is also a great tool to help you create healthy, nutritious, and tasty meals.
Moreover, you can always leave a comment or contact me for questions, tips or motivation 🙂.
How did the transition go for you?