Have you tried veganuary but are having trouble? 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
  • You can sprinkle the nuts on soups or salads. Or, you could enjoy them as a snack. 
  • For a substitute for meaty texture, add aubergine or mushrooms.

We are all starting our first week as a’veganuary’ this week. 

It can feel easy to lose out on essential nutrients like protein when you switch to a plant-based diet. 

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

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. Photo by Stock

For example, you could top soups or salads by adding a few nuts, to compensate for any lack of meat protein. 

Sophia suggested that you try recipes using aubergine or mushroom as main dishes, since these ingredients can replicate the texture and heft 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. 

Three MORE Tips to Try: From Vitamins to Milk 

You can switch the milk 

Switching to plant-based milk is one of the most simple swaps. You may not find all options fortified with vitamins B12, vitamin D and calcium. Make sure you check the label.

Combining cereals with nuts   

For a complementing protein, try combining rice with pasta and beans with lentils or beans. Peanut butter can be added to wholemeal bread.

Vitamins are important! 

If you are moving to a more plant-based lifestyle, it is important to include protein as well as vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. Changes to your diet should be discussed with your doctor.

This follows a nine week behavioural change trial that 100 families participated in. During this period, 40% of the participants discovered they could save money by making small lifestyle adjustments.  

Salads, soups, and other dishes that contain nuts can be enriched with nuts 

If you are trying to reduce your meat intake, nuts are rich in protein. 

A handful of them can be used as a snack or an ingredient in a main dish. 

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.’

You can also eat the texture of meat. 

Take home aubergine or mushrooms from your nearest supermarket. 

These two ingredients are delicious and healthy. Their chewy texture is a good alternative to meat in an all-vegan dish. 

Sophia recommends that you add miso, smoke paprika, or soy sauce to your season for more flavour.

Blend in pulses and beans 

You don’t have to go plant-based all the time. 

Try substituting beef or chicken with beans and pulses. You’ll soon find the perfect combination. 

Sophia’s tip? Try green lentils or tofu with your Thai curry. 

Be creative when it comes to snacks 

It’s time to give up on the festive season’s overindulgence and eat healthier snacks. 

Sophia suggests: “Swap any usual snack for a wholegrain bowl using wholegrains such as quinoa, and combine with red peppers and lime for an added kick.

Seeds need a good shot   

Sophia says that seeds provide a good source of protein, and she has many options. 

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

Buy more broccoli 

Everybody knows the importance of eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. However, some vegetables can also be a great source of protein. 

Sophia highlights the health benefits of spinach and broccoli. 

Sophia advises, “Try adding some spinach to your casserole or curry.” 

Discover new favorites 

Sophia shares that plant-based foods are becoming increasingly popular which leads to more choices on shelves. 

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