Spending more time at home over the past few months has prompted us to take a closer look at our eating habits.
We’re interested in adding more plant-based options to our diets; that part we’re sure of. But it’s often difficult to know where to start, what to buy at the grocery store, and how to elevate dishes yourself.
Many Canadians have already made the switch to plant-based diets; in fact, BC has the highest share of vegans and vegetarians over any other province in the country. Whether you’re transitioning to a new diet, limiting your meat consumption, or curious about how to stock a vegan-friendly pantry, you have options with plant-based alternatives.
The experts at Vancouver’s socially conscious plant-based meat company, TMRW Foods, know a thing or two about vegan-friendly cooking, so we asked them to share their top hacks with us.
After a night of sleep, our bodies need a satisfying breakfast to kickstart the day and give us the energy to go about our morning tasks. While you might assume that a plant-based diet limits your options, but this simply isn’t the case.
If anything, those who love to eat big portions can rejoice. Vegan foods are less calorie dense than animal-derived products, so it’s important to eat a greater volume of food when going plant-based. Thankfully, it’s easy to stock your pantry and fridge with ingredients that work for all kinds of vegan breakfast recipes.
For a boost of protein in the early AM when you need it most, items like TMRW mince or firm tofu are great to include in something hearty like a breakfast burrito. One thing we love about the TMRW Mince is that it cooks quickly and caramelizes in the pan — ideal for mornings when you’re short on time but still want something delicious and satisfying.
To achieve that quintessential “breakfast” flavour in your burrito, a great tip is to add nutritional yeast (it’s high in B vitamins and adds an almost cheesy finish), and black Himalayan salt (it contains trace minerals like sulphur, making it great for creating a more “eggy” flavour).
For those who enjoy a sweeter start to the day, the vegan options are bountiful as well. We recommend doing overnight oats, which are hearty and filling, or chia seed pudding, which is high in omega-3s. These are easy and quick to make, and they taste better when prepped the night before and left in the fridge overnight.
If you’re working from home, you know just how easy it is to throw your diet plans into the ocean in favour of a quick noodle soup lunch. However, preparing a vegan-friendly lunch doesn’t need to take hours. You can even prepare a big helping ahead of time to last you a couple of days.
One way of doing this is to bulk-buy produce and challenge yourself to find creative ways to use it. There are tons of YouTube tutorials on how to start juicing, fermenting, pickling, caramelizing, powdering, and dehydrating foods.
Start with ingredients that you can have some fun with. Strawberries, for example, can be fermented to make jam. You can let ginger or garlic dehydrate and turn either of them into a powder to use in juices or soups, and it doesn’t take long to make some pickled onions. Expect a super flavourful and versatile addition to your lunches.
Another quick idea we love is using chickpeas as an alternative to tuna for a fibre and protein-rich lunch. For a vegan tuna salad sandwich, mash up a handful of chickpeas, add some vegan mayo, chopped celery, and a few sprinkles of old bay seasoning. These simple additions can take your lunch to the next level!
At the end of a long day, the temptation to order takeout is real. But when you can emulate the restaurant experience with easy-to-prepare food at home (and save money at the same time), dinner tastes even better. Serving up brag-worthy burgers and homemade fries is just the beginning.
We’re big fans of the TMRW Burger because it definitely hits the spot when you’ve got a serious burger craving, while still keeping things balanced with the inclusion of wholesome plant ingredients like quinoa, split peas, and kidney beans. The best of both worlds!
To keep your evening meals as nutritious as possible, think about integrating everyday ingredients like mushrooms (high in vitamins B and D), yams (for potassium), and tomatoes (vitamin C). Tip: To make sure you’re increasing your iron absorption, always add a source of vitamin C to your meal. This can be anything from fresh tomatoes or peppers to a squeeze of lemon.
Browsing local farmers’ markets for produce allows you to find inspiration for vegan-friendly dinners and desserts — you’ll typically find locally-made vegan treats that you won’t find at the grocery store, too.
With your ingredients down, prepare some easy-to-make-vegan Asian dishes that you can also store in the freezer for later in the week. Looking for a new spin on your favourite Mexican dishes? Simply replace the meat with refried or black beans. Don’t forget the vegan mayo on the side — you can make your own using sunflower oil, soy milk, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Dining at home could have a whole new, delicious meaning for you.
Exploring plant-based alternatives doesn’t have to be a daunting experience — nor does it have to mean giving up the food you love.
You just have to get a little creative and plan ahead so that when you open your fridge, you’ve got plenty of options. The world is your oyster (well, oyster mushroom).
For more information about Vancouver’s TMRW Foods and to find a stockist near you, check out tmrwfoods.com.