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How to do a food shop if you’re going plant-based this month

Prudence Wade shares her top tips on how to prepare for a meat-free month

Saturday 01 January 2022 06:00 GMT
Making the change can be tricky especially if you’re a full-time carnivore
Making the change can be tricky especially if you’re a full-time carnivore (Alamy/PA)
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So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and do Veganuary this year.

It’s a brilliant thing to do – you get to learn more about the diet, do your bit for the planet and reap some of the health benefits.

But it can be quite a daunting prospect, particularly if you’re a full-time carnivore. What, no meat or dairy – for the whole month?

Like a lot of new year’s resolutions, Veganuary might be tricky to stick to if you’re not prepared. The best way to set yourself up for success is to make sure your fridge and cupboards are stocked with all the essentials – but you don’t want to have to spend lots of money to overhaul your diet.

If you’re writing a shopping list for Veganuary, these are some things to keep in mind.

What to buy

Go nuts: buy in bulk for a delicious and filling snack to beat the 4pm munchies (Alamy/PA)

Nuts: When the 4pm munchies come around, you might be absolutely stumped. What can you have that is actually plant-based, and not totally boring? To make sure you don’t spend loads of money on fancy vegan cereal bars or energy balls, we recommend bulk-buying nuts on Amazon. Delicious and filling, a handful of these will sort you out for the rest of the day.

Vegan butter: If you’re a complete newbie to veganism, we wouldn’t suggest diving into plant-based baking – it’s quite tricky and you might be disappointed with the results. Definitely buy a good butter replacement – maybe a sunflower or olive oil spread. We’d argue you can’t really taste the difference between that and normal butter, particularly when slathered inside a sandwich.

Vegan yoghurt: The same goes for vegan yoghurt. Perfect on granola, in curries – you don’t have to think much about it, just use it as you would dairy yoghurt.

Fresh fruit and veg: This one almost goes without saying and should be part of your shop anyway – Veganuary or not. Opt for fruit and veg that’s in season to minimise your carbon footprint, and don’t be afraid of buying a lot – you might find you need to eat greater quantities now you’re missing out on meat. It’s also definitely worth supplementing with beans, grains and pulses – lentils and chickpeas will become your best friend this month.

What not to bother with

Loads of meat replacements: While you absolutely can’t go wrong with a good vegan sausage every once and a while, we wouldn’t hugely recommend spending all your money on meat replacements. They tend to be expensive, and you don’t necessarily know what’s in them – and you don’t want to forgo all the health benefits of a vegan diet by exclusively eating processed foods.

Vegan cheese: This is a controversial one, because some vegans love plant-based cheese. Unfortunately, we’ve never come round to it – it just doesn’t really taste like the original, and chances are, you’ll be disappointed. Our stance is: if you avoid cheese entirely this month, you won’t end up missing your normal hunk of cheddar.

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