Eating Familar Foods

Eating vegan or vegetarian is not as hard as it seems…

Here’s how to magically transform all of the food you normally eat into plant-based food! Just kidding. I don’t have a magic wand, but I can show you how to make vegetarian and vegan versions of all the meals you already eat.

First, many foods you eat are already vegetarian or vegan.

The majority of a hamburger is vegetarian. Everything except for the hamburger does not contain meat. The majority of a hamburger is even vegan! How? The ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onions are all vegan. The bun is mostly vegan, and sometimes completely vegan. Flour and yeast are vegan. Eggs and milk are not, but sometimes the bun does not contain eggs or milk. Finally, the hamburger, of course, is not vegan. But overall, most the ingredients you in the hamburger are vegan.

So, since most the hamburger ingredients are already vegan, to make the burger vegetarian or vegan, you just need to make a few small changes. To make a vegetarian version, replace the hamburger part with a veggie burger. To make a vegan version, also buy a vegan bun. It’s that simple!

So how do you do this with all the meals you eat?

1. Write down everything you eat in a given week a chart like this.

  1. Then, for each meal, ask yourself: how can I make this meal vegetarian? Or, how can I make this meal vegan? For ideas for foods, see a list of foods that vegetarians and vegans can eat.
  2. Then, can you make these meals vegetarian or vegan while only using the food that’s already in your house? If not, list new food products to buy and find out their prices.
  3. List new cooking techniques and recipes to learn to make the new meals.
  4. Then buy those products and use those recipes!

In the end, you may not be able to make a plant-based version of absolutely every single food you eat, but be creative and do your best.

Here are some examples of ways you can fill out the chart…

First, here are some breakfast examples. Most breakfast foods are already vegetarian, so vegetarians usually don’t need to worry about breakfast.

  • Cereal with milk and a banana: 

This meal is already vegetarian.

To make it vegan, replace the cow’s milk with non-dairy milk, like almond or soy milk. Make sure the cereal you buy is vegan. Most cereals are vegan, already. Then, next time your family goes to the grocery store, buy less cow’s milk and more non-dairy milk. Also, if your cereal isn’t vegan, buy less non-vegan cereal and more vegan cereal.

  • French Toast: 

This meal is already vegetarian.

To make it vegan, replace the egg and milk mixture with a banana and vegan butter mixture. Make sure the bread is vegan. Then, the next time your family goes to the grocery store, buy less eggs and milk, and more bananas and vegan butter. Also, if the bread you already buy is not vegan, then buy less non-vegan bread, and more vegan bread.

  • Scrambled Eggs: 

This meal is already vegetarian.

To make it vegan, scramble tofu instead of eggs. Here’s a recipe. Next time your family goes to grocery store, buy fewer eggs, and more tofu. Or, buy fewer eggs, and buy this prepackaged tofu scramble.

  • Bacon:

This meal is not vegetarian, or vegan. To make it vegetarian and vegan, use tempeh bacon instead of pig bacon. You can make it yourself or buy packaged vegan bacon. Of course, vegan bacon will not taste the same as pig bacon. If you don’t like vegan bacon, eat something else for breakfast. But if you like it, next time you go to the grocery store buy more vegan bacon ingredients and less pig bacon.

  • Oatmeal:

This meal is already vegetarian. If you use water, oatmeal is already vegan.

If you use milk, to make it vegan, use non-dairy milk, like soy or almond milk, instead of cow’s milk. Next time you are the grocery store, buy less cow’s milk and more non-dairy milk.

  • Packaged waffles/french toast/pancakes/etc:

Most of these prepackaged foods are already vegetarian.

For a list of few vegan packaged breakfasts, see this list or this list. Next time your family is at the grocery store, buy more vegan packaged foods, and less non-vegan packaged foods.

Here are some lunch and dinner ideas examples:

  • Sandwiches with meat: 

To make a vegetarian or vegan sandwich, you have two choices. You can replace the meat with veggie meat, or you can make a different type of sandwich.  Click here for a list of veggie meats. But if you want to make a different sandwich, there are plenty of options. First of all, try peanut butter and jelly, or peanut butter and banana. Or, look here for a list of vegetarian and vegan sandwiches. Then, the next time your family goes to the grocery store, buy less sandwich meat, and more veggie meats or vegetarian sandwich ingredients.

To make a vegan sandwich, also make sure that the bread is vegan. Then, when your family goes to the grocery store, buy less non-vegan bread, and more vegan bread.

  • Steak or chicken:

To make a vegetarian or vegan version, replace the meat with portobello mushrooms, tempeh, seitan, tofu, squash, or beans. Then, the next time your family goes to the grocery store, buy less meat, and more of those foods.

  • Burritos: 

For a vegetarian or vegan version, replace the meat with something like portobello mushroomstempeh, seitan, tofu, squash, or beans. Then, when your family goes to the grocery store, buy less meat, and more of those foods.

For a vegan version, also make sure the tortilla is vegan, and take off the cheese. Then, when your family goes to the grocery store, buy less non-vegan tortillas, and more vegan tortillas. Buy less cheese, or buy vegan cheese.

  • Pizza:

Plain pizza or veggie pizza is already vegetarian. Next time you order pizza, just order normal pizza. If you’re making your own pizza, replace the sausage with veggie meats or tofu or seitan. Then, the next time your family goes to the grocery store, buy less sausage and more veggie meats or tofu or seitan.

You can also make vegan pizza. If the crust has no milk or eggs, the crust is vegan. If the crust is not vegan, find a vegan crust. You can replace the cheese with vegan cheese or just eat pizza without cheese. If you want, replaces sausage with veggie meats like tofu or seitan. The next time you order pizza, make sure the crust does not have milk or eggs and get pizza without cheese. If you make your own pizza, next time you’re family is at the grocery store, buy less cow’s milk cheese and more vegan cheese.

  • Hotdogs and Hamburgers: 

For a vegetarian version, replace the hotdog or hamburger with a veggie dog or veggie burger. Next time your family goes to the grocery store, buy fewer meat hotdogs or hamburgers, and more veggie dogs or veggie burgers.

For a vegan version, also make sure that bun is vegan. If it is vegan, then don’t do anything different. If it is not, then search for a vegan bun and buy less non-vegan buns, and more vegan buns.

  • Pasta with meatballs: 

For a vegetarian version, replace the meatballs with mushrooms, seitan, tofu, squash, or beans. Then, when your family goes the grocery store, buy fewer meatballs and more of those foods.

For a vegan version, also make sure the pasta is vegan, and use olive or vegan butter instead of butter and cheese, and add vegan cheese if you want. Then, when your family goes to the grocery store, buy a vegan pasta (most pasta is vegan anyway so this shouldn’t be a problem), less butter and cheese, and more vegan butter, vegan cheese, and olive oil.