More and more frequently, I’m hearing my clients set goals to eat fewer animal products. Whether it’s because their doctor recommended it, their friend is trying it or they’ve heard it’s good for the planet, I’m all about this direction of behavior change. Those that follow a plant-based diet have lower rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease than those that eat meat. In addition, a diet rich in plants reduces pollution and destruction of topsoil and slows deforestation.  

While completely cutting out animal-based products may seem like the best option, I find that any diet change that happens too quickly is less likely to be sustained. If you are looking to move to a plant-based diet, I encourage you to begin by finding small ways to swap animal sources for plant sources in your overall diet. These swaps can help you get started:

Scrambled Eggs → Scrambled Tofu or Chickpeas

Use the same vegetables you would include with your scrambled eggs, but use mashed tofu or chickpeas instead of eggs. Season, saute and enjoy.

Bolognese Sauce → Tomato Sauce with Lentils

Lentils provide more fiber than ground beef and still house that filling protein. Buy them precooked in cans for ease.

Chicken Stir Fry → Chickpea Stir Fry

That wasn’t a typo! Chickpeas are just as hearty as chicken, but chickpeas help to cut back on the saturated fat and environmental impact of chicken.

Related: 10 Easy Ways to Increase Your Vegetable Intake

Cheese → Nutritional Yeast

Use nutritional yeast on top of pasta, stuffed peppers or roasted vegetables in place of cheese. This ‘seasoning’ packs a punch with B vitamins for high energy and still gives you the umami flavor of cheese.

Yogurt → Chia Pudding

Combine 2 Tbsp chia seeds with 1/2 cup plant-based milk, seal and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you’ll find a thick yogurt-y substance that you can top with fruit and nuts for even more of a nutritional boost.

Post written by FFC Contributor and Registered Dietitian and Medical Services Coordinator Amy Silver.