Simple Substitutes and Meal Ideas

Welcome to Veganism!

The healthy way. These are substitutions, tips, and meals that I apply to my life, for those of you who have been curious!

I m p o r t a n t  S u b s t i t u t i o n s: that *I* use. For more, please see the Vegan FAQ.

  • Use Smart Balance Light with flax instead of butter, or Earth Balance–if you’re boycotting palm oil (which you should!), look for Blue Bonnet Light.
  • Agave nectar or maple syrup instead of honey or white sugar
  • Whole wheat breads instead of white. Looking for tortillas, lavash bread for wraps, or pita pockets? Check of Joseph’s Flax line – we’re talking low-cal, high protein deliciousness (for example, the flax wraps: 70 calories and 7 grams of protein)
  • Bob’s Red Mill raw sugar, WholeFoods 365 brand Vegan Cane Sugar, or Florida Crystals instead of refined white sugars
  • Coconut milk or soy yogurt
  • Lightlife brand vegan faux meat products – SmartBacon, SmartDeli, etcetera
  • Daiya or Vegan Gourmet brand vegan cheese – the mozz or pepperjack is best for Daiya, and the Vegan Gourmet cheddar and jack are the bomb
  • TVP or scrambled tofu to replace taco meat or ground beefs in chili
  • For baking, there are tons of egg replacers – ½ a banana for every egg, ¼ cup soft tofu, 1 tbsp flax simmered in 3 tbsp water… it’s all on the interwebs.
  • Cut out white starches – no more white rice, pasta, or bread. Use wheat breads, brown rice, and opt for sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. White potatoes may be eaten only twice a week – they’re healthiest when baked, with the skin.

 M e a l   S u g g e s t i o n s   a n d   I n s t r u c t i o n s !


  • What you eat for breakfast sets the course for your whole day – it is so important for your body that within 30minutes of becoming fully conscious, you feed it.
  • While exercising at any time during the day will have a different benefit, it’s best to work out in the morning, mentally as well as physically. Eat before you workout, which means a carby breakfast! Always have carbs before working out, and protein after working out.

*** tip: add cinnamon to everything, especially in the morning for a metabolism boost!

Breakfast ideas:

  • Soy or coconut milk yogurt with some dry oats, flax, and fresh fruit
  • Oatmeal with flax and almond milk
  • Whole-grain cereal or granola with almond milk and fresh fruit
  • Fruit smoothies with almond milk, soy or coconut milk yogurt, and tons of green stuff (kale, spinach)
  • Breakfast scrambles with black beans, tofu… – you can really get creative with these. On mornings where you have time to cook, sauté up every veggie in the drawer with some scrambled tofu and black beans, maybe some sweet potato, some chile powder and garlic… amazing.
  • PB&J with bananas
  • Tempeh bacon or SmartBacon
  • Banana ice cream

For more breakfast ideas and recipes, please see:


  • It’s important that you eat SOMETHING every 3-4 hours. The rule in veganism is if you’re hungry, eat something green. You can snack on sugar snap peas or carrots all day long without any guilt.
  • Snack one is pretty important, the one presumably after working out. After working out, you need protein. Plain and simple. The best thing you can consume to help your body repair is a glass of chocolate ‘milk’ – obviously chocolate soy or almond milk will do. P.S. Hershey’s syrup is vegan.

Snack ideas:

  • Hummus and veggies
  • Luna  bars
  • CLIF bars (these are good calories so don’t be afraid of the number)
  • fruit and veggies with peanut butter
  • Granola bars (without honey or whey)
  • Taboule

Mo’ snacks here:


  • Suggesting meal plans for lunch and dinner will be the hardest part for me because there are just infinite amounts of things you could eat here. One tip I have is this: if you’re going to be incorporating carbs into your meals, try to do so during lunch. For example, rather than having couscous or orzo with dinner, have them for lunch and have quinoa at dinner instead, etcetera.

*** tip: the spicier, the better – add hot sauce, hot peppers, and hot spices to whatever you like, as often as you like. It will raise your metabolism!

SOME lunch ideas:

  • Hummus and veggie wraps – use Joseph’s brand Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat tortillas (they have a ton of protein)
  • Thai veggie wraps with peanut sauce
  • Grilled cheese (use Daiya) with mashed black beans, jalapenos, and tomatoes
  • Huge salads with nuts and beans – get creative, and add soy imitation bacon bits for a little extra protein
  • Tofurky sandwiches – you can add vegan cheese and hummus, tons of veggies, etcetera – maybe even SmartBacon for a BLT?
  • Pasta dishes – I have a great recipes for vegan alfredo if you’d like it, as well as a kale vegan pesto pasta
  • Homemade or store-bought veggie burgers with or without whole wheat buns – ever tried to make quinoa burgers?
  • SmartDogs – have as many as you want
  • Sautés – asparagus, red peppers, Vidalia onions, zucchini, eggplant, the works – and add tons of beans or maybe lentils to get your protein in. Scrambled tofu is also amazing in these.
  • My favorite scramble to make is a Buffalo Chik’n sauté – Use Boca brand Spicy Chik’n patties white cooking up zucchini, red peppers, and white onions in a pan. Chop up the patty and add to the veggies, along with black beans and fresh tomatoes. Add Frank’s and devour.
  • Couscous, orzo, brown rice, TVP, and quinoa all make excellent fillers (along with veggies and legumes) for burritos and tacos.

For more lunch and dinner ideas and recipes, see my recipes tag:



  • You want your dinner to be packed with protein so you have less hunger cravings late at night (although, it’s absolutely okay to snack on fruits and veggies if you are hungry at night. Remember, if you’re hungry, eat something green).
  • Obviously, all the lunches listed can also be dinners.

SOME dinner ideas:

  • Mashed sweet potatoes or cauliflower
  • Roasted vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes, Vidalia onion, zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, whatever you like or have on hand.
  • Eggplant parmesan with whole wheat ziti or fettucini
  • Savory quinoa (sauteed veggies or onions with cranberries and pine nuts) or quinoa salads
  • Stuffed squash (I really like acorn squash for this, with cranberries, brown rice, onions, spices…)
  • Marinated tofu, tempeh, or seitan
  • Vegan chili with tons of beans and faux meats – I suggest soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s and seitan ‘chicken strips’
  • Soups – lentil, split pea,south western – See Amy’s, or totally make your own.
  • TVP tacos or burritos
  • Raw vegan tacos – I normally use hummus, beans or lentils, guacamole, jalapenos and hot sauce wrapped in lettuce
  • Lasagna or stuffed jumbo shells filled with cashew cheese ( I can teach you how to make it)

There are just so many… like, you can make anything at all vegan.


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