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Veganuary – A Student Guide to Your Healthy New Year’s Resolution

Whether you’re looking to be a little healthier, you want to help the environment, or you are an animal lover – going vegan this January is a great way to kick-start your new year. There are lots of benefits to making the switch, and it absolutely does not have to break the bank! We’ve put together our list of top tips that will help make the transition as easy as possible. 

1) Tea and coffee

Most of us wake up each morning to a nice cuppa. This is likely to be where you’ll make your first change! You can get a litre of plant-based milk is less than £1 in supermarkets, and there are lots of different varieties to try out. Soy milk is great in tea as it doesn’t taste too different to cow’s milk. For coffee, choose almond or coconut milk for a tasty hint of something different. Oat milk works well in both too!

2) Quick, cheap and vegan

If you’re struggling for meal ideas, a really great way to get inspired is to think “what would I normally have?” Chilli? Curry? Quesadillas? Almost anything can be made vegan. Replace meat with chickpeas, lentils and beans – all of which are extremely cheap, we’re talking around 40p for a can. Sweet potato is filling, mushrooms are amazing when made crispy like bacon, and if you’re feeling brave try tofu. Rice costs pennies if you fancy a byriani and stir fry kits come in at less than a quid. Meat replacements can be pricey, but are quick and easy to cook. You’ll find loads of meal ideas on Pinterest, including things to take into work for lunch and how to turn your favourite desserts vegan.

3) Take-aways

If you’re doing the vegan thing for health reasons, look away now. Saying that, eating vegan versions of your favourite take-aways is considerably better for you, as there’s less cholesterol, saturated fats and other nasties. Our number one tip here is simple. Call up your local curry house, Chinese or Italian and ask them what they have available. If you fancy a veggie curry, there are loads of options. Most tomato based sauces like madras and bhuna don’t contain milk or cream anyway. Make sure you mention ghee though, this is a big ingredient in Indian cooking that isn’t vegan. Also, stick to chapatti over naan and boiled rice over pilau. Easy.  

4) Booze

Getting in a few cans over the weekend? Just be aware that some beers and ales are refined through… well, fish bladders and obviously won’t be on the menu for you. Certain wines are the same too. Luckily, supermarkets like the Co-op actually state on their wine and beer if it’s vegan. Otherwise it’s a really quick Google job. Most spirits are fine, and you’ll learn really quickly which ones aren’t. Bottoms up. 

5) Cheese

You’ll hear it every day. “I couldn’t give up cheese.” You’ll notice a huge difference in your body once you start cutting out dairy products though – we promise. If this isn’t incentive enough, there are so many vegan cheeses out there for you to try! Not all of them are brilliant, admittedly – but some are just delicious when melted on a pizza or in a toastie. Recipes for vegan cheese are getting better and better and more and more authentic. “Yeah but its expensive stuff” I hear you say. Not always so. Supermarket vegan cheese costs around the same as a regular block of cheddar!

6) Junk food and snacking

One word. Hummous. The king of healthy snacking. Chop up your veg and get dipping. Get some steamed edamame with sea salt and chilli oil. Rice cakes are good with peanut butter, eat handfuls of nuts and baked chickpeas, make home-made protein bars, flapjacks, guacamole… the list goes on. 

If you like treating yourself to some junk food, then you’re going to love being vegan. Oreos, chilli heatwave Doritos, Bournville dark chocolate, Millions, Skittles, Jelly Tots, Polo mints, sweet chilli Pringles, Cherry Pepsi Max. The list goes on and on. It’s worth checking out the Google entries for “accidentally vegan” – you’re guaranteed to find some of your favourite snacks there.

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