When cooking for a family, thinking up dinner ideas that will keep everyone happy can be a chore, add to that dietary exclusions such as vegetarian or vegan and you’re cooking two different meals, then you might be in for plenty of challenges. Latest figures from 2016 show that the number of vegans in Britain has risen by more than 360% over the past decade. Yet cooking for a vegan diet doesn’t necessarily require cooking separate meals for everyone. A vegan diet may seem punitive or restrictive but in reality you’ll be surprised just how many delicious dishes can be vegan without needing to cut out too many of your favourite ingredients, and totally animal product free!
Many recipes can easily be altered to the vegan lifestyle. Did you know that popular desserts that include meringue can be made vegan by whipping reduced chickpea brine instead of egg whites? The classic ‘Mac N Cheese’ can be replicated using cashew nuts and tahini and it’s still just as tasty! Vegan cookery classes are a brilliant way of learning a whole range of new cooking skills and recipes that you most likely wouldn’t have experienced before.
A plant based or vegan diet will not only taste good and expand your cooking expertise, but it’s incredibly nutritious and beneficial to your family’s health. By reducing animal meats and dairy products you’d be reducing your intake of saturated fats, which greatly reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Plant based products are also naturally higher in fibre and packed with healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Moreover, by choosing more natural ingredients, such as nuts, fruits and vegetables, it limits an excessive intake of salt and sugar.
If you’re worried about losing essential nutrients such as protein and calcium, then surprisingly there are many natural foods that are in abundance of these. Did you know that Chickpeas are incredibly high in protein? They are an excellent meat substitute in many dishes, my favourite being the family favourite Indian dish Channa Masala. Furthermore, nuts are high in protein, especially pumpkin seeds which are easily on the move, and perfect for snacking at work. Nut butters also contain good protein content, and perfect as a quick and easy toast topper for children’s’ breakfast. There are plenty of dairy alternatives, including calcium fortified milk and yoghurt, so the whole family can still enjoy teas, coffees and a yummy yoghurt dessert after dinner.
Switching to a vegan diet or simply cooking vegan meals doesn’t just mean salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our vegan cookery classes demonstrate an extensive range of recipes that do not compromise on flavour or texture that will keep the whole family happy.
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Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.