You’re pulling a late shift at work. You’ve been ignoring a rumbling stomach for a while, but it is becoming impossible to concentrate.
Light-headed, you arrive at the vending machine. It is crammed with a selection of overly sugared, non-vegan snacks. It’s late.
You’re exhausted and have more work to do. And above all, you are tired of always being hungry.
Going vegan involves relearning a lot of old habits. This challenge is not something that we are used to as omnivores.
When did you last plan a snack to take with you to a friend’s birthday meal at a restaurant, just in case there wasn’t anything filling on the menu?
I was used to going to functions or work and expecting not to feel hungry there. Not so now.
On first going vegan, I charted out my day, the locations I worked at, transport I took etc.
Apart from when I was home and completely in control of the food I had access to, there were no vegan options available to me.
Enquiries at local food providers about offering vegan fare made little difference. If there was a change, it was slow and infinitesimal. I felt discouraged.
It is crucial to avoid hunger when you first make the transition to veganism. For me, this meant becoming a pro at snacks. The keys to this are:
We all have foods that we find comforting.
A quick google search will reveal innovative vegan replacement recipes for most of these. I spent some time relearning how to make nice cream, flapjacks, and cookies.
Particularly flapjacks, they are portable, satisfying, and fill you up for a while.
However, this also does not mean that you have to suddenly become a pâtissier to get your hands on any good food.
Lots of vegan delights can be bought.
I live in a remote area, and the locals’ approach to vegan snacks is similar to how their ancestors may have dealt with intruders: with pitchforks and flaming torches.
This still does not make it impossible. I turned squirrel, and now bulk order vegan delicacies online and stash them at home and at work.
One key point about comfort is that it is OK to bring a snack so that you can join in socially. Most of us like good food and to dine out. If the only desserts on the menu are full-cream dairy crème brûlée, and non-vegan brownies, it is certainly acceptable to get a vegan chocolate bar out of your bag to eat with your coffee.
Buy a range of Tupperware and food carriers so that you can take snacks with you. Bring cutlery, a tablecloth ,and a hamper if it is what you need to ensure you don’t get hungry en route somewhere, or after a long day at work.
I always have a stack of foods at work for days when I forget my lunch or can’t get out to buy whatever vegan food is actually available. Planning ahead to have snacks on hand at your desk or in transit means you aren’t going to let it get to the stage where you are too hungry.
Accessibility for me also means organizing my shopping - then I know I have foods at home that I can cook with to make new snacks or for an evening meal. I always have the ingredients for at least two snacks or full dishes in the fridge at home.
Like with anything, variety is the spice of life. I try to add a new recipe to what I can cook either for home or when I am out, at least once a month, perhaps more.
Try to vary flavours, sweet and savoury snacks and even food and drinks.
It is not always a sweet craving that you need to fix, but sometimes full-on hunger.