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First Week of Eating Vegan

You’ve decided to decrease your meat, eggs, and dairy. Great!  You’re in good company—with celebs Ellen DeGeneres, Christie Brinkley, Michelle Pfeiffer, and 3+ million other Americans—making a strong commitment to life, health and the environment.

So, um, what are you going to eat later today … and tomorrow… and the day after that?

I have a suggestion that will keep it simple for the first week (or two or three—whatever) as you more deeply explore meatless, egg-less, and dairy-free eating. 

Create a Go-To List

My suggestion is to create a go-to list of foods you already like that happen to be plant-based. You can use this list when you’re racking your brain over what to eat—when it seems like there’s nothing you can choose from. Meatless eating will become easy and second-nature after you get the hang of it, but a list can help at the beginning so you eat tasty, satisfying food when you start.

In my opinion the go-to list shouldn’t exceed about 20 items—any longer and it might become cumbersome.

I’ve provided some examples below. You’ll need to create a list that works for you. I recommend carrying the list with you on your phone or a piece of paper. It will come in handy.

Check out recipes and menus on this site for more ideas. I’ll be adding ideas for additional quick breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We don’t want to get too fancy the first week or two. Keep it simple, keep at it, and give it time to become your way of life.

Best of luck as you embark on your new path.  Please enter any questions you have in the Comments section and I will answer them. 


  • Oatmeal or cereal with non-dairy milk

  • Toast with jam and/or Earth Balance vegan margarine

  • Toast with hot baked beans (Heinz and others sell vegetarian versions)

  • Smoothie with non-dairy milk and silken tofu instead of milk and yogurt

  • Power bars: NuGo bars, Clif, Simply Protein, Go Macro Macrobar, ProBar Meal, Larabars


  • Falafel

  • Hummus sandwich (add lettuce, tomato, onion, oil & vinegar; add roasted peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, etc.)

  • Peanut butter sandwich (add jelly; add vegan mayonnaise and pickle or tomato)

  • Tapenade (olive spread) sandwich (add roasted red pepper and basil; add marinated artichoke hearts and roasted sunflower seeds; add hummus and greens)

  • Minestrone soup

  • Black bean soup

  • Gazpacho


  • Vegan chili

  • Bean & rice tacos, tostadas, or burritos with guacamole instead of cheese or sour cream

  • Pasta with marinara sauce (add eggplant)

  • Thai vegetable curries

  • Indian vegetable curries (ask them to use oil instead of ghee)

  • Chinese vegetable stir-fries, lo meins, moo shu, or fried rice (some restaurants add eggs, so be sure eggs are left out)


  • Carrots, apples, celery, hummus, fruit, nuts, trail mix, crackers, popcorn (no butter), rice cakes


  • Fruit, sorbet, Oreos (yes!), Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists, dark chocolate, Nutter Butter Cookies

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