Vegetarian for Life

Beyond Veganuary

Posted by Claire on 20/01/22 in VfL News and Events

Each year, more and more people worldwide are taking part in Veganuary and using the month of January to give plant-based eating a go. Did you introduce any changes this Veganuary? Perhaps you experimented with new recipes or expanded the number of vegan items on your menu?

It's never too late to give the month-long challenge a go and it doesn't need to be demanding.

Veganuary – the non-profit organisation that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond – reports that during the 2021 campaign, more than 500,000 people took the pledge, while more than 825 new vegan products and menu options were launched in the key campaign countries.

The top reasons participants stated for staying vegan included learning more about their diet, finding it easier and tastier than expected, and noticeable health benefits. Furthermore, the National Food Strategy Report highlights the key changes needed for the national diet by 2023 to meet health, climate, and other environmental commitments. These recommendations include a 30% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, and a 30% decrease in meat consumption.

By increasing your plant-based menu options you'll be working towards these targets one meal at a time. Remember you don't need to go all in. As I like to put it 'do-what-you-canuary' – by reducing meat and dairy across your menu.

So if you’re wondering how to continue making changes beyond Veganuary, here are our top tips for you:

  • Make Meat–free Monday a permanent fixture in your setting. Offer a choice of vegan and vegetarian dishes and we’re sure that those you care for will be looking forward to Mondays in no time.
  • Integrate more vegan options into your existing menu. You can create dishing using ingredients you already buy in; there's no need to buy specialist ingredients. Try making vegan versions of existing menu items such as Shepherd’s Pie or Bolognese, with a simple swap of veggie mince or lentils.
  • Check out what vegan items your wholesaler has. Order some new items and experiment with new vegan dishes. Perhaps organise a taste-test event with residents to get feedback.
  • Baking is a great way to add vegan options to your menu and make celebrations and special occasions more inclusive. Just because someone is vegan they shouldn't have to miss out on a sweet treat. Our vegan baking guide is a great resource, packed full of recipes and tips. This is your foolproof guide to decadent, delicious, dairy-free baking.
  • Make use of lentils and beans – versatile and cheap ingredients. Not only can you create some tasty, plant–based options but you’ll save money, too.
  • Offer a selection of plant–based milks for drinks and breakfast. These have a long shelf life so can be stored if not being used daily.
  • Experiment with tofu. A fantastic ingredient that can be used in many ways as well as being a good source of protein. Check out our website for recipe ideas.

  • Introduce a daily vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner option for your menus. This doesn’t have to be lots of work. You can make vegan versions of current dishes; introduce vegan soups for all, for lunch; and incorporate some ready–made options, such as vegan sausages or ‘fishless’ fillets.
  • Remember vegan options can be enjoyed by everyone. You may find many non-vegan residents enjoy trying some new dishes and may opt for the veggie version over the meat. Make sure to clearly display vegan and vegetarian options on your menus, website and menu boards, too.

Ensure your staff have all the knowledge they need to cater well and ethically for veg*ns. You’ll find many useful publications on our website including our Vegan Rescue Pack, Nutrition Guide and Fortification for Vegans.

As Chef Alex says:  "Take advantage of the services and resources VfL has to offer – membership, training, recipes, information. We are here to support you."

We hope that Veganuary has got your chefs' creative juices flowing and has you hungry to try out more delicious plant–based recipes that all your residents will enjoy. To help care homes support older veg*ns we have our Show You Care Award of up to £1,000 available for creative ideas that will enhance the quality of life of older veg*ns within your care home. How about hosting a Meat-Free Monday, a Fish-Free Friday, or a vegan coffee morning or afternoon tea? The award is open currently for applications so why not get planning a vegan BBQ or garden party? You could even host an all-staff bake-off.

If you’d like any further support to go beyond Veganuary, or training information, please get in touch with Ellie: or on 0161 257 0887.


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