Upgrade Your Favorite Meal

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The thought of shifting your diet to meet your health goals can be overwhelming, especially when you start thinking about the foods that really make your mouth water. The good news is, you can make small changes to many of your favorite meals to give them a whole food plant-based upgrade. When you start shifting your diet by making changes to the meals you love, you will feel a sense of familiarity and ease while experiencing a new, delicious and healthy twist! 

Generally speaking, adding certain whole plant-based ingredients to your favorite dishes while leaving out meat, fish, eggs and dairy can help you make more progress toward your health goals. You can make these swaps when you cook at home and also when you are out at a restaurant.  Many restaurants are very willing to accommodate any food swaps when you ask.  

making the upgrade


  • Morning Coffee: Swap a plant-based milk for cream or milk.

  • Oatmeal: Prepare steel-cut oats with water or a plant-based milk and top with fruit and walnuts.

  • Scrambled eggs: Make a hearty tofu scramble with veggies, herbs and spices. 

  • Bacon: Bake a flavorful eggplant or tempeh bacon.

  • Toast: Use 100% whole wheat toast and top with nut butter, hummus or avocado instead of butter.

  • Breakfast Sandwich: Fill a 100% whole wheat english muffin or two slices of whole wheat bread with tofu, avocado, tomato and lettuce.

Lunch and Dinner

  • Spaghetti or pasta dish: Swap meat sauce for a tomato-based sauce with lots of cooked veggies or make your own meatless meatballs with mushrooms and white beans. Sprinkle on nutritional yeast, which has a cheesy or nutty flavor and is loaded with B-vitamins.

  • Tacos, burritos, fajitas: Leave out the meat and cheese and instead add beans, avocado, veggies and salsa. 

  • Split pea soup: Leave out the ham and sprinkle with dulse or kombu. You’ll get all of the flavor without the added saturated fat and cholesterol. 

  • Most green salads: Instead of topping with chicken or fish, top with beans, baked tofu or tempeh. Opt for a vinaigrette rather than a creamy dressing. 

  • Stir fry: Swap tofu or tempeh for meat and brown rice for white rice.

  • Curries: Stick with an all veggie curry or add tofu or tempeh.

  • Chili: Swap out the ground beef for lentils or beans and top with sliced avocado. Nutritional yeast on top can give it a cheesy flavor. 

  • Mediterranean Wrap: Omit the feta and meat and fill with veggies and hummus.

  • Tuna Sandwich: Make a mashed chickpea salad sandwich. It’s delicious!

  • BLT: Make a TLT (tempeh, lettuce and tomato) instead.  It is extra hearty with sliced avocado.

  • Hamburger: Opt for a bean-based veggie burger or a grilled portabella mushroom on a 100% whole-wheat bun. 

  • Pizza: Order without the cheese and add lots of veggies on whole wheat crust.  It sounds strange, but the combination of the whole-grain crust, tomato sauce and veggies is actually really satisfying!

  • Sushi: Order an avocado, cucumber, kanpyo or sweet potato roll.  Or ask to swap in a veggie for the egg in a futomaki. Bonus points if you opt for brown rice. 


  • Apple Pie: Slice and bake an apple and top with cinnamon.

  • Pudding: Replace with a fiber-filled chia seed pudding

  • Ice Cream: Freeze a peeled banana and some strawberries.  Once frozen, blend in a food processor until smooth and creamy and enjoy a delicious frozen treat.

The more you incorporate these healthy upgrades to your favorite dishes, the more you will actually start to crave the healthier options! Check out the Better App or our Pinterest page for more recipe ideas. 

Your Challenge: 

  1. Shift your mindset about giving up your favorite foods.  Think of it not as giving up these foods, but rather modifying or upgrading them to help you feel more healthy and energetic. 

  2. Choose a favorite food to upgrade to a healthful, plant-based meal this week.  Choose one from the list or another meal that is your personal favorite. 

  3. Bon Appétit!

EATKara Mosesso