Cooking hacks - Simple Swaps to Make your Favourite Meals Plant Based


A plant-based diet has been proven to lower incidence of the most common health conditions facing millions in the Middle East and North Africa: Obesity, High blood pressure, Diabetes, and High Cholesterol. These diseases are directly driven by lifestyle choices and are completely preventable and reversible. Changing your lifestyle requires you to change your mindset around food and meals. Here are a few helpful ways to change the way you look at food and start thinking about it more as healing medicine than temporary comfort: 

falafel married to health

1. Shift your mindset- rather than thinking of protein as the main dish and veggies as a side, make veggies your star and use proteins as flavoring

2. Plan meatless days in your week- start with Meatless Monday, then Increase to Monday & Friday, then Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and continue to build from there. 

3. Think greens over grains! Replace grains, which we tend to over-consume with greens, or comparable veggie options..

4. Intend to #HealthWithEachMeal! We encourage clients to ask themselves- How am I healing today? Is this meal going to make me feel more alive, healthier, and stronger, OR will it make me feel bloated, regretful, and under-nourished? 

5. Branch out & try new plant-based foods that are available to regularly incorporate- any variety of beans, delicious veggie burgers, fruits, & vegetables. Finding and enjoying new plant-based options will encourage you to incorporate them more often.

For Breakfast

  1. Swap eggs with mashed garbanzo beans or garbanzo bean flour 

  2. Swap mango juice for a bowl of fresh mango

  3. Swap flat bread and cheese for a slice of whole grain toast with dairy free baba ghanouj 

  4. Swap yogurt for homemade coconut yogurt or kefir 


For Lunch

  1. Swap some white rice with cauliflower rice or tabbouleh 

  2. Swap French fries with baked turnip fries

  3. Swap pita bread with veggies (cucumbers, collard greens, romaine, or cabbage) or just use a fork! 

  4. Swap pasta for a fattoush salad

  5. Swap beef and lamb shawarma for cauliflower shawarma berber


For Dinner

  1. Swap kofta for baked falafel 

  2. Swap shish tawook for vegetable kebabs 

  3. Swap cheese for homemade, low-oil hummus

  4. Swap ground beef in stuffed grape leaves with ground walnuts or brown rice

  5. Swap refined grains like white pasta, for filling whole grain versions


For Snacks

  1. Swap baklava for raw date bites

  2. Swap sahlab for warmed coconut milk

  3. Swap rice pudding with brown rice with coconut milk sweetened with dates

  4. Swap any other overly-sweetened dessert for fresh, colorful fruit!

  5. Swap roasted, salted nuts for raw nuts

fruit married to health

Meals can still be tasty, colorful, and incorporate traditional ingredients without harming health! Focus on each meal as an opportunity to heal and enjoy a fuller, longer life with the ones you love most. 

Dahlia Marin and Bassem Yousseff

Meet our Guest Writer


This post was contributed by Dahlia Marin, Functional Plant-Based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Co-Founder of Married to Health. Dahlia overcame pre-diabetes, PCOS, and Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism with a plant-based diet and went on to have a healthy plant-based pregnancy, raise a 100% plant-based, healthy, happy 4 year old. Dahlia now shares her knowledge through Married to Health: advocating plant-based food as medicine and empowering people to find true health and healing.