5 Healthy Vegan Meal Prep Ideas

With school starting back and work returning to the office, you may find yourself once again faced with the perpetual challenge of knowing the right thing to eat every day. When you’re vegan, you also have certain restrictions that can limit your daily choices, especially if you don’t bring your own meals.

That’s why meal prep can be one of the most beneficial parts of your routine. We are here to offer five healthy vegan meal prep ideas that will make you look forward to lunch.

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Why Meal Prep?

When you’re following a vegan diet and lifestyle, planning and preparing your meals in advance comes down to more than just making day-to-day meals easier: it can also help you meet your required nutrients.

Veganism introduces an elevated risk for malnutrition in regard to certain vitamins and minerals, Planning your next meals in advance will help to ensure you reach your daily nutritional needs. Meal prep makes this easier by allowing you to plan and prepare several days’ worth of meals at once – saving you time in the kitchen throughout the week.

5 Healthy Vegan Meal Prep Ideas and Recipes

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

Topping quinoa with your choice of roasted vegetables is a great choice if you’re looking for something lighter without sacrificing texture, flavor, or nutrients. This can be a quick meal that is easily prepared in advance and packaged to eat later in the week.

In fact, by cooking a larger serving of quinoa and vegetables, you can store several meals out of this recipe.

It’s also versatile. Top with your favorite vegetables roasted in your oil and herbs of choice and serve on a bed of quinoa. You can even swap quinoa for rice if you prefer. 

By getting creative with the vegetables you choose to incorporate, and shopping for local in-season produce, you’ll be able to create a healthy meal that stores easily and tastes just as good on day two. 

Prepare Grains in Advance

We understand that sometimes certain foods just aren’t as good when prepared in advance. Certain vegetables or fruits can brown faster once they’re prepared, such as apples or avocados, and it can make a meal you spent time planning and preparing unpleasant.

However, even if you decide to wait until the day before or the day of to prepare parts of your meal, cooking your grains in advance can be a quick and easy way to succeed at meal prep. 

Some grains, such as rice, can even be better after a few days stored. In fact, certain recipes call for day-old rice, allowing you to experiment with your meals and explore your nutrition by incorporating new recipes into your weekly vegan meal prep. 

Vegetarian Chili

This family-favorite comfort food goes beyond weekly meal prep by being freezer friendly, allowing you to stretch out a single meal for weeks, if not months. This is also a high-volume meal, meaning it will fill you up with smaller portions.

And the best part? You can make it with nearly any vegetable.

The base is founded on beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste with your common kitchen seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, and, of course, chili powder). From there, you can also add in zucchini, bell pepper, celery, corn, or any other vegetables you’d like.

After allowing it to cook on the stove until the beans are tender, you can serve it with your choice of toppings, from vegan cheese and sour cream to crushed crackers. 

Utilize Leftovers

Whether you cooked the night before or treated yourself to vegan takeout, storing and preparing your leftovers can be one of the best ways to fill a gap in your weekly menu. It also helps reduce waste while while also saving money. 

If you don’t have access to an area to cook your meal during the day, there are also of plenty options, such as salads or certain vegan pastas, that taste just as well cold. 

Heat-Free “Raw” Tacos

This meal is just one example of the variety of dishes you can serve cold. 

The basis for this recipe is cooked lentils topped with seasoning as your taco “meat”. While this step involves cooking, the rest is served raw, and even this is designed to be served cold or at room temperature, making it the perfect meal prep meal. 

While you can wrap this in tortillas, you can also utilize vegetables for a healthier meal. Our top choices are lettuce wraps or stuffed bell peppers.

Lastly, you can either go ahead and top your tacos with your choice of vegan cheeses and sour cream, salsa, or avocado. Another idea is to package them on the side to add on top whenever it is time for you eat. 

Make Healthy Vegan Meal Prep Easy with Willow Bistro

Willow is a vegan restaurant giving classic bistro comfort food an upscale twist while using 100% vegan ingredients. You can enjoy a great vegan lunch at our restaurant or enjoy lunch in your office or home with our pickup and delivery services. Wherever you decide to spend your lunch break, we look forward to serving you high-quality vegan cuisine. 

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4 Vegan Athlete Diet Tips

One of the biggest misconceptions about going vegan is that you’ll have to sacrifice your form and athleticism. However, you’ll be glad to know that’s just not true. In fact, there are several top athletes and bodybuilders who live completely vegan.

Although being a vegan athlete means getting a little creative with your diet, here at Willow, we’re prepared to offer more than innovative vegan dishes—we want to give you the advice you need to succeed as a vegan athlete. Read on to learn the top 4 vegan athlete diet tips.

Willow Vegan Bistro serves nutritious vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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What to Know About Nutrition as a Vegan Athlete

For all athletes, whether you’re vegan or not, there are several important points to remember when it comes to your diet.

First, hydration should always be the top priority. Whether you’re at home or working out, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to ensure your success. While eating the right foods can dictate your performance, your base health and wellbeing can be significantly impacted by your water intake (or lack thereof).

It’s also important that you take the time to plan out your meals. Knowing what and when you need to eat can help make sure that you’re reaching your daily nutritional goals.

Top 4 Diet Tips for Vegan Athletes

Here are the top four diet tips for vegan athletes:

Know What You’re Getting – And What You’re Not

One of the biggest concerns for vegan athletes is whether or not they’ll be able to get enough protein on a plant-based diet.

Surprisingly, though, there are actually many fruits and vegetables that act as a source of protein for vegans. In fact, with such a wide variety of cuisine falling into the vegan category, there are few important nutrients that you won’t be able to fit into your diet.

However, it’s important to know what nutrients you aren’t getting, and whether or not you should consider supplements. One vitamin you won’t be able to find in a vegan diet is B12. B12 works to keep your cells healthy while also preventing conditions such as anemia, and it’s mostly found in animal-based products such as meat and dairy. As a result, supplements for B12 are encouraged for all vegans, whether they’re athletes or not.

Know Your Proteins

As we mentioned above, protein isn’t scarce in a vegan diet. From dishes such as seitan to legumes and even leafy greens, there’s no shortage of protein available for vegan athletes. However, as an athlete, it’s important to know what these vegan protein sources are.

View our blog, 7 Best Sources of Vegan Protein for more information!

If you’re worried about a bland or boring diet, don’t fear. When it comes to protein, your options are nearly endless and can branch away from the usual vegetables. In fact, here at Willow, we offer a variety of meatless “meat” options, serving everything from cheeseburgers to lasagna.

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Eat Colorfully

There’s an old saying that the more colorful your plate is, the more nutrients you’re getting. When it comes to eating a vegan diet, there’s more truth to that than you might think.

Fruits and vegetables come in a wide variety of colors, from blues and reds to greens. Each one offers its own nutritional benefits, with certain colors hinting at different benefits, such as dark green acting as a great source of folate.

As a result, one of the best ways to keep your body in top form while eating a vegan diet is to fit as many different colors on your plate as possible each meal. This ensures that you’re receiving a variety of vitamins and nutrients necessary in a healthy diet.

Understand Sweat and Salt

Naturally, a plant-based diet is lower in sodium than one that includes animal products such as meats or dairy. While lower sodium levels are important in staying healthy, you don’t want to eliminate salt completely.

When it comes to proper nerve and muscle health, salt is one of the most important factors. As a result, for top performance, maintaining a healthy level of sodium during workouts is a step you won’t want to miss.

With already lower levels of sodium in your diet, though, it can be difficult to maintain the right levels of salt when you’re constantly sweating. Thus, one of our top diet tips for vegan athletes is to find healthy ways to incorporate extra sodium during your workout routine. Our suggestion? Pair your water intake with the occasional sports drink while working out to restore any sodium or electrolytes lost through sweat.

Visit Willow Today

We hope these 4 vegan athlete diet tips assist you! Remember, veganism and athleticism don’t have to be opposites. At Willow, we provide a wide variety of nutritious vegan cuisine that you’ll absolutely love. Join us for dinner out at our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue in NYC or indulge in pickup or delivery. However you decided to receive your plate of high-quality vegan cuisine, we look forward to serving you an outstanding meal!

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How to Find Vegan Restaurants Near You

Eating a vegan diet has its challenges, and knowing where you can eat is one of them. Now that plant-based eating is becoming more mainstream, vegan restaurants are starting to pop up all over the United States. But if you’re new to eating a vegan diet, locating those vegan hotspots can be difficult or overwhelming, especially when you’re traveling in a city that’s not familiar to you. From apps to social media, here’s how to find vegan restaurants near you.

Willow Vegan Bistro serves delicious vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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HappyCow

HappyCow is by far the most popular and comprehensive vegan restaurant locator. What started out as a resource for travelers has turned into a must-have mobile app for every vegan and vegetarian.

The HappyCow app, which costs $4, makes it easy to find vegan restaurants near you thanks to an interactive map based on your location. You can also filter results based on the type of restaurant (vegan or vegetarian friendly) as well as a variety of other categories to find just what you’re looking for.

Similar to Yelp, users can leave reviews and post photos of their meals. Plus, HappyCow isn’t just for US restaurants, either—you can also use it in over 180 countries. If you don’t want to pay for the app, you can also access the same features on the HappyCow.net website, which is free and offers a variety of other vegan resources as well.

VegOut Magazine

VegOut is a premier vegan food and lifestyle magazine. The publication is very dialed in to the local vegan dining scene in the following locations:

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Detroit
  • Los Angeles
  • Portland
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Each city has its own Instagram account where they promote local vegan eateries by sharing drool-worthy photos of must-order dishes. Even if you don’t live in one of the main cities they cover, VegOut constantly publishes vegan restaurant news and dining tips for other U.S. cities, such as Baltimore, Boston, Washington DC, and more. They also like to share nationwide vegan dining news and tips, such as how to order a vegan-friendly Beyond Meat burger at Burger King or how Fatburger is adding vegan milkshakes to their menu.

Instagram

Instagram is more than just a social media network that allows you to share photos and stories with your friends and followers. It’s also a way to discover other people and brands—and that includes restaurants. There’s a very large vegan community on Instagram, and they love to share photos of their meat-free meals to exemplify how delicious plant-based food can be.

If you’ve ever posted a photo on Instagram, it gives you an option to add a location, which is usually populated with places that are nearby. These locations are also searchable! If you want to find a vegan restaurant near you on Instagram, use the search feature and go to “Places.” Once there, type in the word “vegan” and it will show you results of vegan restaurants that are close by in your city. You can also click on the results to check out the photos diners have posted of their delicious vegan eats.

Another way to use Instagram to find vegan restaurants near you is by searching hashtags. Many cities have hashtags like #veganlosangeles or #vegannyc that will pull up posts from users.

Google

When in doubt, just Google it! A simple search of “Vegan restaurants near me” or “vegan restaurants in [city name]” on your phone or computer should pull up results of vegan-friendly restaurants nearby.

What About Fast-Food & Restaurant Chains?

Depending on where you live or where you’re visiting, it may not be possible to dine at an all-vegan restaurant. Here’s the good news: non-vegan restaurants, including many popular fast-food restaurants and large restaurant chains, are starting to offer more options for their herbivore customers. While you may need to ask a few questions about how the food is prepared or make small modifications, this is especially helpful in cities where the vegan population hasn’t taken root—yet.

So how do you order a vegan meal at one of these non-vegan fast-food restaurants or restaurant chains? Most of the larger companies will have allergen information posted on their websites, but that can also get exhausting and overwhelming. Luckily, PETA has put together a comprehensive guide on how to order vegan meals at fast-food restaurants and chain restaurants, such as Del Taco, Denny’s, Cheesecake Factory, and more.

Visit Willow in NYC!

We hope you now know how to find vegan restaurants near you. If you’d like to try some delicious vegan cuisine in NYC, stop by Willow today! Our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue serves vegan comfort food with innovative preparations. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online. We look forward to serving you an outstanding meal!

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What Happens to Your Body When You Go Vegan?

There are plenty of reasons why someone may want to transition to a vegan diet. But have you ever wondered what exactly happens to your body when you go vegan? From weight loss to glowing skin, explore some of the benefits you can expect when you stop eating animal products and bulk up on plants.

Willow serves delicious vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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More Energy

One of the more noticeable and immediate changes people experience when they start eating a vegan diet is how much more energy they have. Animal products can be extremely taxing on the digestive system and take longer to make their way through the gastrointestinal tract, which causes sluggishness and constipation. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, are high in fiber and require less energy to pass through the digestive system. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also loaded with nutrients and have energizing properties.

Better Digestion and Gut Health

Going vegan is like an extreme makeover for your gut, and it doesn’t take long for this change to happen. The fiber in plant-based foods feeds good bacteria, which is essential for a healthy gut and better overall health. Fiber will also improve your bowel movements, keeping you regular and preventing constipation. While it’s true that a lot of new vegans may experience an increase in gas and bloating, this is usually only temporary since the body is not used to a high intake of fiber. You can reduce this unwanted side effect easily by chewing your food more, drinking extra water, and cooking your vegetables.

Weight Loss

More and more people are drawn to a vegan diet because it easily allows you to lose weight. Compared to animal protein and dairy products, plant-based foods are lower in calories, especially when in their natural, unprocessed state. Fruits and vegetables also have higher water and fiber content, which leaves you feeling full without consuming a lot of calories. Of course, there are other benefits to losing weight as well. When you lower your body mass index (BMI), you also reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Blood Sugar Control

Some people may be surprised to hear that even though a vegan diet contains a lot of starchy vegetables, it can actually benefit those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Not only can it help manage and reverse symptoms, but it can also prevent the development of type 2 diabetes altogether. Since a vegan diet is high in fiber, it can help regulate blood sugar levels. Many plant-based foods are also low on the glycemic index, so they won’t spike your blood sugar.

Lower Cholesterol Levels

Switching to a vegan diet can dramatically reduce your cholesterol levels, especially the bad cholesterol that can lead to heart disease. While meat and dairy products all contain dietary cholesterol and are high in saturated fat, fruits and vegetables contain zero cholesterol and are low in saturated fat. The high fiber content in plant-based foods can help lower your cholesterol levels as well. In fact, many people who switch to a vegan diet are able to reduce the amount of cholesterol-lowering drugs they take or come off of them completely.

Less Inflammation

Short-term inflammation is normal and necessary to heal and prevent illness. However, too much inflammation or chronic inflammation can lead to many chronic diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more.

It turns out that your diet can play a major role in the amount of inflammation in the body. Meat, cheese, and other animal products are all highly inflammatory foods. A vegan diet, on the other hand, is naturally anti-inflammatory because plant-based foods are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

Better Mood

From less stress and anxiety to a happier disposition, vegan food is the definition of “good mood food.” Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are rich in nutrients that can support your mental well-being.

Healthier Skin

Want to know the secret to healthier-looking skin? A vegan diet! One of the beautiful side effects of eating plants is glowing skin. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, and E and contain powerful antioxidants that can help you glow from the inside out—literally.

By eliminating dairy from your diet, you’re more likely to notice clearer skin. That’s because dairy contains hormones that trigger breakouts. When dairy is combined with other highly processed foods and refined sugars that are common in the standard American diet, you create a recipe for acne to form.

Visit Willow in NYC!

As you can see, a lot of positive changes happen to your body when you go vegan! If you’d like to try some delicious vegan cuisine in NYC, stop by Willow today. Our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online. We look forward to serving you an outstanding meal!

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How to Start a Plant-Based Diet

Are you ready to transition to a plant-based diet but have no idea where to start? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to start a plant-based diet.

Willow serves delicious vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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What is a Plant-Based Diet?

There’s a lot of confusion regarding the difference between a vegan and plant-based diet. The official definition of a plant-based diet is a diet that consists of whole, unrefined, and/or minimally processed plant foods. These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. 

Those who eat a plant-based diet usually avoid highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oils. When it comes to eating meat, it all depends on your interpretation. Many of those who follow a plant-based diet don’t eat meat, but others may eat it in small amounts. For vegans, it’s important to be aware of this and check labels and ingredients.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Plant-Based Diet

Now that you know what you’ll be eating, here’s how to start a plant-based diet and ensure you stick with it:

Find Your “Why”

Before you begin a plant-based diet, take a minute and remind yourself why you want to start eating this way in the first place. Did you read about the benefits of eliminating animal products from your diet and hope to improve your health? Perhaps you want to lose weight, reduce your environmental footprint, or prevent the suffering of animals. Whatever your motivation may be, write it down and put it on your fridge or bathroom mirror as a daily reminder. This will help you stay committed on those days when you want to go back to your old way of eating.

Prepare Your Kitchen

Out of sight, out of mind! If you’re serious about your new plant-based diet, the best way to show your commitment is to get rid of any foods that aren’t plant-based. That doesn’t mean you have to throw them away! If the food is still good, consider donating it to your local food bank, ask a neighbor if they’d like it, or take it to work and offer it to your co-workers.

If you’re the only one in your house that’s eating a plant-based diet, create dedicated space for your plant-based items in your pantry and fridge, whether it’s a designated drawer or shelf.

Stock Up on Plant-Based Foods

Now that you’ve made room in your pantry and refrigerator, it’s time to go grocery shopping! The easiest way to support your new, plant-powered lifestyle is to make sure your kitchen is always stocked with healthy, whole plant foods. 

Fill your cart with fruits and vegetables to snack on, as well as hummus, canned beans, and whole grains like oats, quinoa, and rice. Don’t forget to stock your freezer with frozen fruits and vegetables as well. They’ll come in handy on those days when you need to throw a meal together fast!

Want more vegan grocery tips? Check out our vegan grocery list for beginners!

Get Enough Calories

One of the biggest adjustments for anyone transitioning to a plant-based diet is eating enough calories. Compared to the Standard American Diet, which is loaded with processed foods that are high in fat, a plant-based diet is made up of foods that have a lower caloric density. They’re also high in fiber and water, which means they’ll make you feel full without eating a lot of calories. While your body is getting used to your new way of eating, don’t worry about portion sizes—even if you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re hungry, eat! Also, don’t forget to eat the rainbow so your body gets the proper nutrients.

Take it One Day at a Time

Starting any new diet can be hard. But beginning a plant-based diet, which is probably the complete opposite of the way you’ve been eating your entire life, comes with its own set of challenges. Rather than worrying about what you’re going to eat at Thanksgiving or how you’ll have to turn down your grandma’s cake when you visit her, take it one meal at a time. If you accidentally eat something that isn’t plant-based, that’s ok! Be kind to yourself and simply try to do the best you can.

Keep Educating Yourself

If you find yourself having trouble sticking to your new plant-based diet, come back to your “why” from step one and educate yourself more. Here are some resources you can utilize based on your “why”:

  • If you’re eating a plant-based diet for health reasons, watch a documentary like “What the Health” or “Forks Over Knives.” 
  • If you’re trying to lose weight, find some success stories online or join an online community to help you stay motivated and accountable. 
  • If you’re an eco-warrior, track how much your plant-based diet is reducing your environmental footprint. 
  • If you’re protecting animals, visit a local animal sanctuary or watch a documentary like “Earthlings” or “Cowspiracy.” 

Visit Willow in NYC!

If you’d like to try some delicious vegan cuisine in NYC, stop by Willow today! Our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online. We look forward to serving you an outstanding meal!

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7 Best Vegan Protein Sources

One of the biggest misconceptions about a vegan diet is that you won’t be able to get enough protein. The good news is you can absolutely meet your protein needs without eating meat—you just have to know where to get it! Continue reading to discover the seven best vegan protein sources you should incorporate into your diet.

Willow serves vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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What You Need to Know About Protein

Protein is one of three main macronutrients the body needs in large amounts in order to sustain life. It’s essential for building, maintaining, and repairing the tissues in your body, including hair, nails, muscles, bones, and organs. Protein also gives your body energy, keeps your immune system strong, and helps you feel fuller longer. 

Protein is made up of 21 building blocks known as amino acids. They can be broken down into two types: nonessential and essential. Of the 21 amino acids, the body can produce 12 on its own. These are known as nonessential amino acids. The remaining nine amino acids are essential, which means you must get them from your diet.

The Best Vegan Protein Sources

While protein is present in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, there are plenty of vegan protein sources that make it easy to meet your needs:

Seitan

It may sound evil, but seitan (pronounced SAY-tan) is 100% cruelty-free. This protein-packed meat alternative is made from gluten, which is the main protein in wheat. It contains 46 grams of protein per ½ cup. Seitan is incredibly versatile, and due to its meat-like texture, it’s often sliced thin like deli meat or cut thick for “steaks.”

See what seitan is all about with our Cherrywood Smoked Pastrami or “Steak” Frites from Willow Vegan Bistro. Order now!

Tofu

Tofu is the original vegan protein. Dating as far back as 2,000 years, this solid white block of condensed soy milk contains 20 grams of protein per cup. Tofu also has an advantage over other plant proteins because it’s a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids that you need to get from food.

Tempeh

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food that can be used in stir fry or to make tempeh bacon. Just like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, making this meat alternative a complete protein. However, tempeh has tofu beat when it comes to protein. One-half cup of tempeh contains 16 grams of vegan protein!

Vegan Meat

Just like the real thing, plant-based meat is also a rich source of protein. For example, a 4oz Impossible Burger patty contains 19 grams of protein, which is the same amount of protein you’d find in a ground beef patty.

Sink your teeth into Willow’s Cheeseburger Sliders or Eggplant Lasagna, both made with Impossible meat. Order now!

Lentils

Lentils are the protein king of the legume family. In one cup of cooked lentils, you’ll get 18 grams of protein. Lentils come in many varieties, including brown, green, and red.

Edamame

If you’re looking to load up on a complete protein but don’t want to eat tofu or tempeh, go straight to the source! One cup of cooked edamame or soybeans contains about 18.5 grams of protein.

Chickpeas

If lentils are the king of the legume family, then chickpeas are the queen. The main ingredient in everyone’s favorite dip, hummus, contains 16 grams of protein per cup.

Visit Willow in NYC!

We hope you enjoyed learning about the seven best vegan protein sources. If you’d like to try some delicious vegan cuisine in NYC, stop by Willow today! Our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online. We look forward to serving you an outstanding meal!

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Is a Vegan Diet Healthy?

More and more people are turning to a vegan diet because it’s generally accepted as healthy. But is it really? Keep reading to find out the benefits of a vegan diet and how it can impact your health.

Willow serves vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Here are five ways a vegan diet can benefit your health:

Rich in Nutrients

Many people have a hard time believing that you can get all the nutrients you need from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plants. But the truth is, plants are great sources of protein, calcium, iron, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

May Decrease Risk of Cancer

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one in three cancers are linked to diet. But their research also shows that a vegan diet can lower your risk of developing cancer by 15%.

May Decrease Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

More than 100 million people in the United States have diabetes or are likely to develop it at some point in their life. Luckily, research from PLOS Medicine shows that following a vegan diet can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 33%.

May Decrease Risk of Heart Disease

A vegan diet is the definition of heart-healthy. According to a 2014 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, vegans have a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Vegans also lower their risk of high blood pressure by up to 75%!

May Decrease Risk of Obesity

Compared to other diets, people who eat a vegan diet have a lower body mass index or BMI. Of course, if you eat a lot of highly-processed vegan foods, it can lead to weight gain.

Are Supplements Necessary on a Vegan Diet?

No matter how you choose to eat, most diets lack some nutritional element. While a vegan diet can be healthy and rich in many vitamins and minerals, vegans may need to supplement with certain nutrients to avoid deficiencies:

  • Vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage and protects the heart. It’s naturally found in dirt, and because animals eat dirt, it’s also found in animal products. Some vegan products are fortified with B12, but supplementation may be needed due to the body’s ability to absorb it.
  • Vitamin K2 regulates calcium deposition. It ultimately reduces bone loss and the rate of osteoporosis. It’s only found in a few plant-based foods, specifically fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi.
  • Iodine is important for healthy thyroid function. The only plant foods with high iodine levels are iodized salt and seaweed.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids can be broken down into three different types: ALA, EPA, and DHA. All three are critical to your health, but DHA is particularly important for your brain. Flax seeds and chia seeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Zinc is necessary for immune function and repairing cells. This mineral is present in beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, but it may be difficult to absorb due to their phytate content.

A Word on Vegan Junk Food

Just because a food is vegan doesn’t automatically make it a healthy option. In fact, if you eat a lot of overly-processed vegan foods, it’s almost as bad as the Standard American Diet.

For example, let’s compare a regular hamburger with an Impossible Burger. The hamburger is full of cholesterol, saturated fat, heme iron, and other ingredients that may be harmful to your health. So in this case, the Impossible Burger is better for you. But if you compare it to a vegan bean burger made from whole foods, the Impossible Burger wouldn’t be the healthier option because it contains high amounts of salt, sugar, saturated fat, and other additives. 

Although meat alternatives of your favorite junk foods are helpful when transitioning to a vegan diet or even for an occasional treat, a vegan diet that consists of mostly whole, plant foods is better for your long-term health.

Visit Willow in NYC!

A vegan diet is healthy when you make the right food choices. If you’d like to try some delicious vegan cuisine in NYC, stop by Willow today! Our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online! We look forward to serving you an outstanding meal.

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Try the Best Vegan Dessert in NYC at Willow

Manhattan is home to some of the hottest vegan restaurants. But if you’re looking to try the best vegan dessert in NYC, Willow Vegan Bistro is the ultimate destination to satisfy your sweet tooth. From creamy cheesecake to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, here’s what you’ll find on Chef Guy Vaknin’s newest plant-based menu that will make you want to order dessert first!

Willow offers a variety of vegan desserts with upscale plating. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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Vanilla Bean Cashew Cheesecake

People travel near and far to the Big Apple to experience an authentic slice of New York-style cheesecake. At Willow, we’re breaking all the rules when it comes to this classic dessert!

Instead of a graham cracker crust, our cashew and yogurt-based cheesecake filling is nestled inside of a crumbled chocolate chip cookie crust. The topping is also non-traditional. Instead of a raspberry or blueberry sauce, our vegan cheesecake is expertly drizzled with rich, hot fudge.

Since you can’t have too much of a good thing, each plate is garnished with a trio of chocolate coconut truffles. The best part about this dessert? It’s the perfect size for one person, which means you don’t have to share!

Bananas Foster Cake

This may be New York, but you can still “let the good times roll” with our best-selling dessert. Created by the head chef of the iconic Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Willow’s bananas foster cake is a slice of southern comfort.

Chef Guy pulls out all the stops for his veganized version. To start, ripe bananas are caramelized and then flambéd in a rum sauce fit for Mardi Gras. Next, a scoop of our vegan vanilla bean ice cream is spooned on top of the cake. Finally, for the pièce de résistance, we add a drizzle of strawberry coulis.

If you’ve never had bananas foster, it’s hard to describe how amazing these flavors taste when they all come together. Luckily, you can experience it for yourself without traveling to NOLA!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

Chef Guy’s spin on the chocolate chip cookie is the definition of unique. This classic cookie features the power couple of the dessert world: chocolate and peanut butter. Since nothing warms the soul quicker than that fresh-out-of-the-oven feel, we bake our vegan chocolate chip cookie in an individual skillet. We then top it off with a generous scoop of rich and creamy vegan chocolate ice cream, a decadent drizzle of peanut butter sauce, and a sprinkling of peanuts and sea salt.

Vegan Ice Cream

Willow’s vegan ice cream will simply melt all your troubles away. Here’s the scoop: our chocolate and vanilla bean coconut-based ice cream is so rich and creamy, you won’t believe it’s dairy and egg-free. The only thing left to decide is how many scoops you want! Also, most of the desserts at Willow are served with one of our ice cream flavors, so why not have your cake and eat a scoop, too!

Visit Willow in NYC!

We invite you to try the best vegan dessert in NYC at Willow Vegan Bistro! The next time you have a sweet tooth, stop by our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online!

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What’s the Difference Between Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-Based?

If you’re confused by the different types of plant-based diets, you’re not alone! Even though they’re built on the same foundation of eating fruits and vegetables, there are a few variations to each. Here, we’ll break down the difference between vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based diets to help you better understand their nuances.

Willow serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. Visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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Vegetarian

Nearly 20% of the world’s population is vegetarian. Many people choose to follow a vegetarian diet for ethical, health, environmental, or religious reasons. Out of the three diets, most people seem to understand that vegetarian means meatless.

People who follow a vegetarian diet do not eat the following: 

  • Red meat
  • White meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Shellfish
  • By-products from animal slaughter (e.g. gelatin and animal stock)

A vegetarian diet, however, isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet. There are actually several variations of vegetarianism.

These are some of the most common types of vegetarianism:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. A vegetarian with this diet won’t eat meat, fish, or poultry, but they will eat eggs and dairy products. “Lacto” comes from the Latin word for “milk” while “ovo” comes from the Latin word for “egg.”
  • Ovo-vegetarian diet. This variation of a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, and fish, as well as dairy products due to the dairy industry’s cruel practices. Ovo-vegetarians still eat eggs and foods that contain eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet. Lacto-vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. They do, however, eat dairy products.
  • Pescatarian. People who follow a pescatarian diet don’t eat meat or poultry, but they do eat fish. They may or may not eat dairy products or eggs.

Vegan

A vegan diet completely eliminates all meat and animal-derived products. This includes red and white meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, dairy products, eggs, honey, gelatin, and other additives. Unlike a plant-based diet, a vegan diet doesn’t exclude processed foods or oils.

Raw Veganism

A popular variation of veganism is raw veganism or raw foodism. A raw vegan diet consists of eating foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that aren’t cooked or processed. A food is considered raw if it’s never been heated over 104–118°F (40–48°C). Since you can’t cook your food, alternative food preparations like juicing, dehydrating, soaking, and sprouting are popular. People who follow this type of vegan diet usually do so for health purposes, because they believe that cooking foods destroys the natural enzymes and reduces their nutrient content.

Veganism as a Lifestyle

For many vegans, their eating habits are more than just a diet—it’s a lifestyle rooted in compassion. The Vegan Society defines veganism as, “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.”

Someone who follows a vegan lifestyle usually avoids the following: 

  • Buying leather or fur
  • Supporting businesses that exploit animals (e.g. zoos and circuses)
  • Supporting hunting and killing animals for sport
  • Purchasing products that were tested on animals, like makeup

Plant-Based

A whole-food, plant-based diet consists of whole, unrefined, and/or minimally processed plant foods. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Those who follow a plant-based diet typically avoid highly-refined and processed foods like bleached flour (e.g., all-purpose flour), refined sugar, and oils.

Now to address the elephant in the room: What about meat? A majority of plant-based doctors promote plant-based diets that are free of meat and animal products because of the growing body of research that shows how they can negatively impact your health. However, a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean meat-free. Someone who follows a plant-based diet may still eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products, but in smaller amounts.

Also, while veganism is more of a lifestyle, people who label themselves as plant-based are usually just referring to their diet. It’s not uncommon for those who follow a plant-based diet to become more aware of their choices and eventually follow certain vegan practices.

Visit Willow in NYC!

We hope you better understand the difference between vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based diets. If you’d like to try some of the best vegan food in NYC, stop by Willow today! Our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online! We look forward to serving you an outstanding vegan meal.

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Willow Offers Vegan Comfort Food in NYC

Comfort food is like a warm hug on a plate. Luckily, Willow offers the best vegan comfort food in NYC. Stop by our cozy and contemporary vegan bistro for an outstanding meal!

Willow serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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Comfort Food, Elevated

Many people turn to their favorite dishes as a source of comfort. Seeing a need for vegan comfort food in New York City, executive chef Guy Vaknin and his wife Tali created a space where they can share their twist on classic American food with the community. The 100% vegan and kosher menu is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Enjoy the nostalgia of your favorite comforting meals with our elevated bistro food!

Menu Sneak Peek

Here’s a preview of the vegan comfort food you’ll find on the menu at Willow:

  • Vegan Calamari. Made from king oyster mushrooms, these deliciously deep-fried rings are perfect for dunking in our herb marinara sauce and horseradish mayo.
  • Truffle Mac-and-Cheese. Is there anything more comforting than mac-and-cheese? An elevated twist on the childhood favorite, this skillet mac-and-cheese is a triple threat with black truffles, a blend of creamy vegan cheeses, and crispy “bac’n.”
  • Buttermilk Fried Chick’n Sandwich. You don’t have to sacrifice texture or flavor to get your fried chicken fix! Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, our vegan chick’n patty is piled high with cabbage slaw, avocado slices, and pickles. All of this is held together with a brioche bun that’s slathered with spicy horseradish aioli.
  • “Steak” Frites. This hearty and satisfying dish brings a whole new meaning to steak dinner. Inspired by the French classic, our plant-based version uses seitan that’s marinated and grilled to perfection. The “steak” is paired with hand-cut wedge fries and a creamy wild mushroom demi-glace.
  • Eggplant Lasagna. If you’re looking for Italian comfort food, you’ve come to the right place. Chef Guy’s re-creation of this dish features hand-rolled lasagna noodles filled with roasted eggplant, Impossible meat, herb “ricotta,” marinara sauce, and a generous sprinkle of vegan mozzarella.
  • Vanilla Bean Cashew Cheesecake. Our creamy cashew and yogurt cheesecake filling is nestled inside a crumbled chocolate chip cookie crust. The decadence continues with a generous drizzle of hot fudge and a garnish of chocolate coconut truffles. This dessert is perfect for sharing, but we won’t judge you if you ask for only one spoon!
  • Bananas Foster Cake. This dessert is a bestseller and for a good reason. A veganized version of the classic New Orleans dessert, this Bananas Foster Cake is served with all of the fixings, including caramelized bananas, rum flambe sauce, and strawberry coulis. Then, it’s topped with a scoop of vanilla bean vegan ice cream.

Giving Back

Not only will Willow’s vegan comfort food make you feel good, but it will also do good in the community. A portion of sales provides vegan meals for New Yorkers in need through our charity partner, Support and Feed.

Visit Willow in NYC!

Willow offers the best vegan comfort food in NYC! So, the next time you’re craving vegan in New York City, stop by our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online!

Order Online