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    One thing that puts many people off a vegan diet is the misapprehension that you will have to spend hours in the kitchen trying to be inventive with whole grains and vegetables.

    You only need to open some vegan cookbooks to see that making a tasty meal can sometimes involve dozens of different ingredients!

    But with more choice than ever for people following plant-based diets, it no longer has to be like that.

    And in fact, one of the staple snacks for most people in the UK is toast or a sandwich, which are now just as accessible to vegans as to anyone else!

    If you are not yet a vegan, but interested in changing your lifestyle, why not check out our article on the Health Hub, ‘How to become a vegan.’

    The tastiest vegan toast toppings

    Think for a moment about what to put on toast and it is likely that some of the products below will already be high on your list.

    Vegan fruit spreads and extracts are an easy peasy way to add flavour and nutrition to your toast.

    But what is not very well known is that many everyday fruit spreads are not actually suitable for vegetarians or vegans. So it always pays to read the labels.

    Despite being mostly made from fruit, some jams and conserves also contain gelatin as their thickening agent.

    Gelatin comes from animals, so it is most definitely not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

    Luckily, pectin is an alternative gelling/thickening agent which can be used in vegan spreads.

    Pectin is made from fruit (as an aside, it is also surprisingly easy to make from scratch!) so is increasingly replacing gelatin as the go-to thickener in many vegan foods.

    Meridian spreads - why we love them

    At Holland & Barrett, we absolutely love the brand Meridian for their wonderful range of spreads. Meridian spreads always taste amazing.

    In terms of Meridian’s fruit spreads, they are all handmade in small batches in Somerset.

    No refined sugar is added to the jams.

    Instead, the natural sweetness of each fruit is brought out by cooking them in apple juice. Plus, the fruit they use is organic: bonus!

    Malt extract and yeast extract

    Two naturally vegan spreads are malt extract and yeast extract.

    You can think of them both as spreads to go on crackers, sandwiches or toast, or as cooking and baking staples that give flavour and depth to your meals.

    Think of them as sweet and savoury siblings. Malt extract is made from barley. It is sweet and great for adding to baking and granola mixtures.

    Yeast extract, on the other hand, is deeply savoury.

    It has become associated with a certain trademarked brand name (the spread you apparently either love or hate), but in fact, we love our Meridian one.

    It naturally contains B vitamins and added vitamin B12 and can be used either as a spread (it is delicious combined with cheese) or as a stock or stirred with hot water for a filling winter drink.

    Vegan sandwich fillings

    Jams and yeast extract make excellent companions to other favourite sandwich fillings.

    Though the following combinations might make some people shudder, others rave about cheese and jam (vegan cheese alternative works just as well!) as well as cheese and yeast extract.

    If you are interested in vegan cheese, check out our article, Vegan cheese alternatives for you to try.

    And, as well as all the spreads on this page, there are loads of other wonderful vegan toppings for sandwiches.

    On the Health Hub, we have some great recipes, such as Vegan Philly Cheesesteak, Vegan Breakfast Muffin and Smashed Avocado on Wholegrain Rye.

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