Starting a Plant-Based Diet: Follow These 5 Helpful Tips
A plant-based diet can be beneficial to both your health and the environment. Here's what you need to know before starting a plant-based diet and how to keep to it.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
The plant-based diet is a way of eating that emphasizes mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, oils, and beans. Meat, eggs, and dairy aren't emphasized because they aren't necessary for health. The key is to watch portion size and make sure you're getting enough calories.
The diet helps prevent diseases, especially heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. It can also lessen the risk of some cancers, improve digestion, and reduce the severity of arthritis symptoms.
Plant-based diets are healthy for the environment too. That's because a plant-based diet uses less water, land, and fossil fuels than the typical meat-based diet.
Tips on Starting (and Keeping to) a Plant-Based Diet
1. Find Your Motivation
It's easier to stick to a plant-based diet if you have a specific goal in mind. Are you trying to lose weight? Improve your general health? Lower your cholesterol? Whatever your goal is, it's easier to make better choices when you have something to work towards.
3. Invest in Meal Kits
Meal kits come with pre-measured ingredients in a box that you can cook or prepare in your own way. You choose the meals and the ingredients, and the meal kit company sends the ingredients to your door. You'll cut down on grocery shopping and save time.
This is a great way to start a plant-based diet. Even if you're unsure how to cook healthy plant-based foods, a meal kit will give you the recipes and ingredient lists.
Meal kits are also useful if you get tired of making the same meals repeatedly. It's nice to have a variety of meals to choose from.
3. Fill Up With Vegetables
Vegetables provide nutrients, fiber, and a lot of volume for a low number of calories. So make sure you fill up your plate with veggies. Here are some ideas:
Have a salad for breakfast with bean-based salad dressing (like hummus), and add some chopped nuts if you're really hungry
Add veggies to soups, stews, and stir-fries. For example, if you're making a vegetable soup, add in some chopped carrots, zucchini, and spinach. Toss a handful of baby spinach into a stew. Or stir-fry your veggies with a little bit of oil and serve them over brown rice.
Use veggies for snacks. Chop up onions, peppers, and carrots and keep them handy for snacking. You can dip veggies in hummus or bean-based salad dressing. Or buy pre-cut veggies, like broccoli or carrots, and keep them in the fridge for snacking.
4. Enlist Some Support
Enlisting some support is a great way to stay on track. Whether it's your partner, your friends, or your family members, having support from people who understand what you're going through will help you stay motivated.
5. Think Differently About Meat
If you're used to eating a lot of meat, it can be hard to make changes. So think of meat as something you eat occasionally. For example, if you normally do a big Sunday roast, do a vegetarian version with a big bowl of spaghetti or lentil soup or a big plate of stir-fried veggies.
Or try to have fish twice a week, but avoid meat, chicken, and turkey. It's important to replace meat with plant-based protein sources like beans, nuts, and tofu.
If you're considering starting a plant-based diet, it's important to consider why you want to start and stick to it.
You can make it easier by lining up a meal kit, stocking your pantry with veggies, and enlisting some support. It's also a good idea to think of meat as something to eat occasionally.
Learning how to start a plant-based diet can be an intimidating topic for most people, but when you start to dip your toes into this lifestyle and choose the right food groups, you'll realize that there is nothing to be scared of at all.
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Connect with us today and start living the plant-based way!