Moving to a plant-based diet can be difficult, especially if you’re used to eating mostly animal products or processed foods. However, this switch can challenge you and nourish you better than your former lifestyle. Luckily, you’re not the first person to make this change, so it’s easy to find techniques that will help make the adjustment a little easier for you.
1. Know Why You’re Transitioning to a New Diet
Plant-based diets don’t necessarily mean you’re only eating plants. You can have meat and dairy on the table, too. A plant-based diet simply signifies that the majority of what you eat comes from produce.
You might have chosen to transition to this diet to decrease your carbon footprint. Eating less red meat can make your household more environmentally friendly, particularly since livestock takes up so many resources. Whatever your reason for transitioning to a plant-based diet is, make sure you’re doing it for your own benefit rather than anyone else’s.
2. Do Your Research
Learn the macros in your food. To plan your diet correctly, you need to understand what nutrients you need and which foods offer them. Switching to a plant-based diet can help you become healthier, but you’ll only reap the benefits if you put in the work and acknowledge what your body needs.
To keep yourself nourished and healthy, you’ll have to learn which foods your body needs on what day. Learning more about your needs can help you educate others and make the choices that will benefit you in the long run.
3. Make Meal Plans
Sometimes, planning your macros for a single day can feel overwhelming. That’s why you should plan to get a whole week’s meals under your control and manage your nutrients effectively. Meal planning means you won’t be scrambling to think of something to eat for dinner that provides the nutrition you need.
Meal planning correctly can also help you cut down on food waste, as you’ll be using everything you bought. You’ll also save money and time since you won’t have to head to the grocery store every evening by planning the week at once. You can breeze by the snacks you used to eat without feeling tempted to pick them up.
4. Build a Budget
It’s entirely possible to eat completely healthy and clean on a budget. You just have to plan around the staples of your meals for a week and save leftover money or use it to buy healthy snacks that can keep you nourished throughout the day.
Budgeting goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. Planning your meals for the week ahead requires you to build a budget based on your needs. Without meal planning, you might stray from your intended plan and end up devoid of the nourishment your body requires.
5. Find and Use Coupons
Coupons can be your best friend when it comes to changing your lifestyle. If you aren’t sure how to afford some items you want on your budget, see if you can find coupons for some of the items in your cart.
You can subscribe to grocery stores’ email lists to receive daily or weekly coupons. If you shop somewhere frequently, it’s worth subscribing to get discounts from them. It’s even handier if you have a store card that takes down the price of your grocery trip.
6. Eat Breakfast
Going plant-based doesn’t mean you need to give up breakfast. Consider whole-grain cereal options. The sugary stuff may taste great, but it’s not necessarily on the dietary plan you want to follow.
You can couple whole-grain breakfast foods with all-natural animal products to keep you full. Having a few hard-boiled eggs can satisfy you throughout the day, and they pair well with toast. If you want a dash of sugar, consider spreading jam on whole-grain bread.
7. Remind Yourself of the Benefits
Plant-based diets offer numerous benefits. When you feel close to quitting and going back to junk food or eating excess meat, remind yourself of how much healthier you’ve been since you began.
You’ll obtain more vitamins naturally when consuming a plant-based diet, without the help of supplements, due to the nature of the food you eat. You may also lessen or eliminate your risk of contracting certain ailments and diseases. If you want to stick with your plant-based diet, keep reminding yourself of the good you’re doing your body while on it.
8. Curb Your Sweet Tooth
Look into foods with naturally occurring sugars if you have cravings. Fruits would make for a great dessert or midday snack — and there’s no sugar added to them. They will never taste like cake, but you can train your brain to enjoy them just as much by saving them as a special after-dinner snack.
You should check to see which fruits are in season before buying them, as you’ll likely find higher quality if you choose them based on their optimized growing times. For example, strawberries are plentiful in the summer, but blackberries are great in the winter.
9. Find Supporters
If the rest of your household isn’t switching to this diet with you, consider getting them involved. Changing your eating habits can feel a lot less lonely when you know someone’s in your corner and having the same cravings as you. Plus, you can motivate one another if you start to slip from the habits you want to keep.
10. Keep a Journal of Your Progress
A journal is a great tool you can look back on in the future to motivate yourself. If you mark your daily food intake every day, you can glance at it to see how far you’ve come when you’re feeling hopeless. You can also gain more ideas for meal plans from your journal, and sharing it with your family members might motivate them to join you in your lifestyle change.
11. Take a Cooking Class
When you don’t know which recipes go best with your new diet, consider learning from the professionals. You may have to pay for a cooking class, but making food at someone else’s teaching could be fun, especially if you’re doing it with a friend. You’re paying for the experience and some quality recipes you can take home with you.
12. Eat Enough Food
You might feel fuller longer due to the quality of the food you eat, but you still need to maintain a caloric intake that supports you. Your recommended daily calories may change depending on your age and activity level, so you shouldn’t assume something that works for someone else will work for you. Even if you feel fuller for longer, you should strive to meet your maintenance caloric needs to remain healthy.
13. Make Snacking More Challenging
Remove snack foods from your home. If you have family members or roommates who aren’t embarking on this adventure with you, ask them to keep the junk food out of your area so you feel less tempted to eat it.
People often drift toward snacks because they’re more convenient than cooking a meal. Consider finding healthy items you can simply grab and go, such as bananas or nuts. When you have these nutritious options and eliminate or hide unhealthy snacks, you may feel more inclined to eat them.
14. Prep Your Meals the Day Before
Get your lunches for the next day ready in the evening so you don’t scramble to find something to take to work with you. Worse, you could forget your lunch entirely and have to find something nearby that may not be part of your new lifestyle. By taking extra time the evening before, you’ll become more mindful of the food you put in your body and support your new diet with little effort.
15. Throw It in a Salad
When you don’t know what to make, just throw everything into a salad. Lettuce is an excellent base for a healthy meal because you can add several foods and top them with a tasty dressing. Consider choosing something for protein, such as chickpeas or eggs, as well as a handful of vegetables or fruits to nourish you.
Plant-Based Diets Made Easy
While it initially may be difficult to change your eating habits, it will get easier as time goes on. Learn what meals to make before committing to the switch, and focus on getting enough nutritional food every day. As long as you have others to keep you accountable and a record to look back on, you’ll find that it’s easy to keep up with your new plant-based lifestyle.