TIPS FOR STARTING A PLANT-BASED DIET
One of the number one questions I get asked is, “My family and I want to eat more plant-based, what do you recommend?” Today’s post is my reply to this very popular question! I definitely understand that making dietary changes is difficult, especially when you’re involving family members who may all have various dietary preferences, allergens or nutritional needs. I hope today’s post gives you some new ideas, inspiration or confidence to enjoy more plants in a way that is realistic! I’d love to hear your tips and what has helped you and your family enjoy more plants, so please share with us in the comments below.
GO SLOW & LET GO OF PERFECTION
Many people think that a plant-based diet means “going vegan”. Technically… that’s not true. A plant-based diet is simply a diet BASED in plants, let’s say 80% just as an example. While you can eat a completely plant-based vegan diet… you do not have to eat vegan to benefit from a plant-based diet. This means you can still benefit from a plant-based diet while including a small amount of animal-based foods if that is what you prefer. Why do I mention this? Because so many individuals and families include animal-based foods in their diet and the thought of giving them all up is overwhelming, again especially if you are feeding an entire family. Whether you “go vegan” or not is a personal choice and up to you. However, just know that you do not have to eat vegan to eat a plant-based diet. They key is to focus on making the majority of your diet real, whole, plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, herbs and spices.
Also don’t worry about eating perfectly – just do your best! Some days or weeks you may feel really good with your choices and other days you may be stressed, busy and just not as prepared as you’d like – that’s okay! It’s called being human. Healthy eating is a lifestyle and long-term commitment. Do your best, but please don’t stress or judge yourself (or others!) if you don’t eat a “perfect plant-based diet” all of the time.
TRY NEW RECIPES
People always ask me how to start eating a plant-based diet – and my reply is to just start eating more plants! Try new recipes! The Healthy Grocery Girl YouTube Channel & Blog is filled with hundreds of easy plant-powered recipes that are dairy-free and mostly gluten-free. Try 1 – 3 new recipes a week to keep it realistic and not overwhelming. Once you find a recipe you love, put it in your weekly or monthly recipe rotation.
Here are a few of our most popular plant-based recipe!
SHOP FOR PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS
We all get busy and it may not be realistic to make everything from scratch. I love products that make it easier to eat and live healthy – which is why we are the Healthy Grocery Girl website versus the Healthy Homemade Girl website! There are literally hundreds of amazing products and brands today providing plant-powered foods. I put together a list of some products my husband and I love to hopefully give you a few new ideas! There are so many more products I could add to this list, I know I’m leaving out so many! I will probably add to this list overtime, so check back every few months if you’d like. However, this is just a start and I hope it’s helpful!
SNACKS / SPREADS
BREADS / GRAINS / FLOURS
CANNED / JAR
TEA / COFEE
Of course in addition to plant-based products, lots of staples such as fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, nut butters, grains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa and legumes such as black beans and garbanzo beans will help you put together a variety of tasty meals!
Also the list above is just an example! You can buy the house-brand of a lot of these items such as brown rice, oats, quinoa etc from Trader Joes or the 365 line from Whole Foods to save money!
NUTRITION EXPERT SUPPORT
As a Registered Dietitian, I of course advocate for connecting with a legit nutrition expert if you’re concerned about putting together a plant-based diet that is nutritionally balanced for you and your family. Some educational video courses I’ve created include:
These resources are available to Healthy Grocery Girl Premium Members. We created this online resource as a realistic and convenient way to help families confidently enjoy eating a plant-powered diet. Our membership also includes seasonal meal plans, weekly recipe guides with shopping lists and lot more! Learn more here!
FIND A PLANT PAL
A plant pal is someone who is just as motivated (or more!) as you to eat more plant-based foods and live a healthy lifestyle. This may be your spouse, best friend, family member, co-worker or a community online. This person will be a great go-to to chat about new foods or recipes you’ve tried or struggles you’re experiencing. The Healthy Grocery Girl Membership provides a private community to chat, post photos and ask questions. It’s inspiring to see everyone’s delicious food photos as well as new products or new recipes they’ve tried!
In addition to the educational resources we provide through the Healthy Grocery Girl Membership, I also recommend reading books and watching documentaries! Below are just a few documentaries & a book I recommend! Again, there are so many more great resources out there beyond what I’ve included in this blog post.
For those who already eat a plant-based diet, have I left anything out? Let us know your tips and favorites in the comments below!