Swich | Blog - How to transition to a (more) plant-based diet: 5

How to transition to a (more) plant-based diet: 5 simple tips

If you’re seeking to improve your physical and mental health, eating more plant-based foods is an exciting and significant way to transform your life from within. But we know the beginning is often the hardest part. 

Before we get into tips for ways to make the shift easier, here are a few facts about plant-based diets to remind you of the importance of eating more plants:

In addition to health benefits, a plant-based diet restores and preserves land, protects biodiversity, and saves water.

Ready to eat more plants and start reaping the benefits?

Here are five tips to make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle smooth and steady.

1. Reset your pantry

Swich nut milk recipe variety of nuts

When we think of cooking, we often think of colorful veggies, fresh herbs, and juicy fruits. While we love all of those things, you also want to stock up on versatile pantry staples to efficiently turn your farmers’ market hauls into meals you can cook easily at home. 

Here is a list to keep handy —complete with grains, beans, canned foods, condiments, seasonings, and snacks:

GRAINS 

  • Whole grains
  • Whole grain flours
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Non-whole grain items

BEANS

  • Dry beans
  • Sprouted beans
  • Canned beans (preferrably no sodium)

CONDIMENTS

  • Vinegar
  • Hot sauces
  • Nut and seed butter
  • Tamari or Braggs
  • Jarred salsas
  • High-quality oils 

SEASONINGS

  • Sea salt & finishing salts
  • Spice mixes
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Starches (cornstarch, potato starch, & arrowroot)
  • Liquid sweeteners
  • Cooking wines
  • Granulated sweeteners*

SNACKS 

  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Fruit bars
  • Snacks (non-whole-grain)*
  • Chips and salty snacks 

CANNED FOODS

Canned and jarred vegetables: water chestnuts, capers, artichokes


(Note: Items with an asterisk (*) are processed products and should be used in smaller amounts.)

2. Meal prep 

Learn knife skills by cutting carrots

Studies show that when we prepare more food, we eat healthier. It makes sense. If you’re investing time in preparing meals and cutting fruits and veggies in advance, you are more likely to eat them.  Additionally, meal planning will help you eat more of the ingredients that you buy and, ultimately, waste less food.

Meal prep tips:

  • Always have fresh vegetables cut and ready. Veggies provide you with essential enzymes and minerals to keep your body healthy. 

  • Use clear containers and pouches as much as possible to give yourself a reminder of what you have ready to go

  • Wash and prep your fruits. If fruits are washed and ready to eat, it’ll make it easier to reach for those instead of processed snacks.  

  • Embrace freezer-friendly meals that you can make in advance and store for a few weeks when you need a meal in a pinch.

If you're a Swich member and want to learn more about meal prep, consider adding Batch Cooking Fundamentals and Creating a Weekly Salad Bar to your Swichboard. 

3. Think: adding food, not restricting food

Rather than thinking about all the things you can’t eat, think more about all the things you can eat. So before cutting out foods and snacks, start adding healthy foods to your diet. For example, try to add an additional cup of vegetables to each meal. As you fill up on good-for-you foods, the less tempting other less-healthy foods will be.

4. Slowly start swapping (Meatless Mondays)

Swich plant-based recipes egg-less egg salad sandwich

Going “cold turkey” right away is jarring. Instead, start eating plant-based for one meal a day or for a few days a week like Meatless Monday. From there, continue to make small daily changes.  

Here are some of Swich's top plant-based recipes for each meal to get you inspired at all the plant-rich possibilities:

5. Find a friend

Community support is a huge motivator. If you're already a Swich member, use our invite a friend feature to add your friends and family (makes it more fun and helps keep you motivated). There's also a new two-way chat feature, which allows for easy communication with others about all things related to cooking. Plus, you can check out community submissions and interact with like-minded people all over the globe. 

We’re proud to have recipes for all meal-types, including side dishes and desserts. And we meet you exactly where you are in your cooking journey. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been cooking for decades or days —or if you’re vegan or an omnivore. Our goal is to help you cook with more confidence and integrate more fruits and veggies in your cooking routine so that it becomes second nature. 

Interested in seeing more chef-curated plant-based recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between? Come along and cook with us

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Tags: Plant Based Cooking Why Plant Based Health Benefits Of Plants Recipes
Leave a Comment

Jacqueline V. ( 11d ) – O find this article so helpful.By changing to a plant base diet seemed daunting but introducing measures days is a lot easier

Swich C. ( 2d ) – We agree!

Anthony W. ( 1mo ) – Good day, I have been reading that we should stay away from grains, any comment on this.

Swich C. ( 11d ) – Hi Anthony! Depends on your nutritional needs and preferences. Here is our guide to plant-based meat substitutes, which includes several vegetables and legumes. https://thebigswich.com/blog/your-guide-to-meat-substitutes-plant-based-protein-sources

Carol P. ( 23d ) – What is Tempeh? There are some foods in your recipes that I never heard of. Is there a list of some plant based foods that we may get to know that are not common to most of us.?

Joan W. ( 17d ) – It is plant based (I believe soy) often used as a “meat” in dishes.

Swich C. ( 11d ) – Hi Carol! Here is our guide to plant-based meat substitutes: https://thebigswich.com/blog/your-guide-to-meat-substitutes-plant-based-protein-sources