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:
Many different types of plant-based foods are lower in sodium and higher in potassium. This combination is known to lower blood pressure. (Tip: if you purchase canned vegetables, rinse them off to remove some of the sodium.)
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
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:
- Whole grains
- Whole grain flours
- Whole grain cereals
- Whole grain pasta
- Non-whole grain items
- Dry beans
- Sprouted beans
- Canned beans (preferrably no sodium)
- Hot sauces
- Nut and seed butter
- Tamari or Braggs
- Jarred salsas
- High-quality oils
- Sea salt & finishing salts
- Spice mixes
- Dried herbs and spices
- Nutritional yeast
- Starches (cornstarch, potato starch, & arrowroot)
- Liquid sweeteners
- Cooking wines
- Granulated sweeteners*
- Dried fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole-grain crackers
- Fruit bars
- Snacks (non-whole-grain)*
- Chips and salty snacks
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
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.
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)
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:
Dessert: Power Cookies
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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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