Most people, including you, might already know that plant-based diets are healthier but not everyone finds it easy to start. It might be pretty challenging to start and it definitely doesn’t come easily to anyone at first. Regardless of how strong-willed and motivated you are, the temptations are really hard to resist. For those who do not know, a plant-based diet is about eating fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and cutting off the animal products from your diet.
Know Why Do You Want To Start A Plant-Based Diet
Starting a diet means a big change in lifestyle and leaving out your old food habits. You need to know why you want to start a plant-based diet. Knowing this is necessary because if the going gets tough, it’s the reason that helps you from caving in.
Don’t do it just because someone else is doing it. Your reason might be anything ranging from weight loss to healthier skin and body, just something that is important enough to motivate and push you. Anytime you start to stray from your goal you can look back to your motivation and get back on track.
Slow and steady wins the race. Note it down that things do not work as fastly as we think they do, especially diets. Jumping into new habits can be really tricky. And that is why it is important for you to not rush into things. You can’t just go from a meat eater to a vegan in a swish of your hand. If you are a heavy meat eater it is going to be a bit harder for you to switch. Instead, you can start by taking two plant-based meals in a week and increasing them gradually. So that your body, mind and taste buds adapt to it.
Add More Greens To Your Daily Intake
We hardly add greens to our daily intake and that’s where we are wrong. In order for us to get healthy, we have to add more greens to our daily intake. First, you have to know your plants. There are a lot of vegetables and fruits in the market and you have to know what each one has to give you. If you do not like a particular green then learn how to prepare it in some other way so that it is consumable for you. Adding a large bowl of salad to your day is a must. You can try a super veggie-packed salad filled with legumes, crunchy vegetables, leafy greens to keep you full and nourish your body.
Change The Proportions On Your Plate
This is where the difficult part comes. We are so accustomed to filling our plate with meats and fat food that we find it hard to reduce the quantity. But what has to be done has to be done. You should stop keeping your salad as a starter. Instead of eating vegetables with the meat, eat meat with the vegetables. I hope that makes sense to you. This will also reduce your calorie intake considerably. Instead of eating in a big plate, start eating in a small dish plate and chew properly. It is not easy to stop once you start eating something you love, I know, but you have to do this for your own good. Look at the positive side that you still get to eat your favorite food.
Start With A Plant-Based Breakfast
Starting your day with something that is energizing, uplifting and super healthy is important. That is why you need to switch to a plant-based or a vegan breakfast. There so many great and tasty vegan breakfast options. Some of them are a large bowl of fruits, some oatmeal topped with fruit, nuts and granola bars, Chia pudding, tofu scrambles, avocado toasts etc. You can even try a delicious smoothie filled with fruits, chia seeds, almonds, flax seeds, yogurt etc. Mouthwatering! If you start your day filled with plant-based breakfast you will get all the needed nutrients even if your whole day is filled with less plant-based meals. Eventually, you can also ease in plant-based lunch in your routine.
Make Your Diet More Colorful
The colors of fruits and vegetables often represent different phytochemicals which are naturally present in the plants and provide you with nutrients that other can’t provide. You can ease yourself into a plant-based diet by adding more colorful food to every meal. The orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C which helps in having a healthy immune system and stronger bones. The red fruits and vegetables like red bell pepper, tomatoes, cherries, apples, red onion, red cabbage etc have many nutrients like lycopene, vitamin A and C etc.
Power Up Your Pasta And Noodles
One thing that people can’t give up is their favorite food. Some of them consume pasta and noodles daily. But eating the normal plain pasta is not as much healthy because it lacks veggies. So what you can do instead is cut some vegetables like carrots, onions, zucchini, tomato, parsley and toss them along with noodles or pasta. For added taste, you squeeze in some lemon drops, pepper and salt and you are done!
Do Not Forget Protein
Protein is really important for our body. Our daily intake lacks protein. Help your veggies go the distance by pairing them with protein-rich food. Protein-rich food can help in maintaining the sugar levels and also sustain energy between meals. Now we all know that meat is a rich source of protein but as we are heading towards a plant-based diet eating meat would be going backward. There are so many protein-rich foods in vegetarian food as well like almonds, sprouts, soy, oats, cottage cheese, milk etc. Nutritionists recommend that protein, when paired with vegetables, can help you keep fuller through your day in between meals.
Keep A Check On Fruits
While fruits have so many nutrients, the fact cannot be ignored that they are naturally sweetened candy and have fructose. That is why you have to keep the fruit intake in check. Always consume more vegetables than fruits. The ratio between vegetables and fruits must be 3:1.
Mind Your Starches
Starch may keep you full and have more portion control over other veggies but they are not much healthy. Yes, starch can also be found in the staple food like rice, whole grain pasta, potato, wheat etc. Starch has carbs and when you are trying to follow a diet it is not exactly healthy. That is why you should keep your starch intake to a fist-sized serving with your meal and should be paired with a protein-rich source so as to optimize the nutrition.
Pay Attention To How You Feel
If you start paying attention to how you feel after starting the plant-based diet, you’ll notice that you are more energized than before, your skin seems to be glowing and you seem to have fewer cravings than before. Your snack intake will reduce to a bare minimum and you feel fuller for longer than before. A plant-based diet has more fiber and fiber has many health benefits. Notice what you feel because this will help you in staying motivated and positive about the diet and it will reinforce you to add more plant-based ingredients to your meals.
While changing normal diet to a plant-based diet overnight might work for some, staying on the track takes a lot of willpower. Moreover, a gentle approach to changing one’s diet is more sustainable and it will help you meet your personal goals in a successful and satisfying way.
Anisha is an aspiring writer. She's a graduate in BBM. An ambivert by
nature, she is very fond of reading sappy romantic novels, passionate
about singing, cooking and dancing, holds a keen interest in learning
new things and wanderlust.