How I Got Started On A Plant-Based Diet

How I Got Started On A Plant-Based Diet by Elizabeth Harrington

When my fiancé Erik first asked me to try eating plant-based with him, I was shocked! He’s a retired professional athlete that had meat and dairy with every single meal, so I never thought I’d see the day. At first, I was so confused on how to start this change—but I was up for the challenge! Once we started eating plant-based we realized how amazing we felt, and it started to become our lifestyle. Now it’s second nature for us and we love it!

As an advocate for eating REAL food, I now get asked all the time how other people can go plant-based. It’s especially important these days, with everyone cooking and eating at home more than ever before for safety reasons. Here are 5 tips based on my transition to plant-based eating that I’d like to share.

1. Understand your options for sources of plant-based protein!

One of the first things I researched was sources of plant-based protein. I was shocked at how many non-tofu options we had. Did you know that quinoa has 8g of protein per cup? Once I had a basic understanding of our plant-based protein options, I was able to start building meals involving different types of plant-based protein!

2. Start by incorporating #meatlessmonday into your weekly meal rotation!

Making “Meatless Mondays” part of our weekly routine really allowed us to get comfortable with making plant-based meals. Once we mastered Meatless Monday, we started transitioning to making more and more of our meals plant-based! It required a little more planning and effort at first, but it became super easy after some practice! Once we had a few recipe ideas (and some practice making them), we were able to build our plant-based weekly menu effortlessly. One of my favorite meatless meals is a collard green wrap with a veggie burger and hummus. I also learned that if there’s something you love that normally calls for meat or dairy, you can almost always change the ingredients to make it plant-based. So there really is nothing we can’t eat!

#Meatless Monday — Plant-Based Diet

3. Find easy plant-based recipes that are achievable and not overwhelming!

The last thing I wanted to do was overwhelm myself and become discouraged. Erik and I wanted this to be a fun team effort! We sat down and scrolled through Pinterest, searching for easy plant-based recipes that we wanted to try. It turned out to be a fun bonding experience and a great way for us to branch out and try new fruits, veggies, herbs and spices. Plus, our cabinet is now filled with new spices and our fridge with fresh fruits, veggies and herbs that I didn’t use before. Our food tastes are better because of it, and we get so many awesome extra nutrients in our diet!

4. Always have plant-based snacks on hand!

This turned out to be so helpful for my crazy schedule and my transition to plant-based eating. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and not being prepared! Having plant-based snacks on hand helped support my transition, and I didn’t have to frantically try to find something or skip out on a snack because there were no plant-based options. Whether I was heading to or leaving a workout and needed to fuel or refuel, or on my way to a meeting but needed tasty protein snack to fill me up until my next meal, having plant-based snacks (that I loved) on hand was essential! Now you won’t find me without snacks. I currently have a few ONE PLANT Chocolate Peanut Butter bars in my purse and some Banana Nut Bread bars in my car. I just replace them as I eat them so I am always prepared!

Plant-Based Snacks On Hand

5. Learn to meal prep!

I was never one to prep my food in advance, so learning how to prep food was such a lifesaver in trying to eat healthier! Some weeks look different than others, but now I try to always have grains and veggies prepped so that I can easily build a meal when I get hungry. Spending less time in the kitchen allows me more time to do other things like working out, and I love knowing that I have easy plant-based options waiting for me to quickly reheat. If you don’t want to go full “meal prep,” even just washing, chopping and properly storing your fruits and veggies after your trip to the grocery store will set you up for success. It’s all about making healthier choices convenient so that you actually want to eat them!

I hope these tips help you make the transition to plant-based eating, and that you and your family feel as amazing as Erik and I do after making the switch!

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