- Choose a meal of the day to always, or almost always, have plant-based. Making breakfast, lunch, or dinner your plant-based meal of the day takes a lot of decisions out of the equation and makes eating plant-based easier to manage. Knowing you’ll have a plant-based breakfast takes the struggle out of figuring out when and where you’ll have your plant-based meals for the week. Check out our recipe boards for plant-based breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to add into your meal-time routine. Having some “go-to” recipes for each meal makes it easier to stick to your plan when your stomach starts to rumble.
- Make all the meals you eat at home plant-based, saving animal products like meat for when you eat at restaurants, get take-out, or eat at a friend’s house. By not buying meat or animal products at the store to cook at home, it guarantees a percentage of your meals will be plant-based, while allowing for freedom during social events. Plus, there’s no worrying about friends and family making special accommodations for you.
- Start batch cooking plant-based meals. Making several meals at once takes the guesswork out of “what’s for dinner?” and guarantees you have a plant-based meal when hunger strikes. Our recipe of the week, Tofu Veggie Stir Fry, can easily be doubled to make multiple meals.
Plant power away from home
Eating at restaurants or getting take-out can be a tasty way to explore different types of plant-based dishes you wouldn’t normally make yourself.
- Most restaurants have menus online, so check it out ahead of time if you know where you are going or ordering food from. Many places will even have easy to identify designations for menu items that don’t contain animal products such as vegan, vegetarian, or meat-free.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about dishes. If it sounds like a dish might be plant-based, or could be made that way, ask to be sure! Some dishes might not be considered vegan if they contain honey, but is fine for a plant-based diet. You can always ask the server if they know what meals don’t contain any meat or other animal products.
- See if you can make swaps! For example, an easy swap is asking to change out a beef burger patty for a meat-free option like a veggie patty or portobello burger. Many restaurants will give alternative options for proteins for some dishes, like using tofu instead of pork in fried rice or beans instead of meat in burritos.
- Certain cuisines may be easier for finding plant-based options on menus. Asian restaurants often already have many types of tofu dishes since it’s a common food item while Indian restaurants have dishes that utilize lentils and different types of beans.
Like any other lifestyle change, having support at home helps smooth the way. Having your family or roommates on board makes it easier for you to stick to your goals.
- Do your own shopping and cooking if you can so you can make the choices that are right for you.
- If you don’t cook for yourself, or have friends or family who might make or bring you food, tell them about what you want to change and why – they’re more likely to help out if they understand your motivations.
- If you need to cook for others that have specific needs for including animal products, you can always cook plant-based meals and add components such as eggs and dairy after you dish up your serving.
- If others in your home buy foods or need certain foods in the house, see if they can keep those foods separated if temptation is an issue for you.
- Compromise and find solutions: if your partner has a favorite place with no plant-based options, make a deal to trade off choosing where you eat, or encourage them to go there with friends rather than you.
- Our Health Coaches are here to support you. You can reach out to us any day of the year when you have questions, need ideas, or could use a bit of extra motivation or accountability.
Way back in week 1, we talked about how plant-based does not mean an all or nothing approach to changing the way you eat. Think about the animal products you eat just because they are there or included in a recipe. If you find them underwhelming, consider just cutting them out completely and finding alternatives. Also be realistic about the foods you love and don’t think you can ever give up – you don’t have to! Plant-based eating is all about finding balance, both on your plate and in your food choices.