There seems to be a misconception out there that eating more plant-based meals means laborious meal prepping, spending a whole week's salary on the new "it" powders and potions, and suffering through sludgy green smoothies.
But it's a lot simpler than that.
Plant-based eating can be easy, affordable, and delicious. And guess what? If green smoothies aren't your thing, you don't have to drink them!
Check out these five tips to make plant-based eating easier (and a little more fun too).
What exactly do the terms "whole foods" and "plant-based" mean, anyway?
Whole foods are foods that are minimally processed or not processed at all, like veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. Plant-based means that these foods come from the ground and the trees and are not derived from animals (although many plant-based eaters consume honey).
1. Go One Part Plant.
The best way to ease into eating more plants is to go One Part Plant (OPP). OPP means eating one plant-based meal a day. Once a day you'll cook or order in (no shame in that) a plant-based meal. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner — you decide! By shooting for one meal a day, it gives you a little breathing room to be less hard on yourself. It's not about being perfect or going all or nothing. It's about adding more plant-based food to your diet, one meal at a time.
2. Make it easy.
You might be the type of person who loves making her own almond milk or is able to patiently wait the five days that it takes for her homemade kimchi to properly ferment. Or maybe you're not that person, and that's OK. There's no shame in wanting to make things easy in the kitchen — especially when it comes to introducing new foods.
Focus on super-simple recipes that will reduce the time in your kitchen, and then feel zero guilt about going out and buying that almond milk at the store.
3. Get a buddy.
Everything is easier with a friend! For lunches, choose a coworker that wants to eat more plants too and then alternate who makes/brings your plant-based lunch each day. If you can get a whole crew interested at work, host weekly plant-based potlucks in the office. For dinner, enlist a friend that's down with testing out a new plant-based cookbook and get cooking or go on an adventure to try a new veggie-focused restaurant together.
4. Plan ahead.
It's pretty hard to fit in your plant-based meals when you don't have the ingredients to make it happen in the first place. Make sure to always stock your plant-based staples, like nut butters, grains, seeds, tahini, veggie broth, coconut milk, lentils, and beans. With very little effort and a vegetable or two, you can whip up a quickie dinner in 30 minutes or less. Try this easy go-to option: Blend veggie broth, almond butter, tamari, lime juice, and Sriracha for a spicy sauce that goes great with whatever veggies and grain you've got on hand.
5. Update your library.
If you want to eat more plants, but all of the recipes in your favorite cookbooks involve butter, eggs, and cheese, it's time to invest in some new ones. Head to the bookstore and grab a few plant-based cookbooks or check them out from the library to give them a test drive first. Having these new tools will set you up for success. Same thing goes for your favorite restaurants — try a spot that's more plant-focused next time you go out for dinner. Chefs are getting really creative with plants these days!
About Jessica Murnane
Jessica is the creator of the One Part Plant movement, author of the One Part Plant Cookbook, host of the One Part Podcast, and a wellness advocate. She's working to get everyone on this planet to start eating one plant-based meal each day.