Top 5 tips for starting a plant-based diet you will absolutely love
July 11, 2022
Nutrition

Over the last few years, there has been an insane increase in people following a plant-based diet. From celebrities to athletes to your neighbor. Is it just another fad, or is there something to it?

You want to try it and see if it's for you, but you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you’ve wondered what exactly is a plant-based diet? What are the benefits of eating this way? Is there a source of plant-based protein? And how the heck do I go about started?

Well, we’ve got you covered! 

What is a plant-based diet?

You might be intimidated by the idea of going plant-based, confusing it with becoming vegetarian or vegan. But eating one of those ways is not required to follow a plant-based diet. 

Going plant-based just means you eat as many plant foods as possible. Sometimes you may have a piece of wild-caught salmon or some eggs, but for the most part, you avoid as many animal-based foods as you can. 

A plant-based diet is much less strict and rigid than a vegan diet but carries many of the same benefits. Some people use a plant-based diet as a stepping stone toward a vegan lifestyle, and others are just trying to be more plant-forward. It’s really up to you. 

This flexibility is part of what has made a plant-based diet increase in popularity so much in the last few years. 

Benefits of a plant-based diet

Health benefits

In recent years more studies have shown several health benefits to going plant-based. Some show a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

According to The National Kidney Foundation, a plant-based diet may reduce the mortality rate for people with chronic kidney disease. 

Several studies have shown a benefit to the cardiovascular system for people who follow a plant-based diet. you're also more likely to have better cholesterol levels and are less likely to develop major cardiovascular issues.

There is also newer evidence that a plant-based diet may improve your gut health and reduce your risk for some cancers.  

The environment

One of the most common reasons for going plant-based is to do a little extra to help improve the climate crisis. As meat consumption and the human population increase, so does the environmental impact of animal agriculture on the environment. By reducing your animal food consumption, you're reducing your carbon footprint. 

Athletic performance

From surfers to tennis pros, the amount of plant-based athletes just keeps climbing. Many of these athletes report improved endurance and recovery.

With increased studies, demand, and results, a plant-based diet is beginning to look like the way of the future. Only time will tell if this trend continues. 

If all of this has you saying, “well, with all that information, it’s worth a shot… but how?!” we have 5 tips to start a plant-based diet that you'll absolutely love!

Tip 1 - Know your why

The first tip for starting a plant-based diet is knowing your why. Why are you choosing to change your diet to a plant-based one? Are you going plant-based for health, ethical, environmental, or athletic reasons?

When it feels like it would be so much easier to return to your old habit, your why can be your shining light guiding you forward on your path. 

Tip 2 - Plant-based protein options

One of the most common comments you'll hear as you venture into the world of plant-based diets is… What about protein? 

Lucky for you, there are plenty of plant-based protein sources. Many new brands offer meatless alternatives, so almost any meat you usually eat can be replaced by a meatless option!

Tofu is so versatile when you know how to cook it. You can make anything from an alternative to scrambled eggs to a plant-based fan with it. It just takes a quick Google search, and you can find thousands of delicious tofu recipes. For example did you know silken tofu can be tossed into a smoothie to thicken it up?

Beans and legumes are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and minerals. They are also super cheap and easy to through into most dishes. With the combination of fiber and protein, they will also leave you fulling full and energized. 

Nowadays, you can find plant-based protein powders to add to a smoothie that is tasty and smooth. The days of chalky protein shakes are long gone, baby. You're living in a world that is stocked full of options!

Tip 3 - Eat the rainbow

Don’t forget about fruits and vegetables! They can actually be packed with protein all on their own. Broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, blackberries, oranges, and bananas have 3-8 grams of protein per serving. 

A plant-based diet is typically lower in calories, so eat up the rainbow! Fruits and veggies of all colors will not just help you get enough food in your body but will supercharge your nutrient intake.

One of the main reasons for all the health benefits listed above is because of the increased fruit and veggie intake when you start eating plant-based. These foods are full of healthy amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. 

The more fruits and veggies you eat that vary in colors and types, the more exciting and full of nutrients your diet is. And enjoying a wide range of foods prevents boredom with eating the same things over and over again. 

Tip 4 - Find your favs

Throw out the idea that your plant-based diet has to consist only of salads (you’re not a rabbit). Salads are great, but why want to eat them all the time— not to mention the rebound effect that this type of deprivation causes. 

If you follow the salad-only path, you’ll soon find yourself losing control because that isn't changing habits for a healthier and happier life. That's a straight-up crash diet. 

Say you're a food lover or maybe you love to cook… GREAT! It’s adventure time! Exploring new recipes for your favorite dishes or finding new ones to try can be one of the most fun parts of going plant-based. 

If you love tacos— like every Taco Tuesday lover— you need to find a killer plant-based taco recipe that you love to cook and eat. This way, you don’t have to eliminate your tradition. BTW there are some incredibly delicious meatless versions out there that your family will love. 

When you begin to change your eating habits, it is helpful to have recipes ready for your favorite foods so that when you want to eat them, you have a recipe aligned with your new healthy habits and goals and never feel deprived. 

Tip 5 - Have some staples

Sometimes life gets busy. When starting a new way of eating, it's easy to fall back on old habits when you're short on time. Here is where some staples come in handy. 

If you’re the type of person who becomes so entrenched in work that you accidentally skip lunch, keep some plant-based snacks in your desk drawer or with you when you’re working. These can be your backup while trying to build better time management skills. 

If you're the type of person that doesn’t like to cook that’s okay. There are a lot of simple options that don’t need to be cooked, are quick to make, or come pre-packaged in the freezer aisle. 

Try a protein smoothie instead of your sugary cereal for breakfast. Add spinach and garlic to your grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. How about a veggie-loaded pasta with chickpeas and marinara instead of mac n’ cheese for dinner. 

Wrap up

Changing your habit can be challenging. Sometimes you need support as you go along to help you get back on track after you get a little derailed or someone who can give you advice as new obstacles arise. 

CoPilot coaches can support you along the way. They’re highly educated, so you can trust the guidance they give you. They work with you to design a plan to help you reach your goals by changing your habits and behaviors. 

Small (and tasty) changes are the best way to develop a plant-based diet you can and want to stick with which can truly help you improve your life instead.

Try CoPilot’s 14-day free trial, meet your coach, and start building a plan to build better habits for a better life.

Get your coach now!