Eating Plant-Based: A Starter Kit

By: Katherine Peinhardt

So, you’ve probably read about the health benefits of eating more plant-based meals. Or you’ve thought about the impact of your meals on the environment. Either way, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the prospect of taking on a plant-based diet. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to get started on a plant-based journey.

Photo by @sustainablesabs

Photo by @sustainablesabs

Know that You’re Among Friends
Many people are working toward a healthier, more veggie-centric diet, and it just so happens that a lot of aspiring and long-time plant-based eaters chronicle their experiences online. Check out veggie-friendly blogs like From My Bowl, Sweet Potato Soul, Vegan Richa, or Minimalist Baker to see how other people got started. Read stories and watch videos to learn about how people, from chefs to athletes, have adjusted their diets to avoid meat, dairy, and eggs.

Make a List of Recipes You’re Excited About
Whether that’s a Thai-inspired red curry, or a tofu paneer, there are countless veggie-forward recipes out there that will suit your taste. Start a list, and during your next grocery trip, pick up what you need to start testing the recipes out.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to eat plant-based — take time building up your stock of plant-based staples, and try out budget-friendly recipes to start! Many people build their meals around “a grain, a green, and a bean,” so make this formula your own — whether that’s a black bean burrito bowl with spinach, or a farro-chickpea salad. There are also a few posts on the Co-op blog with simple plant-based recipes, like this or this one.

Get Comfortable in the Kitchen
A great way to start is to sub out a night of takeout for a vegan or plant-based version of your go-to order. It probably won't taste the exact same, but you will be pleasantly surprised by the familiar flavors, and the positive feeling of knowing everything that went into your meal.
Meal prepping ahead of time is another good way to kick-start your journey — if you make a big batch of grains or beans at the beginning of the week, you’ll always have the building blocks of a plant-forward diet, right in your fridge! A pro tip if you’re a kitchen newcomer: start off by watching some videos on beginner knife skills. They’ll make you faster and safer in the kitchen — with an added bonus of showing off your ability to julienne to your friends!

Going plant-based, like any dietary change, can be challenging. But it’s not about absolutes — find what makes it easier in your personal plant-based journey, and stick with it! Your health (and the planet) will thank you.

Sabrina Katz