Starting a plant-based diet and don't know where to start? The biggest mistake you can make is putting too much pressure on yourself. Take it one step at a time. Day 1 is a great time to establish healthy practices like positive reinforcement and to set obtainable goals. Need some guidance? We've got 3 simple keys to success on your plant-based diet for beginners.
3 Things to Do on Day 1 of Your Plant-Based Diet for Beginners
1. Establish Your Purpose
Why are you going plant based?
Your answer doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, or unique. It does have to be authentic.
What do you mean? Here are a few examples...
If you’re going plant based to lose weight, WHY do you want to lose weight? Is it so you can prevent disease? Is it so you can play more easily with your children or grandchildren?
If you’re going plant based for the challenge, WHY this challenge? Are you hoping to feel better, look better, reach your athletic goals, or do you part to save the planet?
You can even drill down from there. If your "WHY" is to feel better, ask yourself why do you want to feel better? Is it so you can get back on the bike, make it through the day without exhaustion, or enjoy life without joint pain? Get to the bottom of why you want to make this change, and remind yourself of that reason each morning while you brush your teeth to help you stay on track!
2. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
You didn’t learn to ride a bike by making up your mind that you were going to ride your bike. It took practice, hard work, determination — and a few scrapes and bruises along the way. If you expect perfection from yourself as you're starting a plant-based, chances are you will feel disappointed when you don’t reach your goals immediately.
Start out with easy-to-reach goals! "This week I will eat more fruits and vegetables than I did last week.”
Don’t limit yourself to “good days” and “bad days;” instead, focus on weekly changes. This way, if you struggle to reach your goals one day, you still have hope for the other 6 days to come.
"I'd like to eat 7 servings of leafy greens this week"
"I'd like to eat twice as much fruit this week"
"I'd like to eat 50% less meat this week"
Positive reinforcement is key! As you brush your teeth before bed each night, think of all the plant foods you’ve enjoyed that day. Give yourself a pat on the back for all you’ve accomplished. You're doing great!
3. Make a Plan
When you're just starting a plant-based diet, filling your fridge with plant-based ingredients is a great idea if you’re fluent in the kitchen. If cooking isn’t your strong suit, pick out a few easy recipes to try before you go grocery shopping. A plant-based diet for beginners doesn't have to be complicated. Google is your new BFF, and if you’re looking for some delicious and simple whole food plant based recipes, try the MamaSezz Recipe Blog.
Like to "wing it" in the kitchen? Awesome! May I suggest sticking to your old favorites with a few swaps:
- If you’re a taco fan, try black bean tacos on a soft corn tortilla instead of beef tacos in a fried shell.
- If you love pesto pasta, leave out the parmesan and use nutritional yeast instead.
- If chicken noodle soup is your comfort food jam, try adding chickpeas or tofu chunks instead of chicken, and use veggie broth instead of chicken broth.
Just because you’re making a change, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorites!
BONUS: Let Mama Make It Easy to Go Plant-Based!
The easiest way to stick with a plant-based diet for beginners? Let mama do the cooking for you! I can assure you next week will be a whole lot easier if you order a bundle of MamaSezz whole food plant based meals, delivered right to your home.
And we'e got options for everyone.
Trying to reach your athletic goals? Go with the Peak Performance Bundle.
Total newbie looking to boost your health with more plants? Try the Get Me Started Bundle.
Ready to lose the weight for good? Sign up for our Guaranteed Weight Loss Program.
Supplementing with fresh, ready-made meals is a fantastic way to ease into this lifestyle, and mama is here to help!
More Interested in the DIY Approach?
No problem. MamaSezz is here to help either way. We've got plenty of free plant-based recipes for beginners and blog posts to make your transition to this way of life easier. Our content is curated by knowledgeable, trained individuals that have gone through the diet transition ourselves and reaped the amazing benefits of plants! Our goal is to make healthy eating accessible for YOU, so let us know how we can help!
- Establish a purpose. Why do you want to make this change?
- Don't be hard on yourself, change takes time and practice
- Make a plan: Are you going to jump right in, or wade into the water?
- MamaSezz is here to help in anyway we can!
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.