At Hungryroot, we’re passionate about creating flavorful meals that nourish your body and soul. And all of our meals happen to be 100% plant-based (and naturally gluten-free). That’s because we’re on a mission to reinvent what plant-based cooking and food means.
If your idea of vegan food is steamed broccoli and iceberg lettuce, think again. There are countless ways to dress up vegetables and whole foods like legumes and nuts. Think cashew cheeze and jackfruit tacos, hearty lentil burgers and sweet chickpea cookies.
So, if you’re new to plant-based eating, here are some tips to get you started.
- Make Small Changes
When you start a new lifestyle, it can be tempting to go all in 110% and become obsessed. But don’t feel obligated to do that if it doesn’t suit your personality or needs. Don’t feel like you need to become a saint who forgoes animal products and gluten, sugar, oil, alcohol and everything underneath the sun.
Make small changes and add something new to your routine each week. For instance, in week 1, commit to replacing two meals with plant-based options. Ordering a Hungryroot bundle will make that goal much easier.
In week 2, commit to replacing three meals with meat and dairy-free options. In week 3, try cooking with a meat or dairy substitute that’s new to you. Continue adding a new challenge until you feel more comfortable eating plant-based most of the time. Slow and steady, friends.
2. See the Glass as Half Full
If you’re hesitant to adopt a plant-based lifestyle because you think it’s too restrictive or can’t imagine “giving up” pizza or wings, a shift in perspective might help. This is, after all, a lifestyle, not a diet. And there is an abundant source of delicious and nourishing food in the plant world that can satisfy all your cravings, both physical and emotional.
Try teaching yourself to focus on what you can add into your diet instead of what you have to take out. You can still have pizza with our Cashew Cheddar. You can still have brownies with our Black Bean Brownie Batter. You can use tofu to make cheesecake, beans to make burgers, and coconut milk to make ice cream.
And while “mock meats” aren’t as healthful as whole food-based options such as tofu or tempeh, they can certainly be helpful as you transition to a plant-based diet, so don’t be afraid to rely on them if you need.
3. Learn What You Love
Revamping your culinary arsenal can be a bit overwhelming, so start by learning just a few recipes that you love and are easy to make. If you have basic cooking knowhow, you can easily use your skills to make plant-based smoothies, soups, and pastas. Once you perfect these initial recipes, start branching out. You can iterate on these recipes by substituting a few ingredients, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, try cooking something entirely different. And visit vegan food blogs or Youtube channels for inspiration!
4. Stock Your Pantry
A well-stocked pantry is key for any healthy lifestyle, vegan or not. Spend an hour or two doing a “pantry inventory.” If you’re pantry is stocked with meat and dairy-based condiments, it’s time for an upgrade. Load up on essentials like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, whole grains, olive oil and coconut oil, vegan-friendly sauces, and condiments. Some of our favorite pantry staples include extra virgin olive oil, vegan mayo (or our Avocado Crema), all-natural ketchup, whole grain mustard, bean-based pastas, dried legumes of all kinds, raw nuts and seeds, and no-sugar-added marinara sauce.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
Unless you are superhuman, you will mess up. You might indulge in that chicken parm or that fried egg sandwich. Or, you might accidentally order a vegetable dish at a restaurant and not realize it was cooked in butter.
Mistakes and accidents will happen. For most, the journey to veganism is not a totally linear path, so don’t let these experiences discourage you. You don’t have to be a perfect vegan. Frankly, there is no such thing.
It takes time and practice to rewire your habits and re-learn what you know about food. So, when you trip up, instead of thinking negatively and feeling frustrated, keep smiling and moving forward. You’re making a change for the better!