Transitioning to Plant-Based Eating

NUTRITION

Transitioning to Plant-Based Eating

There are many reasons that someone may want to transition to a plant based diet, from ethical reasons to improving your health. Plant-based meals can be some of the most fresh, tasty, nutritious and fulfilling meals that you have ever had. However it can seem quite daunting when making this leap, which is what stops a lot of people from doing it! Here are some great tips to help you make this change and be eating a delicious diet full of plants in no time.

plant-based eating

Take it slow

There is nothing wrong with taking it one step at a time, in fact it is best to just ease into a plant based diet. If you attempt to jump straight in and go cold turkey, it is likely that you will find it far too difficult and give up. By slowly making the transition you will give yourself more time to discover new creative ways to cook and other ingredient sources that you would never have thought of before. By allowing yourself to ease into a plant based diet, there are no ‘mistakes’ as you are on more of a journey. Why not try starting with one vegan meal per day for breakfast, lunch or dinner, then slowly add more meals as you adjust! 

Research, research, research

Keep in mind that it is important to think about what you are eating. Instead of just removing meat from your diet, ensure that you are replacing it with something that provides plenty of micronutrients and is also a source of protein. Some great options that are also versatile include:

  • Chickpeas 
  • Edamame
  • Black Beans
  • White Beans
  • Pinto Beans 
  • Tofu 
  • Tempeh 

Plant based eating revolves around the idea of eliminating animal-based products and focusing on your consumption of plant-based foods. More specifically, the structure of a plant-based diet revolves around vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, soy, nuts, seeds and whole grains. The key to this way of eating is creativity. There are so many ways that you can replace meat with plants!  

Mince > Lentils or Beans 

Steak > Tofu 

Chicken > Chickpeas 

Cheese > Nutritional Yeast 

Cow’s Milk > Almond Milk

Keep it healthy

Eating plant based does not automatically make the diet healthy! As tempting as it is to try all of the vegan products that are on the market, for example vegan mac and cheese packets or frozen vegan pizzas, just keep in mind that you want to eat these in moderation. They may be vegan, but that does not necessarily mean that they are healthy. There is no harm in trying one of these products on the weekend, but most of your intake should be from calorie dense and whole foods! 

There are endless recipes out there, and getting on social media is a great place to start. Go through and save heaps of creative plant based recipes, and you will always have a creative idea when you enter the kitchen!

Write a shopping list

When grocery shopping your spend should not be any more than it usually is, in fact it will likely be even less! Most of your grocery shop should take place in the fresh food aisle, being vegetables and fruits. A lot of vegetables contain a surprising amount of protein so try and buy a wide variety of them. Avocado, nuts, seeds and hummus are great options for your healthy fat sources, being high in fiber and nutrients too. Tofu and tempeh are great replacements for meat, as they are high in protein. The rest of your grocery shop will be starchy carbohydrates like whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and canned beans and legumes. 

These foods all contain a moderate amount of protein, so by the end of your shopping trip you will find that a large number of your purchases will contribute to your protein intake!  

Plant-Based Shopping List:

  • A wide range of vegetables 
  • A wide range of fruits and berries
  • Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Large variation of raw nuts and seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Unsweetened Plant-based milks
  • Coconut yogurt 
  • Vegan cheese (look for one with the least additives)
  • Nut butters
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Olive and coconut oil
  • Salsa
  • Mustard
  • Balsamic vinegar 
  • Maple Syrup 
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Pulse pasta
  • Corn tortillas
  • Brown rice
  • Beans 
  • Legumes 

Be kind to yourself

Just remember that you do not want this transition into a plant based lifestyle to be stressful or harmful to your mental health in any way. If you feel as though it is affecting your mentality around food, or just causing you extra anxiety around finding plant based options or accidentally consuming animal products, then take your transition a little bit slower. Just the act of beginning this transition is enough to make a positive impact in our world.


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