Six tips to get started with a plant-based diet

Friday, January 8, 2021
woman eating an organic plant-based cauliflower meal for vegetarians and drinking green smoothie

It’s 2021 and we’ve just said goodbye to one of the most challenging years we’ve had. It’s time to start the year off right and work toward those new year’s resolutions. One of those new year’s resolutions may be to start eating healthier and you may be experimenting this month with Veganuary or eating more of a plant-based diet. If this sounds like you, here are some tips to get started with plant-based, vegan eating.


1  Take a trip to your grocery store to explore plant-based options.

The first tip is to just plan a trip to your regular grocery store and check out all the plant-based options they have. You can usually find options in a refrigerated section near produce or in the natural foods or organic aisle of the store. Many grocery stores now carry a wide variety of options including ready-made meals. This is also your opportunity to explore vegan protein options that your grocery store has available like plant-based burgers and meat substitutes, vegan protein powders, tofu, canned beans and legumes. You’ll soon discover that getting protein on a vegan diet is not going to be an issue!

Man pushing shopping cart through grocery store aisle
Take a trip to your regular grocery store to explore the plant-based options they already have, including ready-made meals, vegan protein and meat substitutes.

2  Get used to reading ingredient labels.

You’d be surprised to find out how many accidentally vegan options there are in a grocery store. Did you know that Oreo cookies are vegan?! There are so many food items like this that you’ll discover don’t have any animal products in them. It’s all about reading labels. If it’s not obvious or it’s not labelled “vegan”, then checking the ingredients list is a good habit to get into.

Man looks at the ingredients list of canned good item
Get used to reading ingredient labels and you’ll discover that many foods you already eat may be vegan and that many options don’t say “vegan” on the packaging.

3  Start by making small adjustments.

Rather than going all-in, it may be less overwhelming to start by making small adjustments to your diet. For example, if you drink dairy, try swapping that first with a plant-based alternative like oat, almond or soy milk. Do that for the first week or a few days and then decide to swap an additional item following that. Another small adjustment to consider is to make sure you are eating vegetables with every meal.

Woman blending spinach, berries, bananas and almond milk to make a healthy green smoothie
Start by making small adjustments toward a vegan diet like swapping out dairy milk for a plant-based alternative.

4  Follow plant-based, vegan food bloggers for inspo.

It’s amazing how much social media can help you with your switch to a plant-based diet. There are so many amazing food bloggers out there who feature easy vegan recipes and tips on their platforms and lots of video content to keep you inspired. Here are a few blogs that are great for plant-based beginners:

Hands with the phone taking pictures of vegan buddha bowl.
Follow plant-based, vegan food bloggers for inspiration and to learn easy vegan recipes and tips.

5  Look for restaurants with vegan options that will satisfy your taste buds.

You’re in luck because nowadays there are many plant-based options available at different kinds of restaurants. We have a blog post about some local vegan-friendly options, but there are many other places that offer plant-based options now, including fast-food restaurants. Plan ahead and check out menus beforehand to make sure you’re not just stuck with a boring salad.

Women enjoy healthy vegan brunch
Look for restaurants with vegan options that will satisfy your taste buds. Check menus ahead of time and you’ll discover many places have great plant-based options.

6  Meal plan to eat plant-based on a budget.

Eating vegan doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does require a bit of planning. If you create a meal plan for yourself each week, you’ll be able to move closer to your goal to become healthier and eat plant-based on a budget. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be elaborate and it doesn’t have to be complicated - keep it simple, especially if you’re a college student. Breakfast can be as simple and cheap as toast, oatmeal or cereal. Lunches can be a wide variety of foods including sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads. Cheap vegan meals for dinner include pasta or rice bowls, stir-fry and curries. Just make sure to incorporate more veggies anywhere you can!

Woman writing a vegan meal plan
Meal plan to eat plant-based on a budget. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be elaborate and complicated, and can be inexpensive if you plan your meals ahead of time.

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