Plant-based eating is booming—and it’s a trend that will continue to grow. The global plant-based food market is expected to reach a whopping $74.2 billion in 2027. The pandemic has only heightened the growing interest amongst Americans in health & well-being. As a result, more and more people realize the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Whether you’re thinking of making the change for your health or out of curiosity, we’ve got some tips from Emmie Keefe, CEO and founder of Healthy Emmie and a plant-based nutritionist, to help make the transition easier.
Start with one plant-based meal a day.
Making a change can seem daunting, but starting with one plant-based meal a day can be easy. Since many classic breakfast foods are already vegan—like toast with peanut butter and jelly—it may not feel like much of a change at all.
“You can’t beat a classic bowl of oatmeal for breakfast,” says Keefe, who includes it as part of her Slim on Starch Program. “It’s packed with fibre and nutrients, plus it tastes great.”
Prepare your oats with plant-based milk, such as oat or soy, and top it with fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup. Better yet, make a batch of oatmeal for the week to make things even easier.
Reduce meat portion sizes.
Portion sizes keep getting bigger and bigger. In 1993, a muffin may have been only about 3 oz, but by 2013, your standard blueberry muffin weighs closer to 5 oz. “Binge eating is a problem for a lot of people,” says Keefe.
Cutting back on portion sizes is a healthy step for all your food choices. However, when it comes to health benefits, eating less meat can reduce the negative health impacts and encourage you to eat more vegetables.
Try meat-free Mondays.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of a daily plant-based meal, the next step is trying to eat plant-based one day a week.
Keefe recommends trying simple swaps. “Beans are a great replacement for meat in many recipes, like chilli or tacos.”
Plan your meals ahead of time.
Planning and preparing your meals each week can help you stick with plant-based eating even when you’re tired or pressed for time. “Taking some time to prep your meals each week can help make it easier to make healthy choices,” says Keefe. Her Slim on Starch Program offers a meal plan and grocery list to keep you on track as you try to eat a healthier, plant-based diet.
Work with a nutritionist.
Getting the proper nutrients on any diet can be tricky. You can get most but not all nutrients from plants alone, so if you’re thinking about making a long-term switch, consider working with a nutritionist. “Part of my role as a nutritionist is to show my clients how to eat. It takes time to learn how to build your plate and how to get the right nutrients.”
The transition takes time. Keep in mind that this kind of lifestyle change can take time. Give yourself the space you need to adjust and be patient if you make mistakes. For more information on plant-based eating, check out healthyemmie.org.