Do you want to start eating healthier but are not sure where to start? A nutrient-rich, plant-based diet is scientifically proven to optimize your health -- but it can be intimidating. You won’t be able to completely feel the benefits of a plant-based diet until you fully commit to it, but below are a few steps to help you move in that direction. Start with one or two or try all eight!
1. Eat your veggies first. It’s easy to wait until the end of a meal to eat your serving of salad or other vegetables. But by then, you’ve already filled up on the other not-so-healthy foods. Start with your vegetables first to ensure that you eat the entire portion, and you may even find that you don’t need as much of the other foods to satisfy you.
2. Pack your lunch. Even “healthy options” at restaurants or fast food places come loaded with unnecessary calories or unhealthy additives. When you bring your own lunch to work, you have full control over what you decide to eat and are putting in your body. Packing your lunch ahead of time also forces you to put more thought into what you eat, and you won’t be as likely to make decisions based on cravings.
3. Toss some seeds into… everything! Seeds are a great way to boost the nutritional content of your food without having to change what you are actually eating. You can add seeds to your salad, rice, smoothie, oatmeal, soup, etc. More on seeds here.
4. Drink a green smoothie for breakfast. The idea of drinking a green smoothie may be a little intimidating, but it is a great way to start your day with generous portions of fruits and vegetables. By starting with fruits like peaches, blueberries, or strawberries mixed with spinach, you can ease into green smoothies and allow your taste buds to adjust to nature’s goodness. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out this beginner’s guide.
5. Taste the rainbow. While greens are the most nutrient dense vegetables, it is important to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Aim to make your plate colorful with natural fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself to try one unfamiliar fruit or vegetable each week to start incorporating a wide range of nutrients.
6. Limit coffee. While coffee may not be “bad” for you, the potential for caffeine addiction is. Try switching to tea, which often has less caffeine. If you decide to stick with coffee, cut down to one cup a day and don’t add any creamer or sugar.
7. Eat a salad for lunch. Salads can be a great way to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, and to start building healthier habits. Choose salads that are filled with raw fruits and vegetables and be mindful of dressing choices.
8. Don’t keep processed snacks in the house. Many people will just eat because they are bored or there is food in front of them -- remove the temptation to snack on unhealthy foods by not even having them in the house. If you want a snack, try an apple, carrots and hummus, or another healthy option.