No matter where you are on your plant-based journey – whether you’ve been eating plant-based vegan for years or you’re just making the switch – there can be challenges and temptations to avoid all along the way. I know, because I’ve been there. To help you, I reflected on what little “tricks” have helped me and developed this handy cheat sheet that you can reference whenever you feel your motivation flagging and your resolve to eat healthy wavering. I hope you find these tips for sticking with a plant-based diet as helpful as I have.
1. Know Thyself: According to Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Four Tendencies,” some people can do moderation and some people can’t. Figure out which camp you fall into and make that work to your advantage. If a tiny piece of dark chocolate is going to send you on a week-long binge, “just say no.”
2. Know Your Addictions: Some foods, particularly processed snack foods, have just the right amounts of sugar, salt or fat to get you hooked. Make no mistake about it, this is entirely intentional on the part of the food industry, they actually study this stuff! So don’t go blaming yourself when it comes to these perceived weaknesses, you’re only human and these companies are manipulating your biology. (Check out this National Public Radio piece, “How the Food Industry Manipulates Taste Buds with ‘Salt Sugar Fat,’” if you want to know more about these devious tactics.) Maybe for you, a tiny square of dark chocolate is fine, but when it comes to potato chips, you’ll be eating the whole bag if you just have one.
3. Don’t Try This at Home: You might find that you’re OK sampling just a small amount of some “no-no’s” when eating out or attending a party, and perhaps this will prevent a feeling of deprivation that could, in turn, send you off on a binge. But keeping the same food items in quantity at home, sitting around for you to see every time you open the freezer or cabinet, is not a good practice. Just don’t do it! Do not purchase food items in the grocery that you don’t want to be eating, whether that’s animal products, TV dinners, pre-packaged snack foods, ice cream or candy.
4. Purge Your Kitchen: On a similar note, it’s worth taking the time to scour your kitchen looking for items that don’t support your health. Especially if your kitchen is a bit cluttered, take everything out of the fridge and see what’s buried in the back areas, then do the same thing for your pantry and drawers. Give away or toss out anything that’s not whole foods plant-based (or past the expiration date!) It may hurt to purge some of your once-favorite foods, but this will support your at-home diet in the long run
5. Plan Your Meals: Planning your meals in advance takes the temptation away to eat poorly, the decision is already made and the ingredients are purchased and on hand. Check out my article, “Beginner’s Guide to Easy Plant-Based Meal Planning,” for easy-to-follow instructions on how to do this in a way that works for you.
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6. Healthy Snacks: Have healthy snacks on hand at home and portable snacks that you can take with you and enjoy on-the-go. This will help stabilize your blood sugar and make you less susceptible to reaching for junk. Particularly when we’re away from home, we’re especially vulnerable to whatever we can find on the road or in the shopping mall. Don’t go there! That’s a set-up for unhealthy eating. Healthy snacks include vegan yogurt, veggie sticks with hummus or guacamole, kale chips and lots of other great options that you’ll find in my article, “
Plant-Based Vegan Snacks: Your Easy How-To Guide.” More portable options (which you can also enjoy at home) include nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, carrot sticks, granola, baked tortilla chips, fresh fruit and dried fruit in small amounts.
7. Prepare to Travel: When traveling near or far, do your homework. Either bring an ample supply of food with you or identify in advance eating establishments or groceries along the way that offers whole foods plant-based items. Happy Cow has a great search feature for any city you might be visiting. For more information about eating plant-based away from home, read “Dining Out on a Plant-Based Diet.”
Well, there you have it! I wish you success on your journey and please be in touch to let me know which of these tips made a difference for you. I love nothing more than to hear your stories and know that I’ve made a difference. Please email me at email@example.com or post to my Facebook site.