“Plant Based”, “Meatless Monday”, “#vegan”. We see those terms everywhere these days! Is going meatless the new black? What do these terms really mean? Is it the right fit for me? These are all questions we asked ourselves before starting a plant based lifestyle…and it was a lot easier than you’d think!
I was so lucky to go on the #PlantBasedGetaway with Sprouts this summer and learned so much about living a plant based lifestyle. Before N and I cut meat out of our diets, we shopped a lot a Sprouts but never really explored how easy Sprouts makes plant based eating! From fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat alternatives (did you know they have a whole refrigerated case of non-dairy plant based options?), an amazing bulk section of plant based snacks, ready made one pan plant based meals, to a private label that makes plenty of dairy free & plant based treats – shopping at Sprouts made cutting meat out of our diets easy, convenient, and cost effective!
What does “Plant Based” even mean?
There are so many terms these days and it’s so hard to know what going plant based even entails. At it’s core, a plant based diet is a diet that consists mainly of eating vegetables, fruits, grains, and a few (or even no) animal products. The definition of plant based is very flexible, but the intention is to encourage people to eat more veggies and less meat, poultry, fish, or other animal byproducts. You can tailor the plant based diet to your lifestyle – perhaps that means partaking in “Meatless Mondays”, ditching dairy, or incorporating more fresh fruits and veggies to replace the staple meat in traditional meals. Whatever your motivation, a plant based lifestyle is a great way to ease your family in to eating healthier and challenging yourself to get creative with meals!
Types of Plant Based Diets:
Plant based means different things to different people. Below are some ways you can incorporate a plant based diet into your life.
- Meatless / Meat-lite / Flexitarian: avoiding meat completely or reducing meat consumption and swapping with a plant based alternative. It’s the easiest way to baby step into plant based eating.
- Pescatarian: A person who doesn’t eat meat or poultry but allows fish in their diet, often alongside plenty of vegetables. Some prefer this diet because they see fish as a healthier and more sustainable source of protein.
- Dairy Free: A person who avoids all things dairy. Often they will consume plant based dairy alternatives such as nut milks, coconut yogurt, and soy or pea proteins.
- Vegetarian: a person who does not eat meat and eats primarily a plant based diet. They may allow for eating eggs, dairy, and honey. They may opt for cheese made with vegetable enzymes instead of animal enzymes.
- Vegan: a person who does not eat or use animal products. That means no dairy, honey, eggs, nor animal based gelatins. Many vegans are sustainability conscious and will avoid palm oil or refined sugar due to portions of the process requiring the use of animal byproducts, but there is a spectrum of what vegans will tolerate.
How I went Plant Based… and it wasn’t weird.
Growing up, my family had always been vegetarian. In college, I started eating meat because it was just easier (or so I thought)! Plant based proteins were hard to find or didn’t taste good. Meat was everywhere – chicken in a burrito, sushi, chicken and mashed potatoes, turkey gravy…
N’s experience was a little different. He had always grown up in a family where a meal consisted primarily of a meat, and then some sort of vegetable as a side. The veggies had never been the star of the show. When I decided to completely eliminate meat from my diet (you can read more about going vegetarian here) for ethical and sustainability reasons, N and I had figure out what worked best for our lifestyles. While I went vegetarian, N went meatless.
Top 5 Ways to Make Eating Plant Based Easy
The adjustment to plant based wasn’t that weird for us. In order to make plant based eating second nature, N and I broke the mindset that meat had to be the star of every meal. The more vegetables became normal, the easier it was to come up with versions of plant based meals that were filling AND delicious.
- Start with the favorites. Try pasta with extra veggies, flatbreads and pizzas with veggie toppings, fajitas in burritos…
- Ease your way in. Start with Meatless Mondays, and work your way up. The beauty of a plant based diet is that you can make it work for you.
- Stock up with fresh fruits, veggies, and plant based alternatives for easy snacking. Sprouts carries a wide selection of plant based options to make grocery shopping easy.
- Find proteins that work for you. Quinoa, lentils, and beans are great sources of protein that taste great and can easily fit into familiar dishes.
- Get inspiration from others. Know that eating plant based is a great, healthy lifestyle choice and you’re not in it alone! There are plenty of food bloggers who create plant based recipes to draw inspiration from if you get stuck (including yours truly!). Here are a few of my favorites:
If you’re considering going plant based – give it a try! It’s not as hard as you think. Have questions? Drop me a line in the comments below!!
Thank you Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this post! While this post, itself, is sponsored – the recommendations, tips and opinions expressed in this post are my own. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me here!