How to Keep Your Plant-Based Diet Fresh!
No matter what type of diet you follow, sometimes our go-to’s just get a little stale. We find ourselves cycling through the same five recipes for weeks at a time, and soon enough, we find ourselves never wanting to make them again.
Often, we get so comfortable in our cooking and shopping habits that we get complacent, losing our drive to spend energy to find something different. Don’t worry—it happens to all of us! (Seriously.)
The problem is…it’s just not all that fun for your taste buds!
The best way to stay strong on your commitment to #EatPlantsForAChange is to mix things up to keep your diet interesting. Plus, you’ll be all the better primed to answer those silly questions like, “What do you eat?”
If you’re in need of a little plant-based pick-me-up, we’re happy to lend a helping hand! Here’s our list of simple tricks you can use to stay excited about plant-based food without breaking the bank:
On the surface, this one’s pretty straightforward: Use more spices and herbs. One of the best ways to stay happy with your diet is simply to make sure it's seasoned appropriately. But we don’t mean just adding extra salt and pepper to your meals—try reaching to the back of your cabinet to use something you haven’t in a while. Is rice a staple in your meals? Boil it with some bay leaves, pack it with some rosemary, or color it yellow with a teaspoon of turmeric. And don’t just stick to the spices you know, pick out something you haven’t tried before at the store. (Have you heard of Everything Bagel Seasoning? Do yourself a favor and get some.) You'll give your meal a bold new flavor, while upping your kitchen cred with all your friends and family.
Have you ever explored the condiment aisle at the grocery store? Like really explored? Maybe it’s time! There are all kinds of different plant-based sauces, dressings, and salsas out there that can transform a tired favorite into a whole new culinary experience with very minimal effort. Find some green curry sauce to spice up your stir-fry or some plant-based Caesar to up your sandwich game! You’ll definitely have to do you due diligence, however—while more and more companies are using third party labels like “Certified Vegan” to market their products, you may have to do some ingredient sleuthing to figure out what to add to your cart. You’ll be surprised just how many incredible options are out there once you take a closer look!
Go Nuts for Seeds
Adding different nuts and seeds to your creations serves quite a number of purposes: They add extra protein and healthy oils, they bring in a whole new texture, and they can make a dish feel instantly more hearty and interesting. Keeping a variety on-hand to add to your salads, oatmeal, and pastas can be perfect when your meal is feeling a little drab. While almonds, cashews, and walnuts are delicious, try to explore some of the less expensive options like sunflower seeds, pepitas, and peanuts. Pretty soon you’ll be adding nuts and seeds to everything!
Play Produce Roulette
When it comes to food shopping, many people go in knowing exactly what they need to buy to make their week’s meals. While this can often times make your trip more “efficient,” it can prevent you from purchasing food you don’t know how to prepare. To break that bad habit causing you to miss out on some tasty foods, we suggest you have a little more fun at the store and play a game. Every trip to the store, make a point to buy one new type of produce that you haven’t tried before, or something you haven’t had in a while. This may seem trivial, but it’ll force you to incorporate something different into your diet and sometimes that’s all it takes to keep it fresh!
Try a Different Store
Probably the most impactful way to diversify your diet is to shop at a different grocery store. It’s no surprise that different stores carry different products, and making the simple location switch can truly change the contents of your cart. Traveling the extra 10 or 20 minutes may seem like a lot at first, but you'll find plant-based products you’ve never heard of or those you’ve never been able to buy before. Plus, with different prices you might find your weekly grocery budget goes further than normal, meaning more opportunity to expand your taste horizons. A whole new store can feel like a brave frontier, so be sure to...
Give Yourself Ample Time
If you’re constantly in rush to get in and out of the grocery store then you’re more likely to grab the same thing every week. Try allocating more time each week for your shopping to make sure you can explore each aisle to uncover those hidden gems. Maybe even try shopping in the early morning or late at night when the crowds are thinner if you feel rushed or anxious. (It’s hard to not feel pressured when you can barely move your cart through the store!)
Consult your Friends
One foolproof way to gain some valuable culinary inspiration is to simply ask your friends what they’ve been eating. Just learning what someone else eats daily can help you shake a bland diet. They might have some tips and tricks or suggest a different market with some exciting, new options. Can’t think of anyone that’s eating plants for a change? You might be surprised just how many people you know eating more plants. Post a status asking for recommendations on Facebook, or join our Eat Plants. For a Change. Facebook group filled with beginners and experts alike!
Follow Plant-Based Instagrammers
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Another easy way to feel inspired with your diet is to follow some food bloggers on Instagram. (We’ve mentioned this before.) Not only will they share mouth-watering pictures and recipes to brighten up your feed, but you may pick up some fun hacks or habits to try along the way. Even if you never actually try out any of the recipes they share, you’ll still learn new ways to eat and cook plants you didn't consider before.
Ask a Librarian
If you aren’t a big fan of social media, or you’re just taking a little break from it, you may want to pick up a new plant-based cookbook. But since cookbooks tend to be a little pricey, we suggest heading over to your local library. (That's right: libraries have cookbooks! It blew our minds, too.) And don't worry about due dates! Write down or snap a picture of any recipes you want to hang onto before bringing the book back. Check out a few different cookbooks and you’ll have new recipes to try for weeks without spending any money! (Just make sure not to get charged a late fee...)
Find these tips helpful? Let us know by using #EatPlantsForAChange and tagging us @CompassionUSA on social media! And be sure to share all your favorite products and recipes over on our Facebook group.
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