Cheat Sheet

Plant-Based Diet For Dummies

From Plant-Based Diet For Dummies by Marni Wasserman

What's great about a plant-based diet is that it's not just a diet — it's a lifestyle. As such, it encompasses many different aspects of your life, and it can be hard to remember everything you want to remember. This Cheat Sheet is here to help you implement your plant-based diet and to be your pocket-sized cheerleader. This lifestyle can help you be healthy — not just for the next month, but for the rest of your life. It's that simple.

Plant-Based Starter Shopping Guide

Making sure you have the right ingredients in your kitchen when starting (and maintaining) a plant-based lifestyle is essential to making delicious food at home and sticking to your plant-based goals. Always keep these must-haves stocked:

  • Vegetables: Choose a wide variety of colorful veggies on a regular basis, along with leafy greens like kale and collards. Basically, don't stick to just one color all the time!

  • Fresh fruit: The same color rule applies here; however, also choose fresh fruits that are in season (hint: berries aren't fresh in the winter!).

  • Whole grains: Become familiar with different grains in their whole forms. Experiment with ones like kamut, spelt, quinoa, and oats. You can also get breads and pastas made from these grains.

  • Beans: Explore the diversity of beans. Chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils are easy to cook with, and they're loaded with protein too.

  • Healthy oils: Stock up on oils like olive oil, flax oil, and coconut oil. They all come in handy for different occasions and can be used in everything from salads to baking.

  • Nuts and seeds: Keep a variety of nuts and seeds on hand. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and hempseeds are good essentials. They make great additions to breakfast oats or smoothies and are a quick snack.

  • Other extras: Get ahold of basics like maple syrup, Dijon mustard, tamari (natural soy sauce), almond butter, sea salt, and apple-cider vinegar.

Plant-Based Eating When You're Out and About

When planning your day of plant-based eating out, you ideally want to think about how you can choose a balance of meals that offer your body enough variety to keep you satisfied and full. These options can help you organize your day:

  • Breakfast: Berry smoothie with plant-based protein powder; whole-grain toast with almond butter and sliced banana; oatmeal with walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon; or scrambled tofu with a slice of toast and avocado

  • Lunch and dinner: Large salad with a variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds, avocado, chickpeas, and homemade dressing; pesto with brown-rice pasta topped with white beans and steamed broccoli; whole-grain wrap with hummus, lettuce, sprouts, carrots, and avocado; vegetarian brown-rice sushi and a bowl of miso soup; or baked tempeh, mashed yams, and steamed greens topped with tahini

  • Snacks: Trail mix with almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and cashews; an apple or pear with a tablespoon of nut butter; a handful or two of corn chips with salsa or guacamole; a homemade cookie or muffin with seed butter; or a green smoothie with kale, banana, hempseeds, and avocado

Maintaining Your Positive Plant-Based Attitude and Energy

The process of transitioning to a plant-based diet can be as big or small a deal as you want to make it. It's just about how you approach it and want to make it happen. You have to have a desire to eat better, feel better, and live longer.

Here are some ways you can maintain your motivation and increase your knowledge about eating a plant-based diet.

  • Read books on plant-based living.

  • Watch videos on healthy eating.

  • Talk to other people who eat this way.

  • Make a list of all the reasons plant-based eating appeals to you.

  • Go out for some good plant-based meals at restaurants to get inspired.

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