At a time when more and more health experts are uniting to tell us why we need to change our eating habits to be more plant-based, we’re here to help with the how.
A diet rich in fresh fruit, veg, and wholefoods is widely considered the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to nourishing our bodies – so it’s little wonder that most nutritional advice these days agrees that we need to be eating more plant-based meals.
But however well-intentioned, some of this advice also happens to be kind of vague (or worse, intimidating!), leaving many people wondering: What does eating more plant foods actually look like in practise?
Getting started is much easier than you might think 😊
Here are what we’ve found to be the most practical tips for starting to eat more veg, broken down into sections so you can see how these habits fit into your average week.
Before you do your grocery shopping:
💡 Collect some inspiration. You can do this one right now!
✅ Set small goals, like replacing one snack a day with a piece of fruit, adding an extra serve of veg to each main meal, or cooking with at least two new plant-based ingredients each week to gently push the boundaries of your culinary comfort zone.
✏️ Write a list of staples to make sure you’re always stocked up on your favourite essentials. It’ll make spontaneous cooking so much easier. You can find heaps of suggestions for writing your plant-based grocery list here.
📅 Lock in a few meals for the week. Don’t worry about making a meticulous meal plan – just pick 2-3 recipes you’d be excited to try, double the amounts, and pop the ingredients on your shopping list.
Planning to make meals in bulk means you’ll always have leftovers to rely on, and won’t need to cook as often … unless you want to!
👩🌾 Find your local farmer’s market by checking your region here. This is where you’ll find the freshest, best-tasting produce, which may help you develop healthy cravings for them! Plus, there’s something about interacting directly with the farmer who grew your veggies that makes them all the more enjoyable to eat. (A humbling sense of gratitude, perhaps?)
While grocery shopping:
🦘 Look for the Australian-grown label on fruit and veg. Local produce is more likely to be in season, and therefore cheaper – so you won’t find yourself using ‘cost’ as an excuse not to eat your veggies 😉
🛒 Check out the specials, especially for fresh produce. There’s nothing more satisfying than a huge haul of fruit and veg that costs next to nothing, and you’re more likely to keep up with your veggie-packed habit if you can demonstrate to yourself that it’s totally affordable. Discounted produce is also usually in season, so will taste amazing too!
🌈 Shop the rainbow! If you’re aiming to eat the rainbow, first set yourself up for success by filling your shopping cart (and kitchen) with colourful fruit, veg, and other whole foods.
🥫Stock up on canned staples. Tins of chickpeas, beans, corn, and diced tomatoes are budget-friendly and have a long shelf-life, so they can wait patiently in the pantry until you need them.
❄️ Fill up your freezer. Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh, and it’s often more affordable. Mixed berries, frozen spinach, broccoli, peas, corn, and stir-fry veg are good to have on hand because you can quickly and easily veg-ify your dinner with a handful from the bag!
When making breakfast:
🥤 Remember smoothies – they’re one of the easiest ways to tick off several serves of fruit and veg in one go.
🌿 Add extra veg. If you’re having a savoury breakfast or piece of toast, add a side of sautéed greens, avo, fried tomato, or baked beans. If you’re making a smoothie, blend in a handful of spinach, cucumber, or cauliflower. You won’t even taste it!
🍞 Top your toast. Try avocado over your Vegemite (honestly, match made in heaven!), banana slices on top of peanut butter, or a toasted bagel with vegan cream cheese, cucumber, and tomato. Check out @veganiina on Instagram or this blog post for more delicious combos.
When cooking a main meal:
🌯 Try more wraps and burritos – they’re delicious ‘default’ lunches that make it super easy to pack in a few veggies, beans, and legumes.
🌿 Add dark leafy greens to everything, whether that’s a toastie at lunch time, or a heartier dish for dinner. Add a fresh handful to your bowl or plate if you prefer your greens salad-style, or stir some into your hot meal in the last 5 mins of cooking. (Adopting this one habit will increase your greens intake exponentially!)
🥕 Use veggies as fillers. Finely chopped or grated vegetables like carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkin, or capsicum will fly totally under the radar in things like pasta sauces, soups, stews, and casseroles, while sneakily bulking up your meals and adding extra nutrients.
🍲 Make in bulk. One-pot recipes like stir fries, soups, and stews are packed with nourishing wholefoods, and doubling the amounts when you’re cooking is a great way to cut down on meal prep throughout the week.
🥣 Don’t forget your leftovers. Enough said! Dedicate a specific part of the fridge to your leftover containers so they stay visible and don’t get lost at the back.
🥬 Clear out the fridge and challenge yourself to use up those last few ingredients, even if it’s something super simple like a stir fry thrown together with some noodles and teriyaki sauce.
When craving something sweet:
🍫 Try a (secretly!) veggie-based dessert. These are some of our favourites.
✨ Add fruit as an extra topping. Even the most indulgent desserts pair well with a sprinkle of berries, pomegranate, or passionfruit.
When dining out / ordering takeaway:
⚖️ Weigh up your options. If you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of menu items, choose the one higher in fruit or veg.
💚 Order something new – even if it’s somewhere familiar! Try something more veggie-based than usual from your favourite takeaway spot.
🥗 Add a side of salad, dip, roasted veg, or veggie chips.
Whenever you have time:
📍 Save recipes you want to try so you can find them easily later.
🔪 Chop chop! Fill a container with some sliced veggie sticks or a big fruit salad to pick at when you’re feelin’ snacky throughout the week.
🌱 Remember it’s about progress, not perfection. You don’t have to completely overhaul your eating habits all at once to start making a positive difference to your health.
Every step you take towards eating more plant-based counts.
The more, the better, of course – but it’ll be far more sustainable if you take it at your own pace, and build up those healthier eating habits bit by bit, enjoying yourself along the way.
💌 Feel free to reach out for support. We’re always happy to help, offer recipe suggestions, and celebrate your plant-based wins with you! For even more tips and tricks, you can grab a free Veg Starter Kit here.