6 Foods to Help Transition to a Plant Based Diet

Deciding to switch to a different diet or lifestyle is a HUGE change to make for most people. It may seem easy but there are so many factors that come into play if you want to make a lifestyle or diet change that will STICK. In this particular post, we are going to talk about foods that can and will help you transition to a plant-based diet.

When we decided to transition to a plant-based lifestyle we found it to be a quick switch. However, we were okay with not doing it perfectly. If this sounds like you and you just want to get started, you may consider asking yourself some of these questions.

  • How will it affect your personal life?
  • Can your community support this lifestyle?
  • Does it make sense for you to live this way?

Once you take the time to consider these questions, and you find yourself say “yes” to the plant-based lifestyle, then it’s time to take the next step.

If you are finding yourself on the fence, wondering if this would really work or be worth it, I encourage you to just try it for a few days. Give it a chance and see how it does. You can even try it for one meal and day because that will give you a tangible taste of the lifestyle without being too overwhelming.

For those who have been debating making this transition or would like to start out slow (which I recommend especially if you are coming from an omnivore diet), I have some tips for you starting with the 6 foods that can help you transition to a plant-based lifestyle.

Living a lifestyle that does not include eating animals is not as hard as it may seem. As you are transitioning to a plant-based diet, incorporating more of these foods below will help you to stay full, more satisfied, and hopefully, stay vegan longer!

For more tips about a plant-based diet, read How To Stay Full On A Plant-Based Diet!

Here are the top 6 foods to help you transition to a plant-based diet:

1. Bananas

This food is a staple for many people in the vegan/plant-based community. Why? They are higher in calories, are incredibly versatile, and offer great health benefits.

A few of my favorite things to use bananas for are smoothies (duh!), banana ‘nice cream, and baking!

Bananas are inexpensive and if you don’t eat them in time, they can go into the freezer. That is why they are one food we purchase on EVERY grocery trip.

Did you know bananas make a great egg replacement in baking things like brownies? #nowyouknow

RELATED: 6 Incredible Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal has been a necessity in my diet for years now.  It is said to be good for milk production for nursing moms but it is also filling and helps provide energy to start the day.

Oats, like bananas, are high in fiber.  They are nutrient-dense (hello, antioxidants!) and can be used in many different ways.

Oats are an inexpensive, filling, versatile food like the other mentioned previously making them something we like to always have on had.

You can use oats in baking, to make plant-based milk, or to eat as a sweet treat or savory dish.

And if you have kids, oats are a great way to start the day! For parents of little kids, don’t jump to adding lots of sugar. They will likely enjoy it just the way it is!

READ: Worried about protein? Here is a FULL list of plant-based protein sources.

3. Potatoes

Anyone else grow up believing that potatoes were “bad carbs” and that you should NOT eat them regularly?

When people talk about unhealthy people they typically say “oh, they’re on a meat and potato diet”. (implying it’s a fatty, unhealthy, veggie-less diet)  I believed this for YEARS.  Truth is, potatoes are a GREAT source of so many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants…ALL kinds of stuff! The problem is not the vegetable itself…it’s what we so commonly put on it. (Butter, sour scream, and cheese)

As you transition to a plant-based lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to eat potatoes (white/purple/sweet).  We love ours baked with a little avocado dip or cashew cream.

FACT: Potatoes actually have more potassium than bananas. BONUS: They are super inexpensive! 

RELATED: 5 Foods To Help Transition KIDS to a Plant-Based Diet

4. Avocado

Ah avocados.  The trendiest of the foods. (next to Kale I’m sure…) Now, avocado is a great option during the transition to plant-based because it can help fill that need for something creamy that cheese often gave us.

Related: Try these delicious avocado toast recipes (Kid approved!)

I love avocado with pasta, on toast, or on its own.  It also provides healthy fats which is great for brain development in children and can actually help lower cholesterol.

5. Broccoli (or another green you love)

This is one of my favorite foods right now. Not sure why, but I love it! The reason I have this on my list as a transition food is because it is versatile.

We snack on it a lot (bake it in the oven with a little oil if you want + pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes or garlic) and have no guilt with eating as much as we want.

If there is another green that you enjoy, use that during your transition to a plant-based lifestyle. There are NO RULES when transitioning to a plant-based diet so swap my tips for ones that works for you.

PS: Broccoli is on the Forks Over Knifes “eat freely” list. <– Go check it out!

Here are some recipes to try: Lemon Garlic Roasted Broccoli or Broccoli Mushroom StirFry.

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is an AMAZING protein packed food that is filling, can replace meat in a lot of dishes, and is great for you! We use it in place of meat for tacos, to add to salads, eat on its own, mix into hummus for added protein for kids, and so many other ways.

Here are some of my favorite quinoa recipes: Quinoa Sweet Potato Bowl and Crispy Tofu Quinoa Tacos!

If you are new to quinoa, check out this post all about quinoa that will help you to understand why we love it so much AND how you can use it.

The most important tip when you Transition to a plant-based lifestyle

The key to transitioning to a plant-based diet is eating things you LOVE. You should eat your favorite FRESH & WHOLE fruits and veggies in abundance. (Try to avoid dried fruits etc, as those contain more sugar than their non-dried counterpart)

If you LOVE strawberries and bell peppers, stock up on them and eat them whenever you want!

Don’t feel guilty. 

One thing I love about this lifestyle is that when you’re eating whole foods, you don’t need to worry as much about how much you eat.

Just eat until you are satisfied.

Sounds good, right?

Want to Try going plant-based over 3 days?

I’m excited to be sharing this with you, now that you have read through my tops 6 foods for transitioning to a plant-based diet.

If you are someone who is learning about a plant-based diet because you want to transition completely OR maybe you just want to incorporate more plant foods into your life, I have a new downloadable that would be perfect for you.

I created a 3-Day Plant-Based Challenge that allows you to try a plant-based diet with support and encouragement but WITHOUT talk of calories, measuring food, or restrictions. (Minus the lack of animal products, obviously.)

This 3-Day Plant-Based Challenge is a printable resource that you will have FOREVER and can refer back to whenever you want to brush up on your plant-based tips or recipes. The idea is that you can try a plant-based diet over the weekend (think Saturday, Sunday, Monday) but in reality it can be done ANYTIME and for any length.

What do you get with this 3-Day Challenge?

  • Answers to “what is a plant-based diet” and other common questions
  • Plant-Based staples/shopping list guide
  • Swaps for animal products you love
  • Tips for plant-based living
  • Meal options for all 3 days
  • Budget-friendly tips
  • Gluten-Free tips
  • BONUS: two printables of encouragement

I believe that this challenge is the PERFECT start for anyone who needs support but doesn’t want to be monitored regularly OR feel overwhelmed by rules.

This challenge is perfect for the mama who wants to see if this would work for her family of 4 or the corporate mama who needs something that will give her energy during long days of meetings or travel. This challenge is perfect for anyone wanting to try a plant-based lifestyle!

To learn more about the 3-day challenge or to get started, click here!

As I close out this post, I want to remind you that I am not a medical professional. These are my opinions based on my experience and research.  I encourage you to consume as many vegetables and fruits as you can on a plant-based diet, with these being some helpful “staples” to add.

What plant food made your transition easiest? Which food has been the hardest to leave behind?!

Now that you’ve read 5 foods to help you transition to a plant-based diet, check out the kids edition!

More from Realistic Plant-Based Mama:

Your Plant-Based Weekend – 3 Day Challenge

Vegan Grocery Staples During Quarantine

6 Reusable Items To Save You Money

5 Foods To Help Your Kids Go Plant-Based

2 thoughts on “6 Foods to Help Transition to a Plant Based Diet”

  1. From January I am eating meat less and less. I am finding new recipes with more vegetables and fruits. I like this kind of lifestyle (and I have lost already 6kg!!)! All the products you called are amazing, that I am saying from my own experience! 🙂

  2. I am allergic to coconut, even the smell of it, so olive oil is plant based can this be used as a swap?
    Thanks Rita

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