Sharing 10 easy ways to incorporate more plants into your diet in 2021! These simple plant based tips will help better fuel both body & mind!
I’m excited to share a few easy ways to incorporate more plants into your diet throughout 2021! January 1st marked two years since I first went vegan after many months of consideration. Since then, I’ve truly enjoy a whole food, plant based diet & my decision to do so has tremendously impacted my health & digestion. I’m never here to persuade anyone to go fully vegan because it really is such a personal decision, especially if you want to maintain it, but I do love to encourage incorporating more fruits & vegetables specifically, because I think food can be so healing, if used properly!
The tips below focus on ten easy ways that I’ve learned to incorporate more plants or vegetables into my diet since going vegan two years ago. Learning to use vegetables in different ways & creating full meals using just plants can be one of the most challenging things about going vegan. If it is something you want to pursue, I encourage you to give it a try & spend some time learning how to do so because cooking vegan can really be enjoyable! During the first few months after I went vegan, I spent a lot of time learning how to best utilize my plant based ingredients to do exactly what I mentioned…creating a full, nourishing meal, & creating things that were exciting to eat, & not just salads haha!
Even if you aren’t plant based, there isn’t one person that wouldn’t benefit from adding more vegetables into their diet this year. Eating more vegetables doesn’t have to be boring & I hope my tips below can help if you feel like you’re in need of a few suggestions to make sure you’re getting your leafy greens in or just want to eat a more balanced variety of different whole food vegetables! If you are interested in learning more about why I personally went vegan or want to read a little Q&A recap surrounding my first year as a vegan, be sure to check out this post that I wrote last January! Now onto the tips!
How to Incorporate More Plants Into Your Diet
1. Have a daily smoothie
Enjoying a daily smoothie can be a fantastic way to “drink your greens” & get some plant based nutrients to kick off your day! Be sure to check out my Spirulina Smoothie recipe…it is my absolute go-to! Did you know that spirulina is the highest form of plant based protein out there? It’s jam packed with nutrients & the smoothie itself also includes a big handful of spinach & even some frozen/peeled cucumber! It’s delicious & especially if you struggle with getting a sufficient amount of greens, this can be a great way to sneak some in! My chocolate blueberry smoothie is awesome too – it calls for a big handful of spinach & my favorite plant based protein powder!
2. Invest in a juicer
Juicing is amazing but it can be an investment! I purchased a Breville juicer in the Spring of 2020 & it was such a great investment. I was able to juice my celery & make other delicious morning juices with carrots, celery, beets, apples, ginger, turmeric, & lemon! So yes, the juicer is an up-front investment, it takes time to wash & chop the veggies & fruits to prepare them for juicing, & then it also takes time to properly clean the device afterwards, but if juicing is something you enjoy (which I do) it’s 100% worth the investment & can be a wonderful way to start you day!
3. Keep veggies within sight
Pushing your veggies to the back of your fridge or hidden in your vegetable drawer is an easy way to lose sight of them. If you find yourself doing this often, I’m sure most of your produce ends up going bad before you even have a chance to use it! Not only does this result in food waste, but it also wastes money & of course, you don’t get to enjoy your produce! So, my tip is to keep your produce in plain sight! Whether it be on the top shelf of your fridge, in the middle, on eye level, etc…doing so, will actually remind you to use up your produce before it goes bad!
4. Plan out your shopping list based on your weekly meals
Make a mindful effort at the beginning of each week (or whenever you make your shopping list) to come up with different recipes & when you do, make sure to write down the necessary ingredients to make each meal! Going into a store without a plan can result in wasted produce because you don’t have a plan on what to use, what to purchase, OR it might also result in just buying processed, packaged food, which isn’t the goal either. When you write out your meals for the week, it gives you an idea of what you need to shop for, so when it comes time to actually making the meal, you’ll have the ingredients you need & the vegetables ready to prepare! Referring back to your list throughout the week is also a great reminder of what you have still left in your fridge. This also helps to reduce unwanted food waste & can be a great way to plan out your weekly intake of veggies!
5. Make big batches of soup
Making a big batch of soup is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a whole lot of vegetables! I usually always use Trader Joe’s Veggie Stock as the base of my soups & then add in whatever vegetables make sense! If you don’t find soup to be a filling meal on its own, add beans, lentils (my favorite), or serve it over quinoa or rice to create a more complete meal!
6. Add in veggies or double them whenever possible
No matter what I make for dinner, I always try to add in extra vegetables whenever possible! Even if I’m just making a simple pasta dish, I’ll chop up some carrots, slice some mushrooms, & wilt down a few handfuls of spinach to add into the sauce. Adding extra vegetables into a pasta sauce is such an easy way to incorporate more vegetables & creates a more substantial, filling plant based meal as well!
7. Have your vegetables washed & cut so they’re ready to use
People often reach for processed snacks or foods because they often seem like the most convenient option. In most cases, they usually are haha! But with that said, if you have your vegetables already washed or chopped, it will make them a lot more accessible & therefore, usable! Think chopped carrots & cucumber slices dipped in some delicious hummus – Ithaca hummus is my favorite! Having your carrots washed, peeled, & chopped in advance will make you actually want to enjoy them instead say a bag of chips, when it comes time to having a snack! You can do the same thing with vegetables for meals too! Maybe designate an amount of time every week to wash, slice, & prep your vegetables so when it comes time to make a meal, they are ready to go! This is such a huge time saver as well! When I make time to do this, I love storing my chopped vegetables in my Stasher Bags!
8. Spiralize your veggies
Spiralizing your vegetables can be a great way to up your veggie intake this year! Spiralizers aren’t that expensive & there’s so many different recipes where you can utilize one! Even if you add a big handful of spiralized zucchini noodles to your actual real pasta noodles – I always do gluten free pasta because I’m Celiac – that can be a great way to sneak some extra vegetables into your lunch & dinner! Doing half & half with your noodles can also make the meal much more filling too – I know that’s usually what I struggle with in terms of veggie noodles…I never find them to be filling!
9. Don’t neglect frozen vegetables
In most cases, frozen vegetables can be just as fresh as actual fresh vegetables, so don’t neglect them! When I shop for frozen veggies, I always look for organic & I make sure the ingredients don’t contain any questionable preservatives. The ingredients should simply list the veggies included, nothing else! Using frozen vegetables can be a great time savor throughout the week; especially if you don’t have time to prepare fresh vegetables every day! Add them to soups, chilis, stir fry, curries, casseroles, etc! The options are endless!
10. Bake veggies in advance
Baking your vegetables in advance is another great way to have them be accessible for use throughout the week! Think roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, broccolini, steamed green beans, sautéed onions & peppers, etc! I’m not the biggest fan of meal prep. BUT preparing a few things in advance does help making meals day of, a whole lot easier! If you are preparing veggies in advance, make sure to store them in glass containers, rather than plastic.
I hope these 10 easy ways to incorporate more plants into your diet was helpful! Adding in more veggies doesn’t have to be complicated or too time consuming. It simply may require you to shift some of your eating habits towards more mindful choices! I promise your body will thank you!
How are you going to incorporate more veggies in your diet this year? I’d love to hear!