Whether you’re new to a vegan diet or trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, difficulties may arise. You may find yourself out to eat with friends, and frustrated with the menu, or simply hungry and tempted to eat something you will regret later. Eating a healthy whole foods vegan diet may be a huge change from your previous diet, and seemingly difficult to do, but here are some tips to ensure smooth sailing!
1. Eat Enough. While nutrient dense, and filling, fruits and vegetables are not often high in calories. You will need a lot more food to stay full, and I’ve learned to fill up before going to work so I can survive a shift without feeling like a starving feral cat (servers don’t get lunch breaks, so I’m very experienced in this area). Eating enough ensures you are getting enough nutrients as well as calories, and being full is the best way to resist unhealthy options.
2. Bring healthy snacks everywhere! Whether it’s a bagful of juicy ripe persimmons, a handful of nuts, or a green smoothie, make sure you have food on hand at all times to ensure you are eating enough, and don’t end up falling off the wagon.
3. Surround yourself with motivation! Start a Pinterest board, make a dream book, join groups online, follow your interests and surround yourself with healthy goals. Make being healthy fun!
4. Having a friend who eats similarly to you helps tremendously. If you don’t have any healthy vegan (or even vegan!) friends, the internet is a wonderful place to find support 🙂
5. It’s okay to screw up. Seriously! You can even eat more indulgent stuff once in a while and find balance in your eating habits. The key is to not define your food choices in moral terms–so you’re not “guilty” if you’ve eaten a piece of delicious vegan cake. You’ve also not “been good” if you try to cleanse yourself after that dessert. Move away from internally rewarding and punishing yourself based on the food choices, which can make healthy eating an unhealthy obsession and burden. Instead, accept that your food choice is not going to make or break who you are on a day-to-day basis. It’s just simply a part of your life.
6. Be Consistent. Make every day your best, and you will develop a long lasting habit that makes eating healthfully as simple and effortless as breathing.
7. You don’t have to love kale…but eat your greens! Greens like spinach, collard, or broccoli are full of muscle building protein and calcium for bones and teeth. You can even trick yourself by making fruit smoothies with greens if you just can’t stand them at all, but they are absolutely necessary to maintain good health.
8. Exercise! Having a healthy diet is the basis for a healthy body and life, and exercise is crucial to maintaining your body. Moving your boy is key to keeping your metabolism humming–studies show that even a few days of sedentary lifestyle can dramatically impair your metabolism. Enjoy long walks, hikes, runs, and other adventures with your body and appreciate your beautiful life 🙂
9. Plan Ahead. Use all those healthy recipes you found on Pinterest and make a week-long menu plan. This ensures you an enjoyable experience, and smooth sailing without having to worry about what to eat (I’ve spent hours deviating between recipes many times, and this really saves time, plus helps with your grocery list).
Related: 10 Tips for the New Vegan
Photo: looseends via Flickr