There's lots of talk about all the health benefits of a plant-based diet. But if you've been a meat-eating gal for as long as you can remember, then the shift can be a little confusing — especially when it comes to grocery shopping! If you're not sure where to start, then here are seven easy tips to help you on your new veg mission.
- Create a list: Come prepared! When you're first tackling a plant-based diet, the whole process can be pretty overwhelming. Go through recipes in cookbooks or online before you shop in order to inspire new or unexpected ingredients you're going to need on hand. This will also be a great way to save money and keep you from just grabbing everything that looks good.
- Walk the perimeter: Don't get caught up in the center aisles! While all those bagged and prepackaged foods may have been your go-to moves from the past, the back corners of the grocery store are your future. Loading up on natural foods and produce will be the cornerstone of your shopping trips from now on.
- Buy frozen, not canned: Canned foods may seem like an ideal option if you don't have yummy fresh produce readily available, but frozen foods are a better choice. Veggies like nutrient-rich frozen spinach have far more health benefits than their canned counterparts, but be sure to get vegetables in a bunch of colors. All green may seem like the obvious option, but grabbing for other frozen veggies like carrots and cauliflower will help you get all your essential antioxidants.
- Shop smart: Everyone will tell you that a plant-based diet is going to be wildly expensive, but this need not be the case. There are plenty of easy ways to save money on healthy food when you're at the store, and shopping for fresh, delicious produce at a farmers market is way cheaper than store prices.
Keep reading for more grocery shopping tips for a plant-based diet.
- Read the labels: You may think you know, but sometimes it's hard to decipher what's what when it comes to nutrition facts. If you're trying to steer clear of animal products completely, then a little research is necessary. There are plenty of sneaky foods with animal ingredients that you'd never expect.
- Buy the right staples: Having healthful pantry staples on hand will make your busy life loads easier. Cooking at home is always better bet than grabbing takeout, but when the cupboard is bare, it can be too easy to dial for comfort. Always having healthy nonperishables in the house will keep you on track.
- Don't rush: Hitting up the grocery store when you're pressed for time is never a good idea — for your sanity or for your wallet. You'll be far more easily swayed by pretty packaging and impulse buys. If you're kicking off a plant-based diet for the first time, then be sure to leave yourself at least an extra half-hour than you would have normally penciled in. This way you can linger over labels and do all the proper research.