From throwing together a plant-based pizza to experimenting with new flavors, here are seven essential tips for new and aspiring vegans. 

Are you curious about plant-based foods but don’t know where to start? Are you ready to try new flavors while still savoring your comfort classics? 

The good news is that choosing plant-based foods can be simple, convenient, and tasty!. 

If you’re new to plant-based eating or looking to experiment with wholesome options, here are our top seven tips to get started: 

1. Stick to foods you know and love. 

If your diet consists of spaghetti, pizza, and cheeseburgers, you’re not alone. As it turns out, all your favorite foods can be veganized! Pick up a Beyond Burger and some Trader Joe’s plant-based cheese, and whip up some cheeseburgers on a Saturday afternoon. Or, if you’re looking for whole food options, whip up some bean chili, create your own cashew mac and cheese, or craft a chickpea “tuna” salad with tahini and maple syrup. 

2. Slowly introduce new flavors. 

If you’ve never experimented with global cuisine, look no further than plant-based foods. Many traditional staples from around the world are simple, budget-friendly, and accessible. Chickpeas act as a base for creamy, garlic hummus, while lentils can be used for rich, decadent Indian curries. Even a humble block of tofu can soak up all the flavor of your favorite Chinese sauce, while a simple can of black beans can be used for Latin American dishes. 

3. Choose well-rounded meals. 

Hitting your daily intake of vitamins, minerals, and calories is important for meat-eaters and plant-based eaters alike. Opting for a wide range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins can help you reach your health goals. To pack a nutritional punch, try creating your own bowl with grains, veggies, beans, seeds, and a tahini dressing. Or, add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to your meal for a boost of B vitamins. 

Of course, if you’re ever unsure whether you’re getting all the necessary nutrients, consult with a doctor. That way, you can rest assured that you’re giving your body the care and attention it needs. 

4. Don’t stress over perfection. 

Did you pick up a snack at the grocery store, only to find out later that it has those pesky, hidden milk products inside? Did you order an oat milk latte, only to find out later that the barista gave you dairy? Accidents are a normal part of the plant-based transition…so give yourself grace! 

Rather than stressing about the past, simply focus on enjoying your next plant-based meal. Defending animals, the planet, and your health is about consistency, not instant perfection. 

5. Know your “why.”

Are you on a mission to end extreme animal cruelty in the factory farming industry? Are you working toward a healthier lifestyle with wholesome foods after reading studies about plant-based eating? Do you want to protect the planet from the devastating effects of factory farming? Or are you looking to expand your horizons after repeatedly eating the same animal products? 

Regardless of what brought you here, keep your “why” in mind every time you head to the grocery store or sit down to eat. Better yet, share your “why” with friends and family when they ask about your plant-based journey!

6. Sharpen your cooking skills. 

One of the most pleasant side effects of plant-based living is expanding your cooking skills. Gone are the days of grilling meat for every meal or scrambling eggs for every breakfast. While you can still grill a Beyond sausage link or use Just Egg on Saturday morning, the plant-based world has so much more to offer. 

With a quick Google search, you can learn how to make your own plant-based cheese with cashews and a blender…and it’s easier than you think. Or, learn how to bake your favorite cupcakes with applesauce as an egg replacer. As you go, you’ll acquire a vast set of cooking techniques to pull from for your next meal. 

7. Master reading grocery store labels. 

Searching for those pesky, hidden milk products in your favorite grocery store snacks is a must-have skill for any new plant-based eater. Fortunately, it’s easy to learn! Some brands label their products as “vegan,” while others require a closer look. 

Allergen lists are required to show milk and eggs, but you can also look for red flags on the ingredient list. These might include whey, casein, lactose, and gelatin, which are derived from animal products. Once you’ve checked the ingredients and the coast is clear, throw it in the cart and enjoy!

Pro Tip: If you’ve ever seen ingredient lists that say “may contain milk” or “may contain eggs,” don’t worry–-they’re still plant-based. Because animal products and plant-based foods are often processed in the same facilities, manufacturers add these disclaimers for people with severe allergies. If that doesn’t describe you, they’re fair game!

8. Get social. 

woman looking at phone

Social media can be a powerful tool for discovering your plant-based community. Follow your favorite vegan developers, celebrities, and athletes on Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s a convenient place to get connected, share ideas, and learn about plant-based topics that matter to you. 

9. Enjoy the process. 

Now is the opportunity for your creativity to run wild! Discover new and affordable seasonings, cook a recipe with an ingredient you’ve never tried, or test out dairy alternatives until you find the perfect one for your coffee. If you’re looking to shake things up, you can even personalize a recipe for your own tastes and tweak it a bit each time. Life is too short to play it safe in the kitchen; get out there and enjoy endless combinations of plants!

10. Become inspired. 

Why not send inspiration directly to your inbox? Sign up for Love Veg emails to get beginner-friendly tips and tricks at your fingertips. You’ll find free recipes, discover the hidden benefits of eating plant-based, and even learn how to shop plant-based on a budget. 

You can even download our free eBook, complete with sixteen of our favorite recipes. Each meal presents an opportunity to savor new tastes, cultivate your culinary skills, and make a positive impact for animals, your health, and the planet. 

Want more FREE plant-based recipes and tips? Join our Love Veg community! By signing up, you’ll receive your free e-cookbook, access to weekly tips and more.

It’s time to embrace the plant-based journey with an open mind, relish in the discovery of diverse, plant-based foods, and revel in the joy of crafting meals that align with your values. Someday, you’ll look back with pride and thank yourself for embarking on this journey.