9 Steps to Switch to a Plant-based Diet - Expert Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Transition

9 Steps to Switch to a Plant-based Diet - Expert Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Transition

Are you tired of feeling sluggish, weighed down, and unhealthy? Do you want to change toward a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle? Switching to a plant-based diet might be the answer for you.

But making such a big transition can seem daunting at first. Don't worry - with expert tips and tricks, we can guide you through the process and help make it a smooth and successful transition.

This article will provide you with steps toward switching to a plant-based diet. We'll outline the benefits of this lifestyle choice, help assess your current diet, set realistic goals, stock your kitchen with delicious plant-based options, offer advice on staying motivated and handling setbacks, and ensure you maintain a balanced diet.

Making the switch to plant-based eating is better for your health. It has positive impacts on the environment and animal welfare. So let's start this journey toward feeling great inside and out!

Key Takeaways

  • Incorporate more plant-based foods into your current diet
  • Avoid ultra-processed foods and read labels carefully
  • Set achievable goals and plan meals ahead of time
  • Educate yourself on the benefits of a plant-based diet
  • Stay motivated by connecting with like-minded individuals

Why Go Plant-Based?

There are several reasons to adopt a plant-based diet - healthy, environment and ethics. From a health perspective, plant-based diets have been associated with a lower risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high BP, cardiovascular diseases and many others. Plant-based diets are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Fruits, vegetables, pluses, whole grains, spices, nuts are all foods are health promoting and encouraged as a part of a healthy and balanced diet.

A plant-based diet includes mainly plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It excludes animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. A wealth of substantiates the numerous health benefits of this shift toward a plant-based diet.

Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases

Firstly, a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. According to the American Heart Association, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle have lower rates of hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol levels, and obesity than those who consume animal products regularly. Additionally, consuming more fruits and vegetables provides essential vitamins and minerals vital for optimal health.

Nutrient-Dense Healthy Diet

Secondly, switching to plant-based alternatives can help you meet your nutritional requirements whilst maintaining a healthy diet. Plant-based proteins like lentils or chickpeas contain fiber which helps with digestion and satiety. Nuts provide healthy fats which support brain function, whereas leafy greens provide iron that is easily absorbed by the body as well as calcium for strong bones.

Benefits the Environment

Adopting a plant-based diet has a crucial positive impact on our environment. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, exacerbating climate change, as it necessitates extensive land use, often resulting in deforestation—an alarming issue given the current global visibility of climate change effects.

On the other hand, plant-based diets require less land, allowing for more efficient utilization of agricultural land and potentially diminishing the necessity of encroaching upon ecologically sensitive areas.

Going plant-based may seem daunting at first, but with time it becomes easier plus, endless recipe options are available online nowadays, making meals even more exciting!

Benefits of Plant-Based Eating

You may be surprised to learn that embracing a plant-based lifestyle can benefit your overall health and well-being. Plant-based eating has been linked to lower risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and obesity.

Studies have found that vegans tend to have lower BMIs (body mass index) than vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Also, they are at a decreased risk of developing chronic diseases.

Plant-based food contains essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Incorporating more plant-based nutrition into your diet increases your intake of these vital nutrients necessary for maintaining good health.

Moreover, plant-based substitutes such as tofu or tempeh provide an excellent source of protein while being low in saturated fat compared to animal protein sources.

In addition to the physical benefits mentioned above, plant-based eating has been shown to improve mental health by reducing depressive symptoms and increasing feelings of well-being.

Furthermore, studies have shown that following a vegetarian diet can improve digestion and gut microbiota diversity which is essential for overall immune system function.

The benefits of switching to a plant-based diet are numerous, making it worth considering if you want to improve your overall health and well-being.

Step 1: Assessing Your Current Diet

Relying Heavily on Animal Products

First, look at what you're eating and identify areas where you could make some changes. You may be relying too heavily on animal products like meat and dairy, which can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.

What can you do instead?

Instead, try incorporating more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds into your diet. You can look at switching to plant-based meat alternatives and use it as a transition food to move towards a fully whole food plant based diet. Use mushrooms, jackfruit, yam and other veg options that come close to that texture of meat in some dishes but are far healthier for you.

High Consumption of Processed Food

Another area to assess is processed food consumption. Research shows that ultra-processed foods comprise a significant portion of the typical Urban Indian diet, contributing to various health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

What can you do instead?

Try swapping out processed snacks for whole food alternatives oil-free baked snacks, sugar-free sweets, maida-free cakes and vegan cookies. This way you can enjoy everything from potato crisps and laddu to chocolate cakes and kodubale without compromising on your health. Read labels carefully when grocery shopping to avoid high levels of added sugars or unhealthy fats in packaged foods.

Dairy Consumption

Just like any other animal product, Dairy consumption an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer, as well as digestive issues and lactose intolerance in individuals who are unable to properly digest lactose.

What can you do instead?

Consider switching from traditional dairy options to plant-based milk and other plant-based products for the following reasons:

  1. Transitioning from animal products to plant-based products is often easier for many individuals compared to completely eliminating animal products without replacement.
  2. Plant-based milk options like almond or soy milk are packed with nutrients and fiber giving your body the goodness of health and delicious taste.
  3. Numerous plant-based products closely resemble the taste and texture of animal-based counterparts, allowing you to enjoy flavorful and satisfying meals without compromising on your preferences.

Bottom line, evaluating your current diet and considering a switch to a whole food plant-based diet can be a transformative step towards improved health and well-being.

Step 2: Setting Realistic Goals

Now it's time to set achievable goals for yourself as you incorporate more plant-based foods into your meals. It's important to remember that every small change counts, and setting realistic goals will help you stick to your new dietary habits in the long run.

  1. Start by assessing the types of foods you currently eat and identify areas where you can easily substitute animal products with plant-based alternatives. For example, if you usually have eggs for breakfast, try swapping them out with a tofu scramble or oatmeal topped with nuts and fruit.
  2. When setting your goals, consider the amount of dairy products and meat substitutes you consume daily. Aim to gradually reduce these amounts over time until they are entirely eliminated from your diet.
  3. This slow transition will make it easier for you and allow your taste buds and body to adjust accordingly. Studies show that vegan diets rich in plant-based nutrition may lower risks of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
  4. It's essential to consult with health care practitioners before making any drastic changes in your diet so that they can monitor any potential nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.

Whether you're looking to potentially reverse a lifestyle disease of prevent it, you can benefit from a healthy lifestye. Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar for personalised guidance.

Keep an open mind when trying new plant-based meat substitutes such as tempeh or seitan, which are high in protein and iron. Simultaneously, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and take the necessary time to familiarise yourself with the concept of a plant-based diet.

Have you had a chance to explore the Plant-based Nutrition courses available on NutritionScience.in? You can join our health transformation challenges, learn plant-based cooking, baking and more from anywhere in the world.

Remember, transitioning to a plant-based diet is not about perfection but progressing towards a healthier lifestyle- setting realistic goals is crucial!

Step 3: Stocking Your Kitchen

Simply stocking your kitchen with an array of plant-based foods can make meal prep a breeze. Plant foods are rich in essential amino acids, fiber, and healthy fats, making them a great addition to any diet.

Here are some valuable suggestions to help you stock your kitchen with plant-based ingredients:

  1. To ensure you have all the nutrients you need on a plant-based diet, include fruits, vegetables, plenty of beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, and whole grains such as millets or brown rice.

  2. Replace cooking oils, butter, and ghee with healthier whole food plant-based sources like nut butters.

  3. Some plant-based meat alternatives can be high in sodium and processed ingredients. Incorporate them into your diet in limited amounts if desired. Use it as a transition food and move towards a whole food plant based diet. Also, you could replace your conventional sodium source with miso paste, a healthier salt alternative.

  4. Make small changes like swapping out meat for tofu in your favorite dishes or using nut milk instead of cow's milk in smoothies or coffee drinks.

  5. There are plenty of delicious recipes available online, and you can easily find vegan alternatives to most foods like nut butters and nut milks instead of dairy products, nutritional yeast instead of cheese, and powdered flax seeds instead of eggs.

These simple adjustments can make transitioning to a more plant-based diet satisfying and sustainable.

For a wealth of additional tips and insights, explore Sampoorna Ahara's list of daily essentials and Dr. Michael Greger's Daily Dozen Checklist. These resources are packed with valuable information to further enhance your journey towards a healthier whole food plant-based lifestyle.

Keeping these staples on hand in your pantry or refrigerator can whip up healthy meals in no time. And remember, planning ahead is vital!

Step 4: Meal Planning and Prep

Planning and prepping meals can be a game-changer in sticking to a plant-based eating plan, as it helps you stay organized and saves time during busy weekdays. Meal planning allows you to incorporate more plant foods into your diet, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber essential for optimal health.

To get started on your meal-planning journey, here are three tips:

  1. Make a grocery list of plant-based substitutes.
  2. Plan your meals ahead of time.
  3. Incorporate enough protein-rich plants

1. Make a grocery list of plant-based substitutes

Before heading out to the grocery store, have a list of all the plant-based substitutes you'll need for the week. This includes dairy alternatives such as almond milk or tofu instead of dairy milk or cheese and plant-based meat alternatives like tempeh instead of products with animal-derived ingredients. Also, include healthy fats like avocados, chickpeas and nuts and nut butters. Also, explore and stock up on a wide variety of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

2. Plan your meals ahead of time

Planning out what you're going to eat each day will help ensure that you're getting all the necessary nutrients from different types of plants while also preventing food waste.


Start by deciding on breakfast options, replace refined grains with whole grains, add fruits, or vegetables, include some healthy fat such as nut butter. You could also opt for Sampoorna Ahara's wholesome nutrient-dense Breakfast Jars or our delicious granola.


Start your lunch with fruits, consider including brown rice instead of white rice, add a salad made with leafy greens topped with roasted veggies, increase the quantity of dals in your sambar or dal, you can also incorporate beans/tofu/tempeh/chickpeas, hummus. Eat greens with every meal - you can add chutneys, baked vadas with greens for variety


For dinner, plan some easy recipes such as adai, ridge gourd chutney, sambar, dal, jowar roti, etc.


For snacks you could have raw veggies with hummus or guacamole, air-popped popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast for added protein and fiber, or roasted chickpeas seasoned with spices for an easy homemade crunchy snack.

If you love Indian snacks, you can also check out oil-free whole food plant-based delicious sweets and snacks available at Sampoorna Ahara.

3. Incorporate enough protein-rich plants

One common misconception about transitioning to a plant-based diet is not getting enough protein. However, plant foods contain all essential amino acids, which can be easily incorporated into meals with planning.

Include protein-rich plants like beans/legumes (chickpeas/lentils/black beans), tofu/tempeh, and quinoa/buckwheat/millet in your meal plans to ensure you're getting enough protein daily.

By implementing these tips, meal planning and prep will become easier and more efficient as you transition to a plant-based diet. Remember that it takes time to adjust, and be patient with yourself while making this change.

Step 5: Exploring New Foods and Recipes

You can expand your taste buds and discover new flavors by exploring a variety of plant-based foods and recipes.

  1. Transitioning to a plant-based means that you are opening doors to exploring 1000's of new ingredients be it fruits and veggies or nut and seeds. There's a whole world of textures and flavours waiting for you.
  2. Instead of drinking one type of milk - dairy milk, you now get to incorporate several - peanut milk, almond milk, til milk, cashew milk, coconut milk and more. Each one has it's own unique flavour too!
  3. When you start adding more plant foods to your diet, you're giving yourself the option to eat many vegetables that weren't in your radar previously. Ridge gourd, ash gourd, brinjal, colocasia, yam, turnip, knol khola, the list is endless.
  4. Eating fruit at the start of every meal means that you get explore more fruits - passion fruit, sapota, guava, papaya, pineapple, starwberries, kiwi and more can become staple ingredients for you.
  5. Eating more plant-based allows you to experiment with several different types of greens, whole grains, pulses, spices, legumes and lentils among others

At Sampoorna Ahara, we have this free Plant-based Kickstart course for 200+ whole food, plant based diet recipes that could aid well in your transition to a whole food plant-based diet.

Not sure how to cook healthy plant-based meals? We've got your covered, with plant-based online cooking workshops on NutritionScience.in. You can join from anywhere in the world.

Incorporating these foods into your meals can help improve overall health while adding delicious flavor profiles to your dishes. So, go ahead and experiment with different ingredients - you may surprise yourself with how much you enjoy them!

Step 6: Eating Out and Social Events

When dining out or attending social events, it can be challenging to find plant-based options that meet your dietary needs and preferences, but did you know in a recent report released by Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and Datassential , have found that the plant-based alternatives have increased by 62% in the last 10 years.

This means that there are more options than ever before for those who follow a plant-based diet.

Here are some tips to help you with eating out and in social events:

  1. Research menus ahead of time or call the restaurant for vegan options

    A great tip is to research menus ahead of time or call the restaurant to inquire about their vegan options. Many restaurants are happy to accommodate special requests and may even offer suggestions for modifications.

  2. Look for ethnic cuisines that offer plant-based dishes
    Another helpful strategy is to look for ethnic cuisine that typically includes plant-based dishes such as Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Ethiopian. These cuisines often use beans, lentils, vegetables, and grains as their main ingredients.
  3. Ask for dressings on the side and request substitutions in salads and entrees
    When ordering salads or entrees at restaurants, ask for dressings on the side and request substitutions such as avocado or extra veggies instead of meat or cheese.
  4. Communicate your dietary needs with your server
    It's also important to communicate your dietary needs with your server so they can ensure your meal is prepared without animal products.
  5. Bring your own snacks or meals to events without plant-based options
    Consider bringing your own snacks or meals when attending social events where food may not be provided. Pack portable snacks like nuts, fruit, hummus with veggies, or energy bars in case you find yourself hungry without any plant-based options available.
  6. Bring a plant-based dish to share at potlucks or parties
    If you're going to a potluck or party where everyone brings a dish to share, make sure to bring something delicious and satisfying that meets your dietary needs so you don't feel left out.

Remember that transitioning to a plant-based diet should not limit your social life - with a little planning ahead of time and communication with others, you can still enjoy eating out and attending events while maintaining your healthy lifestyle choices.

Step 7: Staying Motivated

So, you've been doing great with eating plant-based while out and about, but now the challenge is staying motivated to stick with it long-term. Don't worry. This is a common struggle many people face when transitioning to a new way of eating.

  1. One helpful tip is to stay connected with other like-minded individuals who are also on a plant-based journey. There are plenty of online communities and social media groups where you can find support, encouragement, and inspiration from others who share your goals and values.
  2. Another way to stay motivated is to keep learning about the benefits of a plant-based diet. Read books, watch documentaries, attend seminars or webinars, or listen to podcasts that discuss the positive impact that this lifestyle can have on your health, the environment, and animal welfare.

Educating yourself will help reinforce your commitment to making this change in your life.

The NutritionScience.in Plant-based Diet Masterclass is a great resource when you're getting started with a Plant Based Diet. It helps answer all your doubts and give you support through your journey.

Step 8: Handling Setbacks

Dealing with setbacks can be frustrating and disheartening. Still, it's important to remember that slip-ups are a normal part of any lifestyle change. It's easy to feel like you've failed when you succumb to old habits, but the key is not to let one setback derail your progress entirely. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience.

One effective way to handle setbacks is by identifying what triggered the slip-up in the first place. Was it a specific food craving? A stressful situation? Once you've pinpointed the trigger, devise a plan for how you'll handle similar situations in the future.

For example, if stress is causing you to turn back to comfort foods, find alternative ways to manage your stress, such as exercise or meditation.

Another helpful tip is surrounding yourself with support. Joining online communities or finding a supportive friend who follows a plant-based lifestyle can provide accountability and encouragement during difficult times.

Remember that setbacks are temporary and don't define your progress toward a healthier lifestyle.

With patience and perseverance, you can successfully transition into a plant-based diet and enjoy all its benefits for years to come.

Step 9: Maintaining a Balanced Diet

Maintaining a healthy plant-powered lifestyle requires a delicate balancing act, much like walking a tightrope with precision and grace. It's important to ensure that you're getting all the necessary nutrients your body needs in order to function properly.

Here are three things you can do to maintain a balanced diet on a plant-based lifestyle:

  1. Eat a variety of whole foods: Incorporating different types of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds into your meals will ensure that you're getting all the essential vitamins and minerals your body requires.

  2. Monitor your protein intake: Protein is an important macronutrient that plays many roles in the body, including building and repairing tissues. Plant-based sources of protein include beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, etc.

  3. Supplements: While it is possible to get all the necessary nutrients from a plant-based diet alone, certain supplements may be beneficial for some people. Vitamin B12 is one nutrient that is not found naturally in plants, so it may be necessary to supplement if you are not able to get enough through fortified foods or nutritional yeast. We have our B12 fortified Flaxseed laddu and spiced flaxseed crackers for you to get your vitamin B12 the delicious way!

It's also important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. Pay attention to any changes in energy levels or digestion and adjust accordingly. With time and practice, maintaining a balanced diet on a plant-based lifestyle will become second nature.

Check out the free Plant-based Kickstart by NutritionScience.in that gives you access to over 200 whole food, plant-based diet recipes. These recipes can be really helpful when you're switching to a healthy plant-based diet.

By the way, also make sure to start your Plant-based Diet Masterclass on NutritionScience.in that can guide you through the entire process of transitioning to a plant-based diet. It covers everything you need to know and provides ongoing support to clear any doubts you may have along the way.

Sustainability and Ethics

You've learned about the importance of maintaining a balanced diet as you transition to a plant-based lifestyle. Now, let's talk about sustainability and ethics. These two aspects are integral to the plant-based movement.

Good for the Environment

Eating plant-based is not just good for your health, it's also better for the environment. Animal agriculture produces high amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to deforestation, water pollution, and land degradation.

By choosing to eat plants instead of animal products, you're reducing your carbon footprint and helping to preserve our planet for future generations.

Animal Welfare

In addition, many people choose a plant-based lifestyle because they care about animal welfare. The meat industry is notorious for its cruel treatment of animals in factory farms.

By opting for plant-based foods, you're making a statement against this unethical practice and showing that you value all living beings.

Remember that every meal is an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world around us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still consume animal products occasionally while transitioning to a plant-based diet?

Yes, you can consume animal products occasionally while transitioning to a plant-based diet. However, it's essential to limit your intake and gradually increase the consumption of plant-based foods for optimal health benefits and a smoother transition.

Will transitioning to a plant-based diet cause me to lose weight?

Transitioning to a plant-based diet may lead to weight loss, but it depends on your food choices. Plant-based diets can be nutrient-dense and low in calories, making them effective for weight loss if combined with exercise and healthy habits.

How can I ensure that I am getting enough protein on a plant-based diet?

Did you know that plant-based diets can provide all the protein your body needs? Incorporate nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains into your meals for a balanced intake. Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar to learn all about your dietary and nutritional needs for a healthy life.

Are there any supplements I should take while transitioning to a plant-based diet?

As you transition to a plant-based diet, it's important to ensure you're getting all the necessary nutrients. Consider taking supplements for B12 and Vitamin D. Our B12 fortified Flaxseed laddu and spiced flaxseed crackers got you covered. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalised recommendations.

How can I address the social pressure and criticism I may face while transitioning to a plant-based diet?

Dealing with social pressure while transitioning to a plant-based diet can be tough. Remember your reasons for switching and educate others about the benefits. Seek support from like-minded individuals and don't let criticism discourage you.


Congratulations on taking the first step towards a plant-based diet! By making this transition, you are not only benefiting your own health but also contributing towards a more sustainable and ethical food system.

Remember to assess your current diet, set realistic goals, stock up on plant-based foods, stay motivated, and handle setbacks along the way.

Did you know that according to a report by The Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems, shifting towards plant-based diets could prevent 11 million premature deaths each year?

This statistic highlights the importance of choosing plant-based options for not only our personal health but also for the health of our planet.

By incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into our diets and reducing our consumption of animal products, we can positively impact both ourselves and the world around us.

Making the switch to a plant-based diet can seem daunting at first but with these expert tips and tricks at your disposal, you are well-equipped for success.

Remember to maintain a balanced diet and focus on sustainability and ethics in your food choices. Good luck!

Next Steps

Congratulations! Now, you have empowered yourself with the knowledge of how to transition to a plant-based diet. Here are additional tools to help you implement this practically

  1. Book an online consultation with Dr. Achyuthan Eswar for a personalized medical consultation to prevent, treat and better manage lifestyle diseases through diet and lifestyle
  2. Learn to cook delicious whole food plant based goodies and sign up for courses on health and wellness from the comfort of you home. Join our online courses from anywhere in the world
  3. Get daily essentials to cook healthy meals at home
  4. Stock up on delicious sweets and snacks that are sugar/jaggery-free, oil-free, maida-free and plant-based - Available Pan-India

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