Simple ways to eat more plant-based food this year

What intention did you set for 2021? If it involves eating better, can we suggest enjoying more plant-based meals in your diet? There are simple and fuss-free ways to do it sustainably and without any shock. Do I need to mention delicious? In fact, this is how we transitioned our diet three years ago.

There was no big moment, just small, everyday adjustments that you can also try if you are curious about adding more plant-based food to your table this year. Here are some easy recommendations that we hope you can try:

1. Make it accessible, not weird.

Would you agree that a fragrant bowl of fresh tomato pasta with herbs or crispy veg tempura is a great entry into the world of plant-based food?

It is so normal, and delicious. Sure, there are more out-there options to try, like seitan and nutritional yeast, but why not keep it simple and recognizable to start?

2. Get creative.

It is incredibly fun to rediscover fruits and vegetables and interpret them in creative ways. In The Philippines, banana hearts and blossoms are common, and they make fantastic burger patties. The texture is awesome. It eats so well, unlike the usual blended vegetable patty with hardly any bite.

Making simple cauliflower mac and cheese is another winner, as well as crispy and indulgent non-fish and chips. It is the same everyday ingredients but they can be so much more when we tap into our imagination and treat vegetables with the respect they deserve.

3. Elevate sad leftover ingredients.

There is always that one day of the week when our crisper contents are reduced to odds and ends: maybe a handful of mushrooms, stray broccoli florets, half a cabbage, two potatoes, and so on.

Are we sad? Of course not. These ingredients make awesome samosas, Korean vegetable pancakes or fast and fragrant curry.

Never throw your leftover veg away or slowly watch them shrivel and die quietly in the fridge. Again, intention, creativity, and imagination go a long way!

4. Drink the goodness.

Bright, tasty, and easy to make, smoothies are a welcome addition to any diet, vegetarian or not. It can be one fruit or a mix of fruit and vegetables and it will still be delicious. Really nice and express way to get more nutrition inside the body.

Alternatively, if you are lucky like us, there is no greater joy than enjoying fresh coconut juice on a sunny day! Laying by the beach not required but totally recommended.

If all else fails, tea saves the day. Always.

5. Just be curious.

People adopt a plant-based diet for many reasons. We do not have to agree on everything, but we do know that delicious is delicious. We just have to be open to try and be curious about what else is out there.

Variety and novelty are good things to add to this new year, no? Check your supermarket for plant-based options, see what the local farmer’s market offers, and find inspiration online to see the possibilities of good plant-based food. Enjoy!

54 thoughts on “Simple ways to eat more plant-based food this year

      1. Vietnamese restaurants especially Pho Bac which has many vegan options, Mid-Eastern restos that have falafel (Humus Elijah but we haven’ been there yet) such as Beni’s Falafel and Falafel Yo. Most restos that serve Filipino foods have vege dishes but we would single out Pipino Restaurant (Quezon City). Corner Tree Cafe at Jupiter St., Makati and Rockwell and Little India (Teacher’s Village, Diliman, Quezon City) are vegetarian restaurants which we’ve also tried.

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  1. Love these tips! People sometimes get super scared about “veganism” or being a vegetarian but pasta with tomato sauce is actually vegan so it’s not that big of a deal and you don’t need fancy ingredients at all! 😊
    I am trying to eat less meat this year and buy more local/seasonal products, and so far I found that it really made me discover new flavours and wasy of cooking, it is so interesting!
    Also , you’re so lucky to have coconut water available! When I went to Brazil we were basically only drinking that, I miss it so much! 😊 Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh, yes, fresh coconuts are amazing. It is nothing like what you get on cans in the supermarkets. Good on you for setting a healthier intention for your diet. Is it hard to do where you are from? I know in The Philippines you must cook for yourself it you are to have a plant-based diet. Haha! And I agree, there is a lot of stigma when it comes to diets in particular, but as long as we make a conscious choice and know what we want, we should be okay. It helps if we do not force it, too. It is more sustainable this way. Food is a pleasurable thing, so we should not be obsessing or forcing it, no?

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      1. I completely agree, we should all have a healthier relatinonship with food and I wish more people had it 😊 Where I live it is quite easy to get plant-based options even in restaurants or supermarkets but I think the best way is always to cook for yourself anyway, so you know exactly what is inside the dish 😊

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        1. Yes, hopefully mindful eating catches on. And lucky you for having everything accessible. But yes, cooking at home is the way to go. Easier on the budget, too. Just curious: Do you think the ready-made plant-based food like patties and so on are processed food or not?

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          1. Yes, I consider them as processed food but I think they are not as bad. I definitely have them some times because I’m too lazy to make my own (even though it’s super easy), but I’ve tried to avoid them lately as they usually come wrapped in a lot of packaging and they still contain chemicals and preservatives and such – but they definitely help to switch to a more plant-based diet 😊

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  2. You made me laugh. Tea saves the day, always. Thank goodness. She said with tea in hand. I love plant-based foods. Was a vegetarian/vegan for years. However, am under a doctor’s orders to eat meat these days and my body doesn’t fare well with grains. Sigh. How I loved those plant-based meals. And will still sneak them in whenever possible.

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    1. How is your body reacting to meat? I am always afraid of eating some by accident, for example in noodles or stir-fry that someone else cooked, and having the runs. That would not be fun. And yes, I think last week I met with a couple who ran a small organic tea business and I had an incredible time, just drinking tea and talking about tea. What is your everyday tea?

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  3. I think Indian food is a great way to step into non-meat options. I’ve gone non-meat several times but always end up eating carbs instead of more plants.
    How do you make a banana burger?

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    1. Oh yes, agree with you. Spices give veg so much character. It could be the same veg but they apear so different when spices are involved. And I understand, I know a couple of people that also had that experience. It helps when we get inspiration from others and just check out theor recipes or what they are eating. The burgers, the banana blossoms from the banana heart is used, so not really bananas the fruit. Have you seen banana hearts in your supermarkets?

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          1. I don’t know!! I only recall that it didn’t look anything like our flashy supermarkets!

            There’s a large Japanese community just W of me and I love their markets.. minus the redonk expensive “gift” fruit ($20 for 10 strawberries?!?). I’m not too far from “Little India”… ir would be cool to visit their supermarkets after the pandemic!

            Speaking of which, I rec’d an email that this year’s Color Festival is going to he virtual. I’m thinking of ordering color powders and organizing something with the neighborkid and her friends.

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  4. Those food photos have me drooling. *Yum* There is so much inspiration to be found online for fun vegetarian/vegan meals. Being a vegetarian I’ve always found it amusing when people complain that there isn’t much variety or fun food for vegetarians – because I absolutely love the food I make. The real taste in any dish comes from the seasoning – so I’d say play with the seasonings to make plant based dishes more exciting. And like you said be curious and be open to trying out new things. Great post!!

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    1. Thank you. Who are your favorite sources for veg food online? I enjoyed watching Jamie Oliver’s Meat-Free meals. I suppose you also highlighted one of the most important aspects of plant-based diet, or any diet at that, which is we must educate ourselves so it works out for us. Have you always been veg? For us, the learning curve was high, but that is okay.

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      1. Hi Micah, very little goes to waste in our house as we are a family of six because my parents also join us for meals and live in a cottage on our property. If we have excess that won’t get eaten, I package it up and we give it to beggars on the street. There are a lot at the best of times, and even more now with our unemployment up by 2.5 million people.

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  5. Thanks for these great suggestions. I would gladly be vegetarian but I think I might have mentioned before that my husband is a meat and potatoes guy (oh the struggle is real). I have definitely reduced the amount of meat I’m eating and loading up more on fruit and veggies.

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    1. Maybe you can have your own sides? I understand your situation. In my family, I am the only one with this diet, but they support me and are curious to try. Also, maybe you can try veg dishes for other meals, like snack or lunch. It is fun, especially when it inspires us to be more creative in the kitchen.

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        1. Yes, it is fun. Markus’ mother has been trying new veg dishes, too. I like the recipes from Jamie Oliver since they are approachable, but there are really tons out there. Indian, Turkish, and Israeli food also provide inspiration. I mean, the things they are able to do with veg are stunning.

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    1. Thank you. They are yum. I discovered them in 2017. I trained muay thai competitively and my Swede friend brought me to this one place in Boracay with a veg night. I was definitely a big meat eater then but I was curious to try. I must say my version of the burger is better but the principle came from that place. Do you also eat veg food?

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    1. Good luck! It can get really fun. I hope you find all the inspiration you need – online, from your markets, and just other people who are eating green. Let me know if you feel any difference following this diet.

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