Simplicity: The Key to Healthy, Plant-Based Eating—for Lifelong Health

Simplicity The key to healthy, plant-based eating for lifelong health

The key to healthy eating and living is consistency. So creating simple, healthy habits that can easily become a part of your lifestyle is essential.

Especially when you first start to make changes to your diet you can feel overwhelmed. It’s understandable that all that new information, and the changes you’ll need to make, can seem a bit too much.

So it’s important not to over-complicate things.

In fact, keeping things simple is often the best way to go, for the short-term as well as the long-term. The simpler, and easier the change feels, the more likely you are to sustain it.

While changes to your diet may still, from the outside, look extreme, in reality you’ll likely be simplifying both your diet and your life.

Because even though in today’s fast-paced, over-complicated world simplicity can seem foreign and unnecessarily restrictive, it usually has quite the opposite effect.

Simplifying your life can be very liberating, freeing up time and energy for you to focus on other things.

So how does this apply to healthy eating?

While there are many potential benefits of simple, plant-based eating, here we’ll cover a few of the most important aspects along with a few changes you can make to simplify your diet.

Simplicity: The Key to Healthy, Plant-Based Eating—for Lifelong Health

1) Whole

First, we’ll begin with what comprises a simple, healthy, plant-based diet. And that’s where whole plant foods come in.

The easiest way to improve the nutritional content of the foods you eat is to take them down to their simplest form—whole plant foods. Eating them as close to how they are found in nature as possible.

This will mean centring your diet around foods like sweet potatoes, lettuce, bananas, apples, whole grain rice, quinoa, squash, and beans. And you’ll need to limit foods such as breads, pastas, and other prepared foods.

Not only are whole foods more nutrient-dense, but they’re richer in fibre and water, making them easier to digest as well. Plus, whole plant foods are less calorically-dense, so they make attaining and maintaining a healthy weight easier.

Whole plant foods are also more filling, which is important when you’re looking to simplify your diet.

2) Satiating

In order to simplify your diet, in a way that you can sustain, satiation should be a primary focus. If you’re not satisfied after your meals, you’ll likely eat more than you really need and go searching for other foods to satisfy your cravings.

Thus, when deciding which foods will comprise the majority of your diet, make sure to choose foods and meals that leave you feeling content, with enough calories, nutrients, water content, and fibre to keep you going until your next meal.

Whole plant foods can help do just that.

A salad and a bowl of whole grains with vegetables and beans, is going to leave you far more satisfied, and for a lot longer, than a bowl of pasta with a salty sauce.

Even if the bowl of pasta has more calories, it lacks the fibre, water, and nutrient-content of the first meal—all of which are important contributors to that “full” feeling. Plus, that salt’s going to leave you wanting more, even if you’ve actually eaten all the calories you need.

So, when creating healthy eating habits, simplify your diet by choosing whole plant foods, preparing them as simply as possible, and going light on the salt. Or skip it altogether.

Compared to their more refined counter-parts, whole plant foods will provide you with a more satisfying and sustainable way of eating that could last you a lifetime.

Simplicity: The Key to Healthy, Plant-Based Eating—for Lifelong Health

3) Efficient meal prep

Another benefit of whole plant foods and eating simply is how much more efficient food preparation can be.

Eating whole foods means you’ll spend less time in the grocery store reading through ingredients, trying to make healthy choices. And, when you eat simpler meals you can also minimise the amount of time you need to spend washing, cutting, and preparing your foods, which can save you time and energy.

You can simplify your meals in various ways such as: using fewer ingredients, making simpler sauces, changing the cooking or preparation method, or eating similar meals multiple days in a row. Maybe a bit of all of them will help make your life easier.

Regardless, simplifying what you eat and how you prepare it can make meal times feel less odious.

And that’s always a good thing. Because the last thing you need at the end of the day is to stress out about dinner.

Even if you just have back-up simple meals that are your go-to on those busy days when you just don’t have the time or energy for anything more, they can be a big help.

There’s nothing wrong with having a simple dinner of boiled sweet potatoes and a side of steamed veggies or a plate of warmed-up leftovers from the night before. Your evening meal doesn’t need to look fancy every night.

Just keep it simple, that’s the trick.

Simplicity: The Key to Healthy, Plant-Based Eating—for Lifelong Health

4) Less thought and energy required

Anytime you can simplify the decisions you have to make around food, it can make your life a lot easier.

You only have so much mental energy to expend each day, and you don’t want to use it all up fretting over what to eat.

Plus, at the end of a long day, you’ve already used a lot of energy up, so you definitely want to simplify the dinner process, to ensure you make healthy choices.

Having simple go-to meals that don’t require much work to prepare will keep you eating healthy and free your mind up to spend time thinking about other things—and not worrying about food.

Further, planning your meals, snacks, and grocery shopping trips can also really help. Knowing the ingredients of your favourite simple meals, and always having a supply of them on hand, will ensure you’re prepared and in the habit of making healthy choices.

And keeping your food choices simple and planning your meals in advance can help you to make healthy food choices without it feeling like a chore. In fact, the fewer decisions you have to make about food on a daily basis, the better.

If you’re interested in the psychological aspect behind the food choices we make, you’ll want to learn more from Dr. Doug Lisle, including reading The Pleasure Trap by Douglas J. Lisle, PhD and Alan Goldhamer, D.C.

It can always help to know more about why we choose to put certain foods on our plate over others, as well as how to more effectively change those behaviours.

Because creating healthy eating habits, by making healthy food choices on a daily basis, is one of the essential foundations to living a healthy life long-term.

Simplicity: The Key to Healthy, Plant-Based Eating—for Lifelong Health

5) Consistency

When beginning a healthy, plant-based lifestyle, forming healthy eating habits is where you’ll want to start. Since creating a solid foundation of regularly making healthy food choices will make it easier to be consistent with it.

Consistency is the key to a healthy lifestyle—and especially to healthy plant-based eating.

Because the more whole plant foods you eat, the more you’ll want to eat them. And the less you’ll want other, less healthy foods.

For that matter, the more consistently you make healthy choices, the less likely you are to even consider unhealthy options. They just won’t seem like “food” any more. Not real food, anyway.

Particularly, when you’re first starting out, simplifying your food choices and creating a routine will lead you to form healthy eating habits—and help you to be consistent with it.

Planning your weekly meals; keeping them simple; and always having enough healthy, whole plant food options on-hand will help you to create an environment of healthy eating—and a lifestyle that you can sustain long-term.

The simpler that routine is, the easier it will be to repeat, week after week—which is the best way to ensure you stick with it.

Conclusion

The more you can simplify your diet, and the choices you make about food each day, the easier it will be to make healthy eating a part of your lifestyle.

In particular, focusing on whole plant foods will provide you with the nutrition you need and give you a way to create simpler, healthy meals.

Additionally, eating whole plant foods will ensure your meals are more satiating, so you’ll be less likely to stray from the path and seek out unhealthy options.

And the more you simplify your meals and the process it requires to make them, the less involved and time-consuming your food prep will be. Thus, through a simpler approach to your food and meals, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on other things.

Further, by planning in advance, you won’t need to be making decisions about what to eat when you’re already tired after a busy day or week. And it will help you get used to making sure you have healthy options available.

Once you develop a routine of making healthy eating choices that works for you, those habits will set you up for a lifetime of healthy, plant-based eating.

The simpler you make it feel, the more of a habit making healthy choices will become, and the easier it will be to stick with healthy, plant-based eating—for the long haul. It really is all about simplicity.

Related: How to Eat to Lose Weight on a Plant-Based Diet. And Keep It Off.

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