One of the problems brought by lockdowns and stay-at-home measures is to follow a plant-based lifestyle. You may be one of the people who had no choice but to ditch your eating plans because of very limited food options or chances to do groceries.
Getting back to your vegan or vegetarian diet can be difficult during the mass isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19. But some states in the U.S. now consider reopening since new cases of coronavirus continue to decline.
As the country prepares to lift restrictions, you may also start planning your return to the vegan diet. Below are some tips from nutritionists to help resume your plant-based lifestyle and avoid potential problems during the transition.
Make A Simple Meal Plan
Grocery stores are expected to take time to return to normal operations after lockdowns. Supplies may also remain limited for a few more weeks.
A health expert suggests that you focus on commonly available products. Create a meal plan based on what you can get from stores and adjust slowly as supplies return to normal.
“Chances are you are out of a lot of staple vegan foods as these simply may have not been available in the grocery stores. Many popular vegan items that are hard to find right now are beans, quinoa, rice, seeds, nuts, and canned goods like tomato sauce and coconut milk,” registered dietitian Shena Jaramillo told The Beet. “Do a grocery run and focus on staples first. This can help get you motivated for future vegan meal prep.”
Take It Slowly
When returning to your plant-based diet, your body may not respond well if you change your meals drastically. For example, suddenly increasing your consumption of vegetables and fruits will give you extra fiber, which could cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
“I’d recommend starting with making one or two meals a day vegan until you’re back to a fully vegan lifestyle over a week or two,” Trista Best, a registered dietitian with Balance One, said.
Jaramillo suggested eating a simple vegan meal per day to adjust slowly. You can try a meatless plate or a plant-based smoothie each day for breakfast and observe how your body would respond.
Consider Your Micronutrient Intake
It is important to check the nutrients you need when returning to the vegan diet. People who follow plant-based diets are more likely to experience deficiencies in protein, B12, vitamin D, EPA, DHA, iron, zinc and calcium.
“Whether you are currently at risk for deficiency in certain nutrients or have been eating animal-based foods during quarantine, make sure you review your diet to make sure your post-quarantine diet will continue to give you all the proper nutrition that you need,” Amanda Kostro Miller, member of the advisory board for Fitter Living, said.
You can consult with a nutritionist or doctor to understand your nutrition needs.