It’s so tempting to stock the fridge with the best, brightest, freshest produce you can find.

There are so many amazing and delicious vegan meals just begging to be made and eaten. And being organized – having the right foods on hand and ready to go – is like 80% of the battle.

But, it’s easy to get carried away. It’s easy to overestimate how much you can make and eat. And it’s easy to forget just how short the shelf-life of organic produce is.

More than once I’ve come home with bags full of greens and herbs, different types of mushrooms and peppers, bananas and fruits, all the things happy, healthy vegans eat. Only to watch them wilt and go to waste because I wasn’t organized (or motivated) enough to use them up.

Also, more than once, I’ve opened the fridge and just felt totally overwhelmed that despite the proliferation of vegetables in the fridge there’s “nothing to eat”.

Now, an enlightened and seasoned vegan, may go through bushels of vegetables each week and get downright giddy at the sight of a fridge brimming with veg, but I’m not there yet. And maybe never will be. And if you’re anything like me, these tips may help:

  1. Shop Often & From A List
  2. Choose the recipes you’re going to make, the snacks you’re going to eat, and make a list of the items you’ll need before you go shopping. Be realistic about how many of the recipes you will actually make and when you’ll make them.

    If you’re not planning to make the zucchini lasagna till next Saturday, then perhaps it’s best to wait and make a second run to the store Saturday morning.

    Smaller baskets, purchased more frequently will help to ensure you’ve got fresh ingredients and a solid plan for each meal.

  3. Break Down & Prepare Your Snacks Right Away
  4. Once you get your groceries home, I’m always most successful when I prep all my snacks right away. Cutting up fruit and vegetables, soaking nuts and seeds, washing and bagging the kale, etc. Not only does it keep the fridge organized, it means these items are ready to go when I need them.

  5. Don’t Try To Reinvent Your Eating Habits Overnight
  6. It’s tempting to think “now that I’m vegan, I’ll never snack between meals, I’ll only ever eat vegetables, heck, I think I’ll kick sugar all together”. These are noble goals, and if you can swing it than go for it. If you’re like me though, old habits die hard and not being prepared for these cravings may be what catches you up and gets you off course.

    If you know you crave sweets after dinner – be ready with some sweet vegan foods. Maybe kettle corn, banana bread, fruit, or some homemade granola bars.

    On the flip side, as you’re transitioning don’t think you need to stop eating all of the foods you used to enjoy. Don’t stop eating salad because your favourite salad dressing has eggs in it. Don’t start eating potato chips because potato chips are vegan. Look for ways to cut animal products from your favourite meals and introduce new, exciting vegan foods you’ve never tried before. Try to be honest and realistic about what you need to buy and the meals you intend to make.

Know that eating vegan it is indeed a transition. Go slow, be kind and patient. Stay organized and realistic. Keeping all of this in mind has helped me put one foot in front of the other, destination: happy, healthy life.