Thoughts from our founder, Nicole:

What a time we are in! With the virtual hangouts, feeding the family (not to mention managing various delivery orders), juggling home-school and Splendid Spoon work responsibilities, plus postpartum care and the needs of our week-old newborn…whew, busy has taken on a whole new meaning for me!

The few rituals that have remained consistent for me are what keep me grounded during this “new normal.” Meditation and dedicated no-screen family time are two of those rituals. Eating an 80/20 diet of mostly plant-based meals and snacks has also become a super important element for me to feel healthy and myself. My food rituals have carried me through lots of stressful times in the past 7 years — the birth of my first two children, the launch of Splendid Spoon, a divorce, multiple moves, and shifts in my team’s dynamic.

Here are my tips keeping that 80/20 balance. I hope it can help you on your path to strong immunity and sustaining health, and also a source of consistency to lean on through uncertain times.

1) Start where you are, but prioritize consistency.

If you’re new to 80/20 — or have fallen off your game (understandably) because you’re now in a new live-work environment — don’t fret. You don’t need to jump into 80/20 right away. Instead, allow yourself to start with just one plant-based meal or snack a day and aim to come back to that same habit every day.

It might be breakfast, or it might be your 4pm snack. Make it something you love (sipping a smoothie by the window or spooning half a grain bowl with your favorite hot sauce and a scoop of avocado) and aim to return to that time frame everyday. Humans thrive on routine, and this will help you create a healthy Pavlovian bell — when the clock strikes “lunch,” plant-based to the rescue.

2) Outsource plant-based.

Eating mostly 80/20 plant-based can feel pretty daunting if you don’t love (or have time) to cook. Juggling additional childcare responsibilities is especially difficult for me in this new shelter-in environment.

My tip: outsource to the pros. If you have a favorite healthy takeout option or other pre-made meal option that you love, stock up on it and make it part of your routine. Having the healthy meals as easy (or easier) than the more indulgent foods will make it a breeze to hit that 80/20 ratio. Of course, I’m biased, and Splendid Spoon is my go-to, but just focus on what you love. Sometimes it feels so good to just sit back and let someone else do the cooking for you!

3) Grocery Prep

In this time of shelter-in place, grocery-prep is the new meal prep. With our new dependency on delivery, I really have to think ahead about how I stock my kitchen (no more running to the store whenever I am out of apples!) Consolidate your grocery shopping or ordering to 1-2x a week so you can map out what you’ll be purchasing and eating for the days ahead. Aim for 80/20 on your list: for every 1 dairy or meat item, make sure you have 4 whole food, plant-based items. To learn more about how to make this 80/20 balance work, check out our guide to a "flexitarian" lifestyle.

BONUS: Nicole's favorite pasta sauce recipe

  1. Sauté until soft 1 small onion, 1 celery rib, and 3 garlic cloves (all diced), in a nice big puddle of olive oil.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and stir.
  3. Add 1/3 cup vodka or grappa and stir to evaporate the alcohol.
  4. Add 2 heaping teaspoons of salt with 1 can of whole tomatoes, smashing them to break them apart.
  5. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  6. Purée the mixture.
  7. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream or cashew cream and stir.
  8. Taste, salt as needed.
  9. Toss with pasta over the heat just before the pasta is al dente.
  10. Add freshly torn basil and a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy! Now that is what I call 80/20.

We're all in this together. Don't be hard on yourself - try to build new routines and save a little room for a treat every now and again.

Want some more stay-at-home tips and tricks? Check our our Splendid Stay At Home Guide or our Guide to Navigating and Organizing A Plant-Based Fridge. Questions? Send us an email at [email protected].