Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. Following a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your food from plant sources.
Whether you’re contemplating cutting down on meat consumption or completely eliminating it, the advantages are obvious: a decreased risk of illness and greater health and well-being. More precisely, consuming less meat reduces the risk of:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Diabetes type 2
- Many cancers
Meat is mostly high in cholesterol and saturated fat, both of which contribute significantly to poor cardiovascular health. Additionally, processed meats such as deli meat, bacon, and sausage can contain an excessive amount of salt. Lean meats, skinless poultry, and fish, on the other hand, maybe excellent sources of protein.
Foods to eat
You should focus on eating the following food groups when transitioning to a plant-based diet:
A plant-based diet includes all fruits, such as:
- citrus fruits
A healthy plant-based diet contains plenty of vegetables. It should include a variety of colourful vegetables to provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Examples include:
Root vegetables are a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins. They include:
- butternut squash
Legumes are an excellent source of fibre and plant-based protein. People can include a wide variety in their diet, including:
- kidney beans
- black beans
- edamame beans
Seeds are a great snack or an easy way to add extra nutrients into a salad, smoothie or on top of a soup.
Sesame seeds contain a calcium trusted source and sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E. Other healthy seeds include:
Nuts are a good source of plant-based protein and vitamins, such as selenium and vitamin E. Healthy nuts to include in your diet are:
Not all fats are bad! It is important to consume polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids (see our post about Good fats vs bad fats). Plant-based sources of healthy fats include:
- chia seeds
- hemp seeds
- olive oil
Whole grains are an excellent source of fibre and help maintain stable blood sugar. They also contain essential minerals, such as magnesium, copper, and selenium.
Examples of whole grains include:
- brown rice
- wholegrain bread
If you want to reduce your dairy intake, there’s a wide range of plant-based milk available in grocery stores and online. These include:
- almond milk
- macadamia milk
- soy milk
- coconut milk
- rice milk
- oat milk
- hemp milk
Just make sure to check the labels and choose unsweetened plant milk options – or make your own!
Whether you enjoy a fully plant-based diet or not, there are several advantages to eating more plant-based. A plant-based diet can help you lose weight and promote healthy, vibrant skin as well as overall health and wellness.
Did you know? BODYTEC members have access to a range of Lisa Raleigh’s eating plans at exclusive discounts, including a Plant-Based meal plan, allowing them to choose the most sustainable eating style for their bodies and goals. These plans are determined by each individual’s performance and preferences.