10 Easy Ways to Get Started on a Plant Based Diet
Have you ever wanted to start eating a plant based diet but did not know where to start to eat a new way and be successful? In this article you will learn more about plant based diets, what the benefits are for following them and easy ways to implement this dietary change in your own life!
Why eat a plant based diet?
There are a myriad of benefits to eating a plant based diet. We have heard time and time again “eat your fruits and vegetables!” This isn’t just something your mom told you to do, but health experts as well, and for good reason.
Did you know that some of the associated benefits of following a more plant based diet include:
1 A decreased risk of obesity1
2 A decreased risk of diabetes1
3 A decreased risk of certain cancers1
4 An improvement in health and well-being1.
In fact, a study completed in 2014 looked at the dietary patterns in Adventist’s, and showed that “Vegetarian diets are associated with lower all-cause mortality and with some reductions in cause-specific mortality.”2
What is a plant based diet?
So, now that we’ve learned about some of the benefits of a plant based diet let's answer another common question. What is a plant based diet anyway? A plant based diet is a diet that is primarily focused on obtaining the majority of foods that you eat from plant sources including; fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, oils and seeds, with a smaller portion of your diet coming from dairy and meat. For some people they even choose to omit all animal products from their diet and with that more strict choice ensure they eat complimentary protein sources within their plant based diet.
Is it hard to follow a plant based diet?
Does switching to a plant based diet seem daunting? Most people complain that including more fruits and vegetables takes more effort than seems possible. While this may be true at first, most people find that with a few small tweaks to their menu, a little research on new recipes, and planning ahead that a plant based diet can actually be quite fun to follow. It also tends to cost less. Meat is a relatively expensive source of protein, whereas plant protein, such as lentils or nuts is a much more affordable alternative, and healthier too! Meat does not contain fiber or antioxidants like plants do!
Here are 10 Easy Ways to Get Started on a Plant Based Diet:
1. Eat more vegetables! Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner
- Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night per week
- Choose whole grains at breakfast. Pick a high fiber cereal, oatmeal or bread that includes 5g or more of fiber per serving
- Choose fruit for dessert.
- Rethink how you serve up meat. Use meat sparingly, such as in a stir fry, aiming for smaller serving sizes at your meal. Think of meat as a garnish instead of the main course. *Typical serving size of meat is the size of a deck of cards.
- Experiment with legumes or lentils in soups or stews as a meat replacement.
- Give a veggie sandwich a try for lunch. Load it up with hummus, avocado, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers, and you won’t even miss the meat!
- Try tofu as a meat replacement.
- Search out vegetarian recipes online or purchase a vegetarian cookbook for meal inspiration. The Vegetarian Resource group is a great reference for recipes and information on a plant based diet.
- Keep nuts, sunflower seeds and dried fruit on hand for a great snack between meals.
Are there any drawbacks to following a plant based diet?
One of main concerns when following a plant based diet, is where do we get our protein? If we are eating less meat in our diet, it may seem that it is harder to get enough protein, especially from plant sources. However, plants are actually a great source of protein, after all look at the muscles on the animals so many people eat. Those same animals are getting their muscles from plant proteins from alfalfa and other grasses.
Plant based protein sources:
- Edamame or Tofu 8.5-10g per ½ cup
- Lentils 8g per ½ cup
- Chickpeas 7g per ½ cup
- Peanuts 20g per ½ cup
- Almonds 16g per ½ cup
- Spirulina 8g per 2 Tbsp
- Quinoa 8g per cup
- Seitan 15g per 3 ounces
- Bulgur 6g per cup
- Soy Milk 7g per cup
- Peanut Butter 8g per 2 Tbsp
- Pinto Beans 15g per cup
Plant Based Meal Inspiration
Are you on board with the idea of switching to a plant based diet but have trouble figuring out what to make? Here are a few meal ideas to give you some inspiration to make the switch to a plant based diet:
- Old Fashioned oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon
- Greek yogurt with granola and fresh fruit
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
- Bran cereal sprinkled with chia seeds; soy milk
- Vegetable/hummus sandwich with Lentil soup
- Soy yogurt with Baked potato and almonds
- Chinese salad with slivered almonds, mandarin oranges and crispy onion straws
- Quinoa and corn salad
- Pita bread pizza with fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, onions and peppers
- Grilled vegetable kabobs with quinoa salad
- Thai pasta with peanut sauce and tofu
- Kale pear and avocado salad with lemon vinaigrette
- Quinoa and vegetable Tacos
Are you ready to follow a plant based diet?
Is your mouth watering yet? Well, it should be! Making the switch to a more plant based diet doesn’t mean having to eat salads for every meal. These are just a few meal ideas to get you started on a new way of eating that may just add years to your life. And don’t forget to check out our large inventory of healthy, wholesome foods at https://highlandsorganicmarket.com/ to help make the switch to plant based eating even easier.
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