Plant based eating emphasizes real, whole foods that come from plants, including:
· Colourful Vegetables : kale, rocket, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squash, cabbage
· Fruit: berries, pears, mango, apple, citrus
· Whole grains: brown rice, oats, quinoa, barley, etc.
· Legumes: peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, beans, etc.
· Plant-based protein like tofu, tempeh or edamame beans
· Nuts and nut butters
· Plant-based oils
· Spices and herbs
· beverages: coffee, tea, sparkling water, Kombucha etc.
People on plant-based diets eat less of the following:
· Fast food
· Desserts and sweetened beverages
· Refined grains: white rice, white bread, refined pasta, etc.
· Packaged foods: cookies, chips, sugary cereals, etc.
· Processed meats: bacon, sausage, ham etc.
A Typical Day may include:
Breakfast – Bircher overnight oats
Lunch – Rice rolls (tofu, vegetables, brown rice noodles, avocado, cashew dressing) serve with fresh greens
Dinner – Chickpea and aubergine bake with Roasted sweet potato.
Snack – Seedy crackers + hummus
Plant-based does not mean vegetarian or vegan or eliminating major food groups. Eggs, fish and dairy are still part of a plant-based diet and can offer an array of nutrients including the essential omega 3 and Vitamin B12.
The biggest thing about eating a plant-based diet is eliminating your intake of processed foods with long lists of ingredients.
I often say to my clients, if something contains more than 5 ingredients then leave it. Choose foods with 1 or 2 ingredients, that way you know exactly what you are eating. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs, beans, nuts and seeds all contain just ONE ingredient.
Plant based diets are 100% the best diet. Why? Because they are not built on restriction, or eliminating food groups, but instead contain a large amount of fruits, veggies, fibre and phytochemical all of which are essential and foundational to health.
Remember that a 20% change in your eating habits will have an 80% impact on your health. It is not about perfection, but instead making simple and small swaps.
Top tips for transitioning to plant based:
- Only choose foods with 5 or less ingredients
- Start your supermarket shop on the outside aisle – these contains the fresh fruit, veggies, eggs and produce.
- Start meal planning every week and build your meals around different vegetables, plus a good source of protein and fats.
- Eat seasonally and organic where possible. This is more cost effective and the produce contains higher nutrients.
- Look at ordering a weekly vegetable box, that will encourage you to try different fruit and veg.
- Start by stocking up on the plant based essential cupboard staples. (you can download my plant base shopping list)
- Avoid buying processed and packaged foods.
- Aim to eat 5 portions of vegetables a day (not including fruit) and then build it up to 8 portions.