Benefits of Plant-Based Eating

Ok, some of you might be thinking, “Yeah, right I can’t go fully plant-based.” We get it, but plant-based doesn’t have to necessarily mean NO meat. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the very definition of plant-based is “(of food or a diet) consisting largely or solely of vegetables, grains, pulses, or other foods derived from plants, rather than animal products.” If this sounds a little more doable to you, let’s explore the benefits of a plant-based diet, ideas for incorporating more plant-based meals into your day, and delicious recipes to try!

Plant-Based Diet Benefits

9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli follows a plant-based diet, and she admits, it can sometimes be hard. But it’s so worth it. She encourages you to try even just one day a week, saying you’ll still reap benefits.

According to Dr. Payal Kohli, a plant-based diet

  • reduces your risk of cancer
  • reduces your risk of heart disease
  • reduces your risk of diabetes
  • Improves your brain function.

With all these great benefits, why not give it a try?!

Plant-Based Proteins

One concern for many people when exploring starting a plant-based diet is where they will get their protein from. But there are plenty of plant-based protein options to incorporate into your meals. The following are some high-protein alternatives to meat:

  • Tofu – made of soybeans, it has all the amino acids your body will need
  • Lentils – they have 18g of protein per cup!
  • Beans – 15g of protein per cup
  • Quinoa – a good source of complex carbs (the good carbs!)
  • Ezekiel bread – it has more protein than most other types of bread
  • Soymilk – it’s usually fortified with other vitamins and minerals
  • Oats – just a half-cup has 5g of protein
  • Wild Rice – it has 1.5 times more protein than other long-grain varieties
  • Chia Seeds – 10g per ounce
  • Nuts – also a good source of fiber and healthy fats
  • Broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, and brussels sprouts are just a few vegetables to name that have high doses of protein

If you plan ahead, you can make sure that you’re incorporating the protein that you need. It is important to note that with a plant-based diet, you do need to plan to make sure you hit your nutritional targets – such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and more. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or nutritionist when starting out. They can help guide you.

4 Tips for Starting a Plant-Based Diet

Going all plant-based can be intimidating at first. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Make sure every meal has at least one fruit or vegetable
  2. Replace just one meal a day with a meatless option
  3. Try Meatless Mondays and challenge yourself to eat no meat at all
  4. Instead of one piece of meat per person at mealtime, split that chicken breast, pork chop, etc. between two people

The main thing is to load up on fruits and vegetables during the day. Upping your fruit or vegetable intake is never a bad thing for your body!

Plant-Based Recipes That Won’t Have You Missing Meat

Here are some healthy, delicious plant-based meals that will leave you full and satisfied.

Buddha BowlYou can make these so many different ways. The basic formula is sauce, vegetables, legumes, and grain. Have fun creating your own!

Tex-Mex Pita PizzasJust like with the Buddha Bowl, pizza is an easy one to reimagine over and over. 

Vegan Breakfast TacosHmm… noticing a pattern here? Again, easy to create a variety of breakfast tacos using whatever produce you have in your kitchen. Just throw in some Mexican Spices and you’re all set!

Tofu and Vegetable Stir FryThis meal can be whipped up in 15 minutes. It’s perfect for those busy weeknights!

Zucchini Verde Vegan EnchiladasInstead of cheese, these have a creamy lime cashew sauce. Time to light up those taste buds!

Berry-Almond Smoothie BowlStart your day with a big bowl of fruit. Or, split one with a friend or family member for a healthy mid-day snack!

Quinoa-Oatmeal CerealCereal has never been so filling, and healthy! You just might find yourself wanting it again later in the day for lunch or dinner!

Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes One of the hardest things to give up if you’re going vegan is cheese. But with this pasta, your tastebuds will still be satisfied! 

Smoky Spiced Veggie RiceIf you’ve got a hankering for jambalaya, give this recipe a whirl.