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Home / Blog / Starting a Plant-Based Diet, Important Tips
Starting a Plant-Based Diet, Important Tips
A plant-based diet is a way of eating that involves consuming most of your food from plants—avoiding meat, seafood, fish, dairy, eggs, or honey most of the time. Most of your nutrients must come from plant sources like fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, legumes, seeds, oils, whole grains, and so on.
However, plant-based does not necessarily mean you can never eat animal-based products. This style of eating is not like the vegan diet, where you are never allowed to consume any animal products. You are flexible to eat them from time to time, just not regularly. Most of the time, you should be choosing plant-based options over the other possibility.
For instance, instead of choosing regular whole milk from dairy cows, you generally decide to go with oat milk or almond milk instead. Or perhaps you will want a protein source of tofu, beans, or lentils over chicken, salmon, or eggs.
So, how should you begin transitioning to a plant-based diet?
There are a few essential and straightforward tips you can use when you are first starting a plant-based diet. Let’s go over those in some more depth below.
1. Eat veggies and fruits in abundance.
Most of the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and fuel your body will come from these sources. There are no fruits or veggies that are off-limits.
2. Limit meat and seafood.
Instead of choosing meat or seafood as the main dish for your meals, go for more protein sources that come from plants. Tempeh, tofu, beans, lentils, quinoa, vegan meats (although in limited quantities) are all great options of plant-based protein. Only eat meat and seafood on special occasions or if your body is craving it. You can also do the half-half trick. For example, if you are making chili, use half a package of ground meat only and use beans, lentils, or quinoa to make up for the rest.
3. Limit your dairy and egg consumption.
You can also choose to reduce the amount of dairy and eggs in your diet as well. It is super easy these days to find delicious milk alternatives. Try only to eat eggs a handful of times per week. Make any baked goods with great egg replacements like flax eggs, chia eggs, or use the baking soda and vinegar trick. Mashed banana and canned pumpkin can also replace the eggs in baked goods.
4. Eat healthy fats.
Making healthy fats a priority in a plant-based diet is a great idea. Nut kinds of butter, oils, avocado, whole nuts, and seeds are all perfect plant-based healthy fats. These types of fats can help keep you feeling full and not like you are not eating enough food.
5. Watch your protein intake.
When you limit the amount of meat, eggs, and dairy you are consuming on the regular, it can often be challenging to hit your protein needs for the day. We need protein for healthy muscle and energy. If you reduce your protein too much while going plant-based, you will be left feeling sluggish, sleepy, and not yourself. To combat this issue, make sure you eat plenty of protein from items like beans, lentils, tofu, etc. Another great option is adding some protein smoothies into your diet by using plant-based protein powders.
6. Get creative with your meals, and have fun!
Opting to go plant-based doesn’t have to be boring, and you never have to feel deprived. Find fun ways to make your favorite foods with a more plant-based approach. On pasta night, instead of piling on parm cheese, sprinkle on some tasty and cheesy nutritional yeast instead.
As you can see, starting a plant-based diet doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, and it does not have to be hard. Making a few simple adjustments to your diet will have you well on your way to being a knowledgeable plant-based eater in no time!