Are you looking to start a plant-based diet, but confused about what to eat? You’re so not alone! While you may know that going plant-based holds some pretty remarkable health benefits, it can be confusing to know exactly what the plant-based diet foods are.
Follow along for a simple easy to follow breakdown on what you can eat on a plant-based diet to make your diet transition as seamless as possible. You may even be surprised to see just how un-restricting plant-based eating really is!
Primary Plant-Based Diet Foods:
Veggies are of course a primary component of a plant-based diet, because they are, after all, plants! The amazing thing about vegetables is that many are rich sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, mineral, phytonutrients and antioxidants to keep your immune system strong and fight off disease while preventing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Think about the rainbow when eating your veggies, the more color, the better! Here are some of the healthiest plant-based diet foods from the vegetable family.
- Dark leafy greens: Kale, arugula, swiss chard
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
A plant-based dieters favorite sweet treat! When you eat a plant-based diet and focus on whole foods, you are less likely to crave artificially flavored and high sugared food items. This means that fruits start to be your candy and taste just as sweet as that tub of ice cream you use to crave. The best thing about this is that fruits are packed full of antioxidants to help protect the body from disease, are high in fiber to keep the digestive system healthy, and are super delicious. Here are some delicious fruit options to add into your plant-based diet.
- Citrus fruits
Legumes & Other Protein:
These are a plant-based dieters best friend in terms of getting enough protein! Legumes are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and minerals to keep your body healthy, fuel your muscles, and keep you full. There are also additional vegan protein options that are convenient and serve as a great way to increase your protein intake. Here are some plant-based dieter’s favorite legumes, and high protein foods that pair well with just about any dish.
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas)
- Cannellini beans
- Lima beans
- Seitan (If gluten is tolerated)
Another important addition to any plant-based diet. Whole grains contain important vitamins, minerals, protein, and they serve as a primary source of complex carbohydrates to fuel the body with energy. Here are some healthy whole grain options to add into a plant-based diet.
- Brown rice
- Rolled oats
Nuts & Seeds:
When you follow a plant-based diet, nuts, and seeds are a wonderful way to increase your healthy fat intake while providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some of the top nuts and seeds to add into a plant-based diet.
- Raw almonds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Quinoa (Although often regarded as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed!)
- Nut milk (Almond, coconut, cashew)
Healthy fats are an essential part of a healthy diet, and some of the most nutrient dense foods are naturally high in fats! Here are some of the healthiest fats to add into your diet.
- Coconut oil
- Nuts & seeds (See some healthy options above)
A plant-based diet is not a diet solely focused on vegetables. Despite what you may have heard in the past, a plant-based diet consists of many other food options and does not only restrict you to fruits and veggies. While things like dark leafy greens are an essential part of a nutritious plant-based diet, enjoying legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and fruits are also abundantly seen when you chose to eat this way!
Is this a relief? Hopefully, it is because plant-based eating is not only for rabbits who snack on carrots all day! Plant-based eating can support the health of anyone who is willing to change their diet and lifestyle.
If you focus on variety, eat a diverse and a sufficient number of nutrients from each food group you will be well on your way to plant-based bliss full of foods to nourish and support your body.
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