When you hear “plant-based” diet, probably think of a vegan or vegetarian eating style but plant-based eating is much more than vegetarianism. Here’s what you need to know about plant-based eating and how you can still enjoy meat, poultry and seafood as part of a healthy, plant-based eating style.
A plant-based diet means that your overall eating pattern is rich in grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds while being lower in animal-based foods like dairy and meat.
The health benefits of a plant-based diet
Studies show that eating a plant-based diet can help with weight loss, heart health, reduce risk for certain types of cancer and much more. Several studies even show that people who eat the most plant-based foods live longer, healthier lives.
In addition, eating more plant-based foods is more environmentally friendly. You can read more about how to support a healthy planet through your food choices in this article we wrote.
Ways to increase plant-based foods
- Have at least one main meal (lunch or dinner) a week that’s vegetarian
- Add one serving of a fruit and/or vegetable to your breakfast
- Snack on fruits, vegetables and nuts
- Enjoy smoothies made with fruits and/or veggies
- Add nuts and seeds to your soups and salads
- Add chickpeas or other beans to your salads in place of meats or cheese
- Use hummus as a spread on your sandwich in place of a slice of cheese
- Add lentils and beans to whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat pasta
- Try ethnic cuisines, like Asian, Indian and Mediterranean, as they’re more plant-forward than typical American eating style
Check out sustainable health for more.
This article is by By Rita K. Saeed, a dietetic intern at Appetite for Health.
Patel H., Chandra S., Alexander S., Soble J., & Williams KA. Plant-Based Nutrition: An Essential Component of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Management. Curr Cardiol Rep. (2017). Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28887684
Miller V., Mente A., & Dehghan M., et al. Fruit, vegetable, and legume intake, and cardiovascular disease and deaths in 18 countries (PURE): a prospective cohort study. Lancet. (2017). Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28864331