Eating plant-based can mean something different to everyone, but my definition is simply a commitment to eating a diet that focuses on whole, plant foods. The rest is up to you. While definitions for other diets, like vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, are more strict, I like to think of a plant-based diet as more of a flexible way of eating or a lifestyle than a diet, and you may or may not include animal products in this lifestyle. What's most important is the emphasis on minimally processed, plant foods making up the majority of what you eat!
There is a ton of research, and maybe even more personal anecdotes, supporting the many benefits of eating a plant-based diet. It’s a long list of benefits but some of my favorites include improved energy, a stronger immune system, weight management/loss, improved gut health and digestion and reduced risk of chronic disease.
It's most important to make sure your diet is balanced, full of variety, and of course delicious. Whether you choose to eat animal products or not, fruits, vegetables, plant-based protein, and whole grains can still be the foundation of your diet. My goal with clients is to un-complicate plant-based eating and make it approachable, simple and affordable.
I’ve put together a list of my top tips for eating plant-based and my favorite plant-based products for your next grocery store trip or delivery. Happy shopping!
Top tips for eating plant-based:
1. Focus on balance and minimally processed foods. Think foods without labels and long ingredient lists. You can usually find these items on the parameter of the grocery store! Load your cart with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, legumes!
2. Get creative! Find foods that you enjoy and mix things up using different preparation techniques, spices and sauces. Roasting vegetables makes them more flavorful and easier to digest than eating them raw.
3. Find delicious plant-based alternatives. There are some amazing plant-based milks and yogurts on the shelves these days. Some of my favorites are almond milk, oat milk, and the kite-hill Greek yogurt. Always be sure to check the ingredient list and look for brands with short ingredient lists and little to no added sugars.
4. Eat quality plant-based protein sources. Some of my favorites: lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, nuts, tofu, tempeh. These are easy to make and even easier to add to a salad or any meal.
5. Start with small changes! Maybe it’s eating one extra serving of vegetables a day, adding a simple green salad to dinner every night or choosing to have a ‘meatless’ day once a week. It makes a difference! Recommended plant-based grocery store list:
● Leafy greens, leafy greens, leafy greens. These are something you can add to any meal and should try and eat at least one serving per day. They’re low in calories and so high in vitamins and minerals.
● Plant-based dairy products - Some of my favorite brands for plant-based dairy products: Califia Farms, New Barn, Kite Hill and Elmhurst
● Plant-based proteins - I always have Organic, Low-Sodium canned Garbanzo beans in my pantry. I love to roast chickpeas with salt and garlic for a crunchy, protein- packed addition to a salad.
● Grains! They’re inexpensive and a great food to always keep in your pantry and add to meals. Quinoa is my favorite because of it’s higher protein content.
● Frozen veggie patty brands: Dr. Praeger’s and Hilary’s are delicious!
● I’m obsessed with Banza chickpea pasta! A delicious pasta alternative with added fiber and protein!
● Raw nuts and nut butters! An amazing source of healthy fats and protein. I recommend buying raw nuts in bulk to save money. With nut butters, look for brands with short ingredient lists - ideally the only ingredient is nuts!
Have any other questions or tips? I'd love to hear from you! Send me an email or DM!