Let’s start with the basics… what’s a plant-based diet? Just as it sounds, it is a lifestyle focused on making fresh produce — fruit and vegetables — and whole grains the main focus of each plate. While vegetarians forgo meat, poultry and usually fish, but sometimes enjoy animal products like dairy or eggs, vegans steer clear of any products that have any animal participation at all (the most devout even avoid eating honey, since it is produced by bees). However, enjoying a plant-based diet does not have to mean swearing off meat, cheese and the like. It simply refocuses the plate to include more whole plant-based foods, which are naturally delicious and nutritious! With plant-based diets topping nutrition trends, Traina Foods offers tips for nailing this healthy way of eating.
Start the Day off Right
With any diet or way of eating, experts will agree that breakfast reigns supreme. In a study posted in Journal of Nutrition in August 2017, research results found that participants who had their largest meal at breakfast time were less likely to be overweight or obese versus those that ate their largest meal of the day at lunch or dinner. Those that ate breakfast were also more apt to be at a healthy weight compared to participants that reported passing on breakfast. So “pile it on” (healthfully!) at breakfast, then opt for lighter meals for lunch and dinner. Traina suggests mixing dried fruits into oatmeal, sprinkling them on top of a fruit and yogurt parfait or incorporating them into homemade granola.
Get Prepped (a.k.a. Meal Prep is a Savior)
Pre-chopping vegetables and fruit and putting them into single serving containers, and making “mason jar salads” and homemaking oil-based citrus vinaigrette are super easy ways to prepare and take plant-based lunches on the go. Make a big pot of rice, quinoa, lentils or beans to add to salads or soups, and portion them out in portable containers for the week. Having a meal prepared or close-to-completion is a plant-based dieter’s best friend.
Don’t be afraid to try new foods! Ancient grains? Sure! Flax or chia seeds? Why not? When trying a plant-based diet, have fun experimenting — not only by trying new menu items at favorite restaurants, but also giving new restaurants a go and trying your hand in the kitchen with some new recipes. You might be surprised to find some new favorite dishes!
Find Your Tribe
Get to know a group of people that have similar nutrition/lifestyle goals as you do. Trying new restaurants or recipes (as mentioned above) will be a lot more fun with a group of friends that are interested in eating and experimenting the same way you do. You can share plant-based diet tips and encourage one another to stick to it!
Identify Your “Why”
Speaking of sticking to it, commitment is a big part of switching to a new diet or style of eating. And it takes commitment, effort and sometimes sure willpower to refuse some of your favorites from your former eating regime. Not to say you can never enjoy a nice steak again… but if you’ve dedicated yourself to a plant-based diet, it will be easier to stay motivated if you identify why you have decided to eat this way. Whether because it’s better for your body or the environment, pinpoint your “why” and remind yourself of that reason when you are tempted to stray from your newfound way of eating.
Most of all – enjoy it! Any diet or eating plan should not be about deprivation, but rather enjoying food as healthy fuel for a healthy body! For plant-based recipe inspiration (and beyond!), visit www.trainafoods.com.