You can reap the benefits of a plant-based diet without committing to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. By making just a few substitutions in your daily diet, you can experience the many health benefits of a plant-based diet and never sacrifice flavor. So, what are the benefits we’re talking about? And, how can you more easily incorporate them into your diet? Read on to find out more!
Benefits of Whole Grains, Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa add a healthy dose of fiber to your diet to help keep your digestive productive. Legumes such as beans, lentils, peanuts, and peas have a rich amount of plant protein, fiber, B vitamins, and other vital nutrients. Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and cashews are very rich in healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed are very similar in nutritional content to nuts.
Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve probably all heard the phrase “eat your vegetables so you grow big and strong” when we were kids. Of course, you probably also rolled your eyes as you shoveled the broccoli into your mouth, but that bit of wisdom is absolutely true. Vegetables provide tons of micronutrients our bodies need to function properly.
Fruits do, as well, but they are often high in sugar. So, while you don’t want to eliminate fruits, you should consume them in moderation. However, unless you’re on a low-carb diet, you can indulge yourself in the rich variety of vegetables as much as your heart desires.
How to Easily Incorporate Plant-Based Foods into Your Diet
The first step of transitioning to a diet that is plant-based is to remember that you don’t have to switch everything at once. We all had to learn how to walk before we learned how to run. By making a few adjustments, sticking to those, and slowly incorporating more plant-based items in your diet, you’ll be more likely to stick to your regiment.
For example, for your next meal, reduce the size of the piece of meat on your plate and add an extra scoopful of veggies. During your next shopping trip, add an extra pound of your favorite vegetables to your shopping cart. Another great trick is to aim for making the food on your plate a colorful rainbow. The more colors you have on your plate, the greater the diversity of nutrients.
Also, remember to keep your meal-prep practical. We’re so busy with day-to-day life, it’s easy to lose ourselves and make our dietary choices a low-priority. You may find a great recipe online, be super excited to make this delicious meal, and absolutely love it! But, can you really keep up that level of dedication to meal-prep every single day? Probably not.
So, transition yourself a bit more slowly. Find four or five meal recipes that are healthy and simple to make and stick to those for a while. Then, slowly add in more recipes and variations. If you have kids, you may need to be a little more creative in your meal choices, but with a little experimentation, you’re bound to find delicious meals that even the most picky-eater can’t resist.
The last thing you want to do when transitioning to a plant-based diet is to shock your body. Transitioning your diet cold turkey can lead to deficiencies and other side effects that may reduce your desire to continue the process. And, that is the number one reason so many people fail when they make New Year’s resolutions and such.
It will be a long process and you will need to make many adjustments along the way. But, the benefits will far outweigh the effort. And, before you know it, you’ll enjoy the many benefits of a plant-based diet.