So you want to start eating a healthy, plant-based diet, but where to start?
<—Here’s a great graphic!
(by the wonderful vegan RD, Virginia Messina)
Basically, the #1 rule is VARIETY! Eat a variety of colorful foods. Fill most of your plate with vegetables, including a dark, leafy green. Add some whole grains and fruits and make sure to fit in a protein source with every meal (nuts/seeds, tofu, tempeh, legumes). Also, try to get some omega-3’s (from flaxseed, chia seed, hempseed, etc) everyday.
Here are some simple rules that I use to guide my daily food choices:
- “Beans and Greens” – aim for at least one bean/legume and one green vegetable per meal
- More veggies than anything else! For example, don’t eat a whole plate of spaghetti with a few tiny pieces of broccoli on the side.
- Not too much fruit or junk food. Junk food should, obviously, be limited but don’t overdo the fruit either!
- Avoid fried and processed foods when you can. It’s perfectly okay to indulge sometimes but make sure to maintain balance, so, for example, if you eat a veggie burger with fries for lunch then do a kale, quinoa, black bean bowl for dinner (also delicious!).
- Add a source of protein with every meal, more if you are an active person – tofu, tempeh, nuts/seeds, beans, etc.
If you feel overwhelmed by the change just start by eating one vegan meal a day or do one vegan day a week. Take it slow and don’t be hard on yourself, it’s a learning process. You can do it!
Also, keep in mind that every person is unique. What one person needs might be totally different than another so seek a nutrition expert to help you figure out your personalized diet plan.