Dieting is no fun! If you’ve tried a variety of “diets” to become healthier or lose weight, you may have found them difficult to follow or maintain over the long-term because they often come along with strict food restrictions. So what do you do?
Here’s a solution that can help you to achieve your health goals but that doesn’t require sudden, drastic changes in your eating habits or leave you feeling hungry all the time: make veggies the center of your plate.
Following a plant-based diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds allows you to focus on eating plenty of delicious, whole foods and be health-conscious.
While a plant-based diet can be vegan or vegetarian, it doesn’t have to be. Animal products such as meat and dairy do not need to be eliminated from your diet; they simply need to be reduced.
Why Plant-Based Diets Are Super Tasty
& Good For You Too:
1. Your Sleep Will Improve
Plant-based foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, broccoli, kale, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, unsweetened cashew and peanut butter, and walnuts, all contain vitamin B6, tryptophan, and magnesium, which promote a healthy sleep cycle.
2. Less joint pain
Aching joints? Plants are natural pain-relievers and eating a plant-based diet increases the alkalinity in the body to help soothe inflammation. Focus on plant-based foods rich in omega-3 fats like flax or chia seeds, along with chlorophyll-packed leafy greens such as collards, kale, spinach, and swiss chard.
3. More natural, sustained energy
Eating a plant-based diet is a great way to enhance your energy levels since it’s easier for your body to digest plants compared to animal products. Also, plants are packed with natural energy boosting vitamins, minerals, and water.
4. Improved skin tone
Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins such as A, C, E, and K and antioxidants and phytochemicals that are beneficial for skin health and collagen production. The high water content of fresh fruits and vegetables promotes healthy skin by helping to keep us hydrated and providing essential nutrients.
5. Better digestion and “gut” health
Diets high in animal products disrupt the healthy bacteria in our guts—and the imbalance can lead to weight gain and gastrointestinal issues. Eating a plant-based diet that reduces the number of animal products consumed daily can help to alleviate constipation, bloating, heartburn, and gas.
6. Easier weight control and weight loss
Eating plant-based fats and proteins such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, legumes, soy, and quinoa makes it easier to maintain your weight or lose excess weight in a nutritious way.
7. Prevent diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
In countries and cultures where the majority of people eat a plant-based diet, the rates of diabetes, cancer, obesity, and heart disease are considerably lower than in places that consume a higher level of animal products.
Super Tasty Ideas for Starting a Plant-Based Diet
What’s the best way to begin a plant-based diet? Our recommendation is to start with some easy-to-make substitutions and gradually modify food choices over time.
Remember the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”?
If you follow that principle, you’ll begin to see changes in your health, appearance and energy levels without feeling you’ve made a sudden, big change. When what you’re eating makes you feel good, you’ll want to stick with those habits for the long-term.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Instead of dairy milk with breakfast or your morning coffee or tea, try a nut milk or other non-dairy milk or creamer.
- Instead of using butter on your bread or potato, try a healthy, non-dairy “fat” like olive oil or avocado.
- If you eat meat every night for dinner, give “Meatless Monday” a try and explore meat-alternatives such as quinoa burgers, grilled tofu, black bean quesadillas, or BBQ seitan “wings.”
- Replace the meat or dairy in your lunchtime sandwich with hummus, and grilled veggies such as eggplant or zucchini.
- Instead of dairy yogurt for a snack, give nut-based yogurts such as almond and coconut a try. Add in extra fruit or granola for an extra serving of fruit or grains.
- Making enchiladas? Add some Super Greens instead of chicken.
Keep an open mind!
When you’re starting a plant-based diet, it’s important to have fun and keep an open mind (and mouth!) to trying new fruits, vegetables, meat-alternatives, and whole grains.
We’re certain you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover how much you enjoy the various tastes, and choices that are available to you. Don’t forget to stop by the freezer section at your grocery store and grab a few bags of Tommy’s Superfoods frozen veggie blends – they’re the perfect addition to any plant-based breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Whether you’ve been following a plant-based diet for years or have recently started, what are some of the benefits you have experienced? If you have tips and strategies for those just starting out, be sure to leave them in the comments section or on our social media pages.