You’ve probably heard that eating more vegetables and less meat is beneficial to your health. Perhaps you’re feeling encouraged to attempt a vegan diet—which eliminates all animal products, including dairy and eggs—to enhance your health or shed a few pounds.
When your meals are packed with veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains, a vegan diet can be a healthful way to eat. A well-planned vegan diet is necessary to avoid missing out on important nutrients or consuming solely processed vegan foods.
Here are 5 easy and healthful ideas for following a vegan diet. Even if you’re just attempting to consume more plant-based foods for improved health, these suggestions are a wonderful place to start.
1. Make vegetables the centre of attention of your meals
People frequently focus on what they can’t eat on a plant-based diet rather than what they can. A wonderful meal, however, does not have to revolve around meat. Veggie-packed meals are a good choice for a variety of reasons: they are high in vitamins (such A and K) and minerals (like potassium), they keep your calories in check, and they can help you feel more content since they are high in fibre.
2. Choose whole grains
By replacing refined grains like white pasta and white bread with whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, you may add iron and B vitamins to your vegan diet (nutrients that are lost when grains are refined). Furthermore, the increased fibre from whole grains can keep you fuller for longer and may even help you lose weight.
3. Look into new plant-based proteins
This may seem obvious to vegans, but eating more plant-based proteins is something that everyone can do to improve their health. Animal protein sources, such as meat and cheese, are high in harmful saturated fat. (Plus, there are numerous environmental reasons to avoid eating animal products.) Vegan protein sources abound, including tofu, tempeh, edamame (soybeans), lentils, chickpeas, and beans.
Protein is also found in nuts such as almonds and walnuts, as well as seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Many people believe that it is difficult for vegans to get enough protein, however this is usually not the case for someone who eats a diversified diet and intentionally includes sources of plant-based protein.
4. Focus on Fish-Free Omega-3s
Even if you consume a range of nutritious vegan foods, some nutrients will be difficult to obtain. DHA and EPA are omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for eye and brain development, as well as heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids are found primarily in fatty fish such as salmon, although the body may produce minor amounts from ALA, another kind of omega-3 found in plants such as flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy. DHA is currently added to a range of foods, including soymilk and breakfast bars. Algae-derived DHA/EPA supplements are also available.
5. Do Not Ignore Vitamin D
Most people obtain their vitamin D from canned fish like salmon and sardines, as well as fortified dairy products like milk and yoghurt, but D can also be found in some fortified nondairy milks like soy or almond milk and orange juice. Some mushrooms that have been subjected to UV radiation can also be used as a source. When the sun is greater in the summer, our skin can synthesise D. The DV for vitamin D is 600 IU, however other experts believe it should be closer to 1,500 IU. Many people, including vegans, may need to take a supplement to meet those requirements.