Basics for Plant-Based Beginners

Plant-Based: A diet consisting mostly of foods derived from plants

1. Take it one step at a time

Adopting a plant-based lifestyle doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. Start slow by trying Meatless Mondays. This will help you discover meals that include more vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

2. Keep an open mind

This is the key to discovering delicious meals that you may have never considered before. Be open to different flavors and recipes - try ethnic cuisine or experiment with new recipes at home.

3. Be mindful

Pay attention to what you’re eating and putting in your body. Slow down. Learn to listen to your body by recognizing the difference between hunger and boredom.

The major food categories of a plant-based diet are:

  • Fruits - Any fruit! Like apples, bananas, grapes, strawberries, oranges, etc.

  • Vegetables - Veggies are also great and an important part of a plant-based diet. Consider bell peppers, corn, avocados, lettuce, spinach, kale, peas, etc.

  • Tubers - These root vegetables include things like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, etc.

  • Whole Grains - These are grains in their whole form. Like quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat, oats, barley, etc.

  • Legumes - This includes things like beans and lentils.

  • Nuts & Seeds - Walnuts, peanuts, almonds, hemp, fennel, chia, etc. are all great options!

**Consuming a more plant-based diet does not mean you have to adopt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle

If you like eggs - great! Eat eggs with sauteed vegetables for breakfast or hard-boil them for a snack.

If you like fish - wonderful! Having a meal of salmon with quinoa and broccoli/cauliflower would make a nice, well-balanced dinner.

If you like chicken - fantastic! Dice some up and put it on your salad for lunch.

You get the idea… Eating a plant-based diet is more about shifting the focus from the meat of a meal to the plant-based options listed above.

Try some new foods and have fun with it!

Written by Colleen Wojdyla, dietetic intern