A plant-based diet as a concept can feel daunting. This is because many people associate plant-based diets with a lack of protein and limited meal options, but that’s not necessarily true! As it turns out, there are plenty of plant-based foods with the same amount of protein as your favorite animal sources. With a balanced diet of a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and plant-based protein sources, it’s absolutely possible to reach all of your macronutrient goals.
Here are some of our top tips for thriving on a plant-based diet:
1. Practice Balance.
The key to success in a plant-based diet is filling your plate with enough of every macronutrient group: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Try to incorporate some element of each in every meal you eat to keep you full until your next one. If you’re lacking ideas for plant-based protein sources, here are some good ones to try:
Legumes – Most beans have up to 10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving. Try black beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, or lentils!
Soy products -When cooked properly, tempeh and tofu are delicious protein options. Check out this guide for cooking tofu- it helps a lot!
Nuts/Seeds – Think hemp seeds, chia, flax, peanut butter, etc.
Whole grains – Oatmeal, whole grain breads, brown rice, quinoa
Nutritional Yeast – Also referred to as “nooch,” this naturally cheesy-tasting yeast contains 8 grams of protein per serving (plus B vitamins and trace minerals!)
2. Drink Plenty of Water.
Plant-based diets are naturally centered around, you guessed it, plants. This means a lot of fruits and vegetables. If your body isn’t used to digesting a large amount of vegetables, you may experience a few digestive issues in the beginning. Plants contain a lot of fiber, so it’s important to consume enough fluids to keep up with it. Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day!
3. Take a B12 supplement
Vitamin B12 is almost nonexistent in plant-based foods. It’s most abundant in animal products like meat, dairy products, and eggs. B12 is essential for healthy energy levels, cell metabolism, and red blood cell formation. To keep up with your body’s demand for B12, add a supplement into your routine. Click here to shop B12 supplements on our website.
4. Make sure you’re getting plenty of calories.
Plant-based foods are naturally lower in calories than many animal products. Consuming too few calories may lead to fatigue, a decline in your performance in the gym, and so many other issues. Avoid that by bulking up your plant-based foods at every meal and eating plenty of snacks to hold you over.
We hope these tips help encourage and comfort you while making this transition! Ultimately, remember it is a journey that is unique and personal to you. Start with attainable goals and do not be overwhelmed with an all or nothing mentality! There is no judge or score for how well you do. Good Luck and have fun with it!
*These claims have not been reviewed by the FDA. Talk with your physician about any changes you plan to make.*