Have you heard about the many health benefits of plant-based eating? It’s top of mind for many reasons, including weight loss, environmental concerns and better nutrition. Whether you’re simply interested in expanding your culinary expertise or health, making the decision to eat a plant-based diet is a popular one.
For a lot of people, the idea of eliminating meat seems impossible. First, knowing what to buy or cook may be overwhelming. Second, you’re used to having meat at most meals, and lastly, change is hard. Of course thanks to the ever-growing popularity of vegan diets, it’s easier than ever to try plant-based eating.
Plant-Based Eating: Where to Start
To start, we’re sharing six tips to help your transition to a plant-based eating.
1. Faux meats and cheeses can help you curb cravings.
Even with so many great plant-based meals, sometimes you just want a piece of bacon or slice of cheese. The good news is, there are a ton of delicious faux meats and cheeses on the market so you don’t have to go without.
Meat replacements can be really helpful — particularly when starting a plant-based eating plan. Just remember to treat them as training wheels, working toward eating a whole food diet you cook at home. Be aware frequently these faux foods can be high in sodium or preservatives.
2. Try plant-based protein sources.
Yes, you certainly CAN get enough protein from a plants. Additionally, with plant-based proteins, you’ll often find other benefits including fiber or other nutrients not found in meat.
3. Eat what you love. (It’s so much more than salad, we promise).
One of the biggest misconceptions about plant-based eating is that you’ll be eating mostly salads. In fact, you can eat burgers, pasta, tacos, pizza — even sushi. It’s all in the preparation.
Plant-Based Cooking is a great source of recipes for every palette and occasion. If you’re craving a spicy chicken sandwich, don’t tell yourself you can’t have it — simply find a recipe for a spicy tempeh sandwich instead. Continue to eat the flavors and foods you love — just without the meat.
4. Many of your favorite dishes can be made vegan.
It’s suprisingly easy to make your mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies or grandma’s cheesy lasagna vegan with just a few simple substitutions. So hang on to those recipe cards, and start making some of these simple swaps.
5. Dining out is easier than you think.
With vegan (or plant-based) diets growing in popularity, many cities have vegan restaurants, with at least one or two vegan items on the menu. Don’t see something that’s plant-based besides the side salad? Just ask. Overall most chefs are happy to make adjustments for special diets and will whip you up a special creation.
6. Not ready for plant-based eating?… start small.
If you’ve got some picky eaters in the house or just aren’t sure if you’re ready to change to a plant-based diet, try including a plant-based meal into your routine at least once per week. For example, try “Meatless Mondays.” After making a few meals, you’ll feel more comfortable with plant-based eating on a regular basis
Looking for further help to kick-start your new eating plan? To get an assessment on your specific dietary needs based on height, weight, health and other factors, schedule a consultation with one of Renown’s registered dietitians or call Health Improvement Programs at 775-982-5073.
Ready to get started with plant-based eating, even for just a day? Check out our vegan paella and let us know what you think!