WHAT DO YOU EAT ON A PLANT-BASED DIET? WHAT’S ON A VEGAN MENU?
What you can or cannot eat on a Plant-Based Diet depends a lot on what kind of vegetarianism you follow.
Eggs and dairy, for example, may or may not be included. It really comes down to what path you are choosing.
There are some general food groups we can consider as universal no matter what form of vegetarianism you follow.
A Plant-Based Diet will include the following foods:
Whole grains. Rice, oats, barley, and buckwheat would all be examples of whole grains. Most vegetarian diets include a sizable amount of whole grains as their base.
Vegetables. Of course, a vegetarian diet is going to include vegetables! And it should because vegetables are great for you! They’re packed full of nutrients, fiber, and generally low in calories. Most people could stand to eat more veggies. If you find yourself not being able to stomach greens, I got you. Check out this post for tips on how to turn around any vegetable hater.
Legumes. Beans, lentils, and soy make up the legume family. If you’re following a plant-based or vegan diet, legumes would be a great way to get protein (more on this to follow).
Fruit. Bananas, apples, and oranges all come from plants, so all are vegetarian-friendly. While high in fructose (sugar), they are also nutrient dense. Our general stance on fruit around these parts is to eat “in moderation.”
Nuts and seeds. Again, they come from plants, so almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are good to go on any vegetarian plan you pick. So is quinoa, which although is often thought of as a grain, is actually a seed. Mind=blown.
Nuts and seeds, although high in fat and calories, are another great way to get protein on a Plant-Based Diet.
No matter what type of vegetarian diet you pick, you’d be free to eat the above (provided they fit into your current nutrition goals – but I’ll get to that shortly).
The below will depend on what kind of vegetarianism you are trying. We may be stepping into controversial waters with the following:
Eggs. Eggs are a great source of vitamin B12 and protein, which will become important in a section further down.
Dairy. Whether or not you consume dairy will be determined by your specific strain of plant-based nutrition. On the one hand, it’s from an animal (moo). On the other hand, dairy can be full of nutrients that might be harder to source from only plants, like omega-3s and calcium.
Fish. Look, I get it. Fish are animals, so technically not allowed on a vegetarian diet. However, if you eat a mostly-Plant-Based Diet that includes a little fish, it wouldn’t be too different from a Mediterranean Diet. There are a lot worse ways to eat than like the Mediterraneans. And as mentioned earlier, depending on who you talk to, being pescatarian could be a form of a Plant-Based Diet.
That’s a lot of the major food groups when it comes to plant-based eating.
So here’s all you need to remember:
Whatever form of vegetarianism you may pick, stick to REAL food whenever possible.
Pinto beans, asparagus, apples, and quinoa would all be examples of real food.
These are nutrient-dense foods that will keep you full and energized throughout your day. Deep fried cheese balls, donuts, and candy bars are examples of “plant-based, but not real” food.
And I’ll give out a warning on processed vegan junk food in a moment.
For now, there may be a question you are thinking.
It’s one of the most common ones we get when it comes to eating a vegetarian or vegan diet.