Woman in kitchen using orange pots and pans to cook healthy food.

Have you been considering switching to a plant-based lifestyle but don't know where to start? It may be a bit intimidating at first, but once you know what foods to reach for, you'll be confident and feeling better than ever from your healthy choices.

Going plant-based is a proven way to lower your risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, even inflammation. This diet is a good way to help you stay fit and reach your goal weight. As a bonus, you'll finally have more energy and be able to do all the things you love again. Another consideration is the reduced impact on the environment. So, you'll be doing your part to help the planet, too!

Common Concerns

One of the biggest concerns when starting out in a plant-based lifestyle is what to eat to get enough protein? A lot of people are worried that they won't feel full and will experience lethargy. This isn't true at all. There are plenty of sources of protein to be found in plants. Tofu is a common staple of this diet and can be prepared in so many yummy ways.

Seeds and nuts are a good high-protein snack to have on hand. Some, like the hemp seed, are complete proteins that are excellent for your diet, and can even be used in skincare. Hemp oil benefits for skin include moisturizing and soothing irritated skin. This is another way you can source your products from plants beyond just your diet.

Whole Foods

When you start to eat a plant-based diet, you need to remember to stick to whole foods as much as possible. Eliminating animal proteins can improve your health, but you'll undo any good benefits if you fill up on low-quality processed junk. Whole foods are your best bet and they are much more gentle on your digestive system. Too many other foods are laden with chemicals and preservatives that can break down the lining of the gut causing all kinds of uncomfortable symptoms that can be difficult to heal.

Lots of Vegetables

Vegetables are, obviously, a huge part of your new diet. Eat plenty of veggies with each meal. Mix up your choices and eat both root vegetables like potatoes and beets, and leafy salad greens. Try to incorporate as many colors and textures as you can so you get the wide variety of nutrients these foods provide.

Good Fats

Eat plenty of fats. Don't let that scare you. Fat is actually good for you when you choose the healthy ones. Reach for high-fat snacks like nuts. Add avocado to your salads and sandwiches. When cooking, use a good quality coconut or olive oil.

Fruits

Another plant-based staple is fruit. Watch your portions since fruit naturally contains a lot of sugar. It's the perfect option for a snack or satisfying dessert.

Whole Grains

When it comes to breads and pastas, whole grain is best. These foods provide a lot more nutrients and aren't as processed as the bleached versions.

Experiment with other healthy grains and try some quinoa or barley as a base for a healthy salad and protein bowl, or as a side to a meal. Grains are easily flavored with herbs and vegetables to make a tasty dish.

Legumes

Legumes are good sources of protein and can be a filling meal. Common legumes are beans, lentils, and chickpeas. They can be prepared in a variety of ways as a main dish, or in soups and stews. Hummus, made from chickpeas, is a healthy and tasty snack option. As more people convert to a plant-based diet, grocery stores and restaurants are meeting the demand with larger numbers of quality food choices for ready-made meals and staples to cook at home.

When you decide to change up your diet, you are better off making gradual changes. Switch out one meal a day or go plant-based for one day each week at first. Over time, you can build from there and start to phase out animal proteins as you learn new recipes, discover foods that you love, and become more confident in your new lifestyle.

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About The Author

Indy Summers's picture

Indy Summers is a freelance writer interested in fashion, healthy living, and fitness. She has worked as a master in esthetician, as a personal trainer, and as a freelance model for several years so considers herself an expert in these industries. For more of her work, visit https://nouw.com/indysummers.

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