How to Plan a Plant-based Diet
- October 03, 2021
To proffer solution to the challenges you may face in plant-based diet planning, here are 12-tips to get you off on the right food and help you stay on track for the long haul.
Consume More Plant-Based Proteins
Research associates eating more protein with a wide range of benefits – such as fat loss, reduced hunger, and reduced cravings. However, there is a lot of debate about whether or not plant-based diets provide enough protein to achieve a high protein diet. Additionally, plant proteins are healthier (gut-friendly) as they do not provide the difficulty in digestion observed in animal proteins and the by-products are not toxic, unlike in animals where trimethylamine N-oxide(TMAO) a by-product of red meat digestion can increase risk of heart attack and stroke. It is possible to get enough of plant protein and support your need. The key is to try and get protein at every meal and choosing the most protein-dense plants you can find.
Non-starchy Vegetables are your best option
Carbohydrates are the most abundant organic substances in living things, thus plant diets can feel carb-heavy for some. Include plenty of Non starchy vegetables – essentially everything except peas, corn, and potatoes – to get high amounts of nutrients with fewer carbs. Non-starchy vegetables can also help you control your calories since they tend to be high in water weight and low in overall energy.
Reduce Processed Foods
You don’t need to go 100% whole food to get the perks of plants. But you also don’t want to overdo it on vegan processed foods either. Plant-based is trendy, so more and more food manufacturers are labeling products as vegan and creating plant-based alternatives for traditional junk foods like ice cream, cookies, candy, chips, pizza, etc. Look for more fresh produce and whole food options to increase the number of plants in your diet, while minimizing processed foods altogether, this will help you control calories, increase nutrition, and cut out a lot of added salt and sugar you don’t need.
Reduce Natural Sugars
Natural is not exactly tantamount to beneficial. There are plenty of “healthy” added sugars on the market that aren’t much different, nutritionally speaking, from regular table sugar.
Just as on any healthy diet, limiting your intake of added sugar from beverages and foods can support better wellbeing.
Apply Portion Control
Calories still matter – especially if you are looking to lose weight. Plant-based diets are associated with weight loss because stacking your plate with more fruits and vegetables can help you fill up on fiber and water without the high-calorie counts. To make sure you are staying on top of your overall calorie goal use portion control, and choose more foods that fit your daily energy needs.
Observe Nutrition Labels
One of the easiest ways to ensure you are getting good nutrition and learning how to read a nutrition facts label. Look for more items made with simple ingredients, and that contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and healthy fats, with less saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and overall calories.
Track Your Nutrient intake
It is almost impossible to know if you are supporting your health and fitness goals with your food intake if you aren’t tracking your calories and macros. Use a food tracking app to log your daily intake and ensure you are getting the right nutrition and staying on top of your diet.
Try to prepare familiar meals, with ingredients that are common in the market.
Avoid monotony: remember though, that variety is the spice of life. If you’ve been buying the same bread, yam, rice and spaghetti every time you shop, you need to get out of that rut!
Try some (inexpensive) food items you have never had before. Black beans, Bambara nut (okpa), Ukwa (bread fruit), chickpeas – buy them and google how to cook with them. Incorporate them into your usual meals. The more variety in your diet, the more nourished you will be.
When eating out, identify satisfying Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB-friendly) options on the menu. Most restaurants will have dishes like jollof rice, moi-moi, beans, stir-fries or yam porridge where you can control the meat content. Shawarma, chicken salads and pizzas are not a good idea as you can’t reduce the meat without going hungry. Plants are less calorie dense than animal products, so you’ll need to eat more to get the approx. 2000 calories you need every day.