Being on a plant-based diet means you are cutting a lot of your food options out of your diet. Usually this means cutting out any types of meat or animal products from what you eat. It also typically means trying to stay away from the pre-packaged foods lining almost every shelf in grocery stores that are packed full of carbs, bad fats, and other ingredients that aren’t very healthy to eat.
When your options become so limited, it can be hard to stick to your diet or figure out a meal plan that allows food variety while also providing all the nutrition you need. But that’s exactly what this list is going to be for. To help you find and figure out which foods are the best for you to eat. Enjoy!
Nuts in general are chock-full of proteins and calcium, but almonds are like the superfood of nuts. They contain many nutrients, including vitamins E and B-6, riboflavin, and thiamin. They are also full of not only protein but healthy fats.
There was even a study done in the Journal of the American Heart Association where researchers put adults who had elevated cholesterol on a diet for several weeks. Half of them got 1.5 ounces of almonds as their daily snack while the other half got muffins as theirs, but they equaled the same amount of calories. Those who had almonds daily reduced their LDL cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol, if you will – in addition to reducing their belly fat and waist size.
Lentils (a type of legume) are also a really great source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. That’s not even covering all the vitamins and minerals they contain.
Because of how much fiber and protein is in them, they make a great meal when cooked and served along with brown rice. Lentils can fill you up quickly for as little as 230 calories per cup of cooked lentils and taste delicious when mixed together with other vegetables or grains.
Whole grains are also part of this list. This is because grains are so full of fiber, healthy fats, fiber, and many vitamins and minerals that help reduce your risk of getting heart disease. They also are very filling and can easily be made into a side dish.
Whole grains include things like brown rice, rye, and millet. Whole grains are a little different from regular grains since they contain the entire grain kernel with it. Other grains or multigrain foods are actually likely to be unhealthy for you. Multigrains are especially likely not the best types of food to buy because they include many types of grains, which may or may not be all whole grains.
Avocados are also an incredibly great food to eat because they have almost 20 vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds within them. That makes it perfect for people on a plant-based diet who are looking to make sure they cover all of their essential nutrients.
They are also full of unsaturated food – about 75% of an avocado’s fat is unsaturated – which is great when you are trying to eliminate monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats from your meal plan.
Soy is a pretty common type of food to consume recently due to all of the exposure about how healthy it is for you. This is a good thing! Soy is a good source of plant protein, fiber, can reduce cholesterol levels, can assist some unpleasant menopausal symptoms, and is also packed with vitamins and minerals.
Soy can come in many different forms, so you can actually have soy many different ways in just a single day! Soy is most often found in the form of tofu, edamame, soy milk, or tempeh. For many vegetarians and vegans, soy becomes a daily staple in their diet the same way many others have eggs and milk as a staple in their lives. Be sure to purchase non-GMO soy products (non-genetically modified).
Many different seeds are great for you to eat, but I decided to focus on hemp seeds. Hemp seeds contain many heart-healthy fats – mainly omega-3 fatty acids – and protein in them. About 25% of their calories actually covers the amount of protein they have.
They are very subtly sweet and full in nutty flavor. Plus, with how small they are, they are a great addition to practically any recipe. Add it into your soups, smoothies, dips or oatmeal for a bit of a health and flavor boost in whatever you are making.