When I first transitioned to a plant-based diet, I spent a tremendous amount of time educating myself. I took cooking classes, read books, listened to podcasts and even worked with a plant-based nutritionist. I did this for months!
Not everyone has the time to do this, and honestly, I don’t think you have to. The basics of following a plant-based diet are simple. Here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:
60-Second Guide to a Plant-Based Diet
Here’s a basic list of what to eat everyday (of course, no one’s perfect – I’m certainly not! So don’t beat yourself up when you don’t manage this) This list comes predominantly from Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live”:
- A wide variety of raw and cooked veggies
- Two or more servings of dark leafy green veggies
- ½ cup of beans or legumes
- At least 3 fresh fruits
- At least one serving of whole grains
- 2 servings of healthy, whole food fats. By whole food fats I mean fat sources that are in their whole natural state the way they are in nature. Thus, an olive is a healthy whole food fat, whereas olive oil is not. Eat walnuts or ground flax seeds for one of your fat servings to provide you with omega 3.
- Most plant-based authorities also recommend taking a B12 supplement
- Get 2 to 3 hours of sun exposure a week for vitamin D
Here’s what you want to reduce or eliminate – again, don’t beat yourself up if you’re not perfect (click on the food for more info about why you should cut back on it):
Simple Meal Planning
Here are some Breakfast Ideas (notice that I measure my fats so I don’t overdo it with them):
- Green smoothie with 1 tablespoon of flax seeds or 1/4 cup of nuts
- Fruit salad with 1/4 cup of nuts
- Toast with 2 tablespoons of almond butter and bananas and an additional piece of fruit
- Fruit with coconut milk yogurt and 1/4 cup of nuts
- Whole grain cereal with fruit, 1/4 cup of nuts and non-dairy milk
- Whole grain pancakes, waffles or baked good with fruit and 1/4 cup of nuts
Here are some Lunch Ideas that include raw veggies and a dark leafy green:
- Vegetable or vegetable bean soup with whole grain bread and a green smoothie
- Large salad with beans
- Vegetable and bean burrito and salad
- Veggie sandwich with cut veggies and hummus
- Baked potato with sautéed mushrooms, mushroom gravy and salad
- Leftovers from last night’s dinner and a green smoothie
Here are some Dinner Ideas that include raw veggies and a dark leafy green (I also make sure to include beans with dinner if I didn’t have beans for lunch):
- Vegan pizza with a salad
- Veggies stir fried without oil over rice with a green smoothie
- Whole grain pasta with veggies and salad
- Vegetable curry over rice with a green smoothie
- Homemade veggie burger with a salad
Photo courtesy of Ayushveda.com.
This is great advice and shows how simple it really is. I would add 2 things: getting outside every day for vitamin D, and flax seeds or walnuts for Omega-3.
Hey there Michelle! Yes – Omega-3 and vitamin D are very important. Thanks for suggesting these, I’m going to add them to the post. I hope you’re having a wonderful week! Celeste 🙂
Mucho thanks!! Celeste 🙂
Nicely done! Simple and sensible suggestions.
Thanks for stopping by Annie!! Celeste 🙂
I’m not vegan but there are some marvellous ideas here, thanks for sharing : )
Since you’re studying human nutrition, I take that as a GREAT compliment! Thanks for stopping by. Celeste 🙂
Perfectly explained… great post. Now if I could only look like the girl in your picture…
Haha!! I wish I could too! Celeste 🙂
Nice “cheat sheet” – love it! 🙂
Thanks Cowgirl! I made this up for my sister’s partner, Linda. I hope she uses it. Celeste 🙂
It would be super cute if you printed it up with your logo on the top of the page. Then you could laminate it and give it to her to put on her fridge.
That’s a great idea cowgirl – I’ll do that!! Celeste 🙂
Excellent. Thank you.
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