5 Tips To Incorporate More Plant-Based Foods Into Your Diet

Dietitian Aziwe Booi shares five tips on how to incorporate plant-based foods into your diet to give your health the kickstart it needs before winter.

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#1. Understand what plant-based eating is and why it’s good for you

As a nation of meat-eaters, the term plant-based might sound a little scary but all it means is a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits that do not include meat products.

Starting to incorporate plant-based foods into your diet you may raise questions about protein when your main sources no longer come from chicken or beef.

Booi explains that you can still meet your daily protein needs from plants. “Certain plants such as legumes, whole grains and nuts contain plant-based proteins which are good for preventing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, for example.”

In addition to helping to reduce disease, some of the other health benefits of a plant-based diet include additional energy and muscle growth when exercising.

Eating this way also helps to reduce your fat intake, which is good for heart and organ health and can aid in weight management.

READ MORE | Plant-Based Fitness Nutrition Made Easy

#2. Start simple!

Adding plant-based proteins into your eating plan can start with something as simple as breakfast.

ProNutro, for example, contains a high amount of plant-based protein natural powder, is a source of vitamin A, vitamin B, and iron, and makes a nutritious breakfast for families that want to start incorporating plant-based eating habits into their daily lives.

“This type of plant-based protein is good for gut health and the digestive system. Most notably, it is also good for mental health,” says Booi.

READ MORE | 5 Tips To Embrace Plant-Based Living The Easy Way

#3. Go back to basics

For families trying to include more plant-based into their daily eating habits, the question around finances is an important one that comes up.

Imported products and fancy packaging may leave shoppers in a tizz but It’s actually about going back to basics by simply buying more natural plant-based foods to include in your diet. The trick is to educate yourself.

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#4. Be intentional and educate yourself

When moving to plant-based eating, it is important to educate yourself about this lifestyle. Read as much as you can, speak to a dietitian and ask questions.

Doing research can help you make informed decisions about the type of foods you should be eating. It can also assist with identifying what you can treat yourself with and what to stay away from thus reducing wastage and helping you to reduce costs.

Understanding labels is also important as it will help you to make informed purchases.

“Take your time to understand what makes up a plant-based diet, a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich is also considered a plant-based meal. Things like hummus, pesto (without cheese) are all plant-based, you just need to be intentional about what you are eating. Another way to incorporate plant-based is to go for meatless Mondays, for example,” adds, Booi.

READ MORE | Plant-Based Diet Can Save Your Life – And The Planet

#5. Plan, plan, plan!

Meal planning has proven to be one of the most effective ways to stick to eating plans and to save money.

By planning weekly and monthly menus, shoppers can make informed purchases without overspending and may save money considering that plant-based diets do not contain more expensive meats.

Look for substitutes and replacements and start slowly.

“Take meals you already enjoy and substitute meat for plant-based items. A good substitute for example is lentils for mince in your spaghetti bolognese as a way to start.”

Top tips for going plant-based:

  • Get educated about going plant-based
  • Speak to your dietitian or health practitioner
  • Find meat substitutes for your favorite meals
  • Understand the health benefits
  • Learn to read food labels

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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