Fruits and VegetablesHave you been wanting to try a plant-based diet or consume more plant-based foods, but not sure where to start? We've answered some common questions about plant-based foods and diets below.

1. What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds like. You consume more plant-based foods than animal-based foods such as meat, dairy or eggs. Many people eventually cut out all animal-based products; others choose to consume eggs and dairy, but no meat. The reason plant-based foods or plant-based diets are trendy right now is because there are many, many plant-based foods people do not know about, do not eat, and therefore, do not know how to cook. But, these foods are actually extremely healthy for you. So, by moving to a plant-based diet, you have the opportunity to eat many of these less common foods and gain the added nutrition and health benefits!

2. What are the health benefits?

Many plant-based foods contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Along with the added nutrition benefits, most plant based foods are fairly low in calories, making a plant-based diet appealing for those who want to lose weight. Consuming a high amount of plant based foods has shown weight loss benefits as well as decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Filling up on plant-based foods will automatically direct you toward eating fewer processed foods, which is also beneficial for your health.

3. What are some common plant-based foods?

Any type of bean, lentils, tofu, all fruits, all vegetables (with a focus on dark, leafy greens!), whole grains such as quinoa, couscous, or farro, nuts and seeds (some favorites include flax seed, chia seed, peanut butter, almond butter, almonds, and walnuts) and of course, olive or grapeseed oil are good cooking options. To substitute dairy products, try items like almond milk, soy milk, diary free yogurt and cheese, etc.

4. How do I get enough protein from only plant-based foods?

One of the most common questions when switching from an animal to plant-based diet is how do I get enough protein if I am not consuming meat, eggs or dairy? This is an important area to focus on if you do switch to a plant-based only diet because many people don’t pay attention to their protein levels and consume significantly less protein when trying to eat a plant based diet (mainly because they substitute carbohydrates such as crackers, pasta, and bread). Items high in protein include beans, lentils, nuts, nut butters, hummus, tofu, and some whole grains, such as farro and quinoa.

Madonna Fit For Work can provide nutrition education with a registered dietitian to help your workforce eat healthier and manage weight.  To learn more, call 402.420.0002 or click here.