Ever wonder if you could find ways to take your diet plan to the next level? You may have heard of vegan diets, but not necessarily about all the benefits that come with introducing an animal product free and plant-based diet to your regimen.
You may be sad to learn that the vegan lifestyle excludes dairy and eggs, but happy to find that it is also jam packed with the essential nutrients of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. If you are excited to transform the way you eat and live, here are 3 simple tips for eating an easy, healthy and plentiful vegan diet.
Pack on the Veggies
Transforming your diet to a vegan option means that you can make vegetables the stars of every dish you serve. Being a vegan means that you can build nutritious, filling, and colorful meals that trade out meat for veggies – especially vegetable options that are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and that are high in fiber.
As you innovate each meal consider piling on an assortment of vegetables including leafy greens, peppers and tomatoes, root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, and lighter options such as cucumbers and zucchini.
Choosing a plant-based diet allows you to monitor your calorie intake while also ensuring that your meals are high in fiber, nourishing and energy-producing. If you find that you are short on time, consider a vegan meal delivery service.
Introduce More Plant-Based Proteins
Before becoming a vegan, most people get their protein from animal sources such as meat and cheese which tend to be high in unhealthy saturated fat. The common misperception is that once a vegan eliminates animal-based protein it must be difficult to supplement your diet with enough protein – but this is inaccurate.
Once a vegan consciously varies their diet to include sources of protein such as nuts and seeds (like almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds), lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu, and edamame (soybeans) among other sources, getting enough protein is no longer an issue.
For those who are interested in ensuring that they meet the daily requirement of protein, the Institute of Medicine recommends that women get 46 grams of protein daily while men should aim for 56 grams. The added bonus of switching to plant-based protein is that it reduces our reliance on animal sources of food and is an act of environmental responsibility.
Prioritizing Omega-3s and Vitamin D
As you might imagine, some nutrients are hard to come by – this is why we recommend prioritizing your intake of omega-3s and vitamin D. Nutritionists tell us that omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for eye and brain development as well as heart health.
When planning your plant-based meals you can find omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon, plants like flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, soy, and even breakfast bars that are fortified with DHA.
It is also important to get your recommended daily dosage of vitamin D which is 600 IU. Some experts say we should actually be closer to 1,500 IU. While our skin can synthesize vitamin D through exposure to sun, particularly in the summer months, you can also get your daily dosage from canned fish, fortified dairy products like milk and yogurt, non-dairy milks such as soy or almond milk, orange juice and mushrooms.
Transitioning to a vegan diet does not have to entail deep sacrifices in terms of what you can put on your plate. Remember that choosing a vegan diet means that you can make vegetables central to the meal, while also getting your essential proteins, vitamins and omega-3s. Packing your diet full with these healthy options is sure to start you on a transformative health journey.