You've probably heard that consuming more vegetables and less meat is good for you. Perhaps you've been inspired to attempt a vegan diet, eliminating all animal products, including dairy and eggs, to enhance your health or reduce weight. When your meals are full of veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains, a vegan diet can be a healthy way to eat. To avoid missing out on essential nutrients or eating mainly processed vegan foods, you'll need a well-planned vegan diet. Here are eight simple vegan diet suggestions that are both easy and healthful to follow:
1. Make vegetables the center of attention in your meals
Instead of focusing on what they can eat on a plant-based diet, many people focus on what they can't. However, a delicious meal does not have to revolve around meat. Veggie-packed meals are an excellent choice for various reasons: they're strong in vitamins (such as A and K) and minerals (like potassium), they're low in calories, and they can help you feel more content since they're high in fiber.
2. Consume a wide range of foods
On a vegan diet, it's critical to eat balanced meals that include various healthful foods to ensure you get all of the nutrients you require. Beans, for example, provide protein and fiber, while leafy greens are high in vitamins A, C, and K. Even vegan frozen treats (like our delicious freezies) can be super healthy! To reap all of the benefits, choose produce in every color of the rainbow. Red tomatoes are high in lycopene, which is good for your heart, while blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, which are beneficial for your brain. On the other hand, orange sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, which is good for your eyes. Are you looking for new recipes to try? Top brown rice or quinoa with beans and a mix of sautéed or roasted veggies for a simple well-balanced grain bowl.
3. Opt for whole grains
Substituting nutritious grains like brown rice and quinoa for refined grains like white pasta and white bread adds iron and B vitamins to a vegan diet (nutrients stripped out when the grains are refined). Furthermore, the added fiber included in whole grains can help you stay fuller for longer and even aid in weight loss.
4. Don't assume that they are healthier
Vegan cookies aren't always healthier for your waistline than traditional cookies. Furthermore, garlic bread made with vegan margarine isn't inherently better for your heart than garlic bread made with butter. Palm oil and coconut oil, high in saturated fats, are commonly included in processed vegan foods. Stick to whole-grain tortilla chips with guacamole, carrots and hummus, almonds and dried fruit, and whole-grain tortilla chips with guacamole. It's fine to indulge in vegan delights now and then, but don't think of them as "healthy" just because they're vegan.
5. Concentrate on Omega-3s that aren't derived from fish
Some nutrients will be difficult to come by even if you eat a range of healthful vegan dishes. Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are vital for eye and brain development and heart function. Omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in fatty fish like salmon, but they can also be generated in small amounts by the body from ALA, a kind of omega-3 found in flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy. DHA is now added to a range of foods, including soy milks and breakfast bars. DHA/EPA supplements manufactured from algae are also available.
6. Vitamin D isn't to be forgotten
Vitamin D is primarily found in canned fish like salmon and sardines and fortified dairy products like milk and yogurt. However, it can also be found in fortified non-dairy kinds of milk like soy or almond milk, as well as orange juice. Some UV-exposed mushrooms can also be used as a source. Our skin can manufacture vitamin D during the summer months when the sun shines brighter. Vitamin D has a daily value (DV) of 600 IU. However, other experts believe it should be closer to 1,500 IU. Many people, including vegans, may need to take a supplement to reach such levels.
7. Get your iron pumping
Iron is best obtained from animal proteins such as meat and chicken, which is another nutrient that vegans should be aware of. Vegans can receive this mineral through beans, legumes, and leafy greens, but non-heme iron from plants isn't as easily absorbed as heme iron from meat (heme iron). Eat iron-rich foods alongside vitamin-C-rich foods, which helps improve absorption, rather than calcium-rich foods, which can hinder iron absorption, to get the most out of plant-based iron.
8. Be aware of B12 deficiency
Animal foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy foods, are high in vitamin B12, a vitamin that helps our bodies convert food into energy and aids in brain function. Vegans can acquire B12 through fortified cereals or energy bars, but they should consult with their doctor before taking a supplement. For most adults, the DV for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms.
Veganism may be chosen for ethical, environmental, or health reasons. When done properly, the vegan diet can be simple to follow and may provide various health benefits.
As with any diet, these advantages manifest only if you are persistent and base your diet on nutrient-rich plant foods rather than excessively processed ones. Vegans, particularly those who cannot satisfy their daily nutrient requirements solely through diet, may consider supplements.
This article was written by Melissa Hansen, a seasoned writer with contributions to niche BC outlets like Epic Firms, Forever After, and Bridgewell Group. When she is not crafting content, Melissa enjoys her time with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and an inspiring book in the other.In Health - @Tubify Team