Benefits of a whole food plant based diet
As well as being a great way to be eco-friendly and kinder to animals and humans too, following a vegan diet plan can be a great way to adopt healthy eating.
With many plant based protein sources offering benefits such as vitamins & minerals, high fibre and often being heart healthy foods too, making some simple daily changes can turn your favourite recipes into healthy meals for weight loss, and healthy family meals.
We have loads of recipes on our blog for you to try.
Easy plant based protein swaps
Not all protein sources are created equal. Plant based protein sources offer some benefits that animal proteins cannot match. Swapping animal protein for vegan protein sources is an easy change to help get as much nutrients in your healthy diet as possible.
Red lentils are super cheap, very versatile, are 1 of your 5 day, have B vitamins, potassium, zine & iron, are chock-full of complex carbohydrates and of course, a have good dose of vegan protein, all good fuel for the body to stay healthy. They also one of the best heart healthy foods too. The jury is still out on whether ‘superfoods’ are really a thing, but if they are, red lentils should be on that list!
Check our some of our vegan recipes that use red lentils, to help you make some delicious healthy meals.
Seitan is a great plant based protein option. Made of vital wheat gluten, its easy to make at home, so you can control exactly what’s going into it, like how much salt, what flavour and what fats & oils you want to add.
Textured Vegetable Protein or ‘TVP’ is purely soya protein. It's extremely nutritious and is full of fibre. TVP has a similar texture to mince, and so it work really well in meal prep friendly healthy cheap meals like bolognese, casseroles, soups, stew, and chilli. TVP absorbs spices and flavour really well, so it is an extremely versatile vegan protein. It also comes in flakes or chunks, so you can mix up your recipes.
Tip: Soak it in veg stock to add some flavour before you’ve added any other spices.
Leafy Green Veg
To understand why leafy greens are on this list, you need to know that ‘protein’ is a bunch of amino acids. Leafy greens are a great source of amino acids and contain higher levels of the amino acids leucine, lysine, phenylalinine and valine.
Cabbage, kale, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, collard greens, bok choy, swiss chard - there’s so many! They are a great source of vitamin K which helps protect bones, full of anti-oxidants, vitamin A, fibre, folate, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Tip: Add spinach to a red lentil dhal for a delicious highly nutritious healthy lunch.
Healthy snacks on a vegan diet
So you’ve planned your healthy breakfast, healthy lunch and healthy dinner, but what about healthy snacks?
Well firstly, it’s important that you do not cut out your favourite treats, or cut out any food group. No carb or no fat diets can be damaging, not only to your body, but also to your outlook on the changes you want to make to your lifestyle. If you think you’re eating too much of high sugar or high fat foods, for example, try to moderate the amount you’re having, without restricting yourself or not allowing yourself to have it. You should enjoy food, so you need to find a way that it works for you, and includes that slice of cake or chocolate bar.
Adding ‘healthy snacks’ to your plant based diet is a good way to get in extra nutrients, and ensure you do not get too hungry in between meals, which can lead to low blood sugar, low blood pressure and is generally not a good thing.
Here’s some of our suggestions:
Elevenses: Hummus on wholemeal bread is full of fibre, calcium and a little dash of protein too.
Roasted Chickpeas: Another hit of protein, delicious and cheap to make. If you feel like you’re eating too many crisps, or want more than one bag, these are a great alternative for a heart healthy diet.
With your brew: Fruit & Nut bars like Nakd bars are 1 of your 5 a day because they are mostly dates. They’re also sweet, are great for travelling, and any vegan will tell you, they are excellent healthy snacks to buy in hungry situations.
Fruit: Simple, but often forgotten, fruit is full of fibre and vitamins and minerals. Bananas are great for an energy kick.
- Berries & Dark Chocolate with chilled Coconut or Soya Yoghurt: If you’ve ever had chocolate from the fridge, you know it gives a whole different experience. Adding a couple of squares of 70% dark chocolate to dairy free yoghurt brings out the sweetness in the chocolate and the berries, providing a rich, nutritious healthy snack.
Staying healthy and eating ‘treats’
If you’re planning to embark on a diet, or make changes to your lifestyle, chat to your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you physically and mentally, and remember healthy is not a size or shape. There are no such things are ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ foods, and no food is ‘junk’ or ‘bad’.
Things that are typically described as ‘junk food’ are fantastic additions to a balanced healthy diet, enjoyed in moderation, and/or occasional indulgences too. Our bodies are smart, and if we provide it with the right fuel, it can handle the things that give us happy hormones. Remember that you should be enjoying food and enjoying your lifestyle.
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