When it comes to a healthy plant-based diet, sticking with whole plant foods is the way to go.
There are plenty of positive effects to people eating a more plant-based diet, regardless of the types of foods they choose. The environment and the animals certainly benefit from people eating more plant-based foods and moving away from animal products.
However, when it comes to health, not all plant-based diets will provide the same results.
Focus on Whole Plant Foods for Optimal Nutrition
Diets focusing on whole plant foods have continually proven to be more optimal. Eating more fruit and vegetables is known to increase and protect health.
From nutrient density to water and fibre content, whole plant foods are a more complete nutritional package. All of these components work together to deliver the ideal nutrition and energy that we need.
Of course consuming occasional refined plant-based products won’t break your health. But the more whole foods you eat, the better.
How to Eat More Whole Foods
It’s not difficult to transition to eating whole food, plant-based. If you’re already following a plant-based diet, then all it really takes is a few simple substitutions. Whole grains, in particular, are a healthier option.
For example, if one of your favourite meals is a rice dish, then simply switch out the white rice for brown. You can still get brown basmati or jasmine rice, so you will still get the aromatic experience.
Plus, the increased nutrients in brown rice enhance the flavour while the fibre provides greater satiation.
Eating foods closer to their whole form will help ensure you avoid unnecessary refined foods, sweeteners, and additives. But this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice taste in the process. Your tastes will adjust, plus whole foods will naturally have more flavour.
There are more options available that can make eating healthy easier than ever. Whole grain wraps and salt-free canned beans are just a couple such examples. So keep your eye out for whole plant-based foods and products that you can try.
Whole Plant Foods to Include in Your Diet
You probably already enjoy more whole foods than you realise. It’s really just a matter of paying a bit more attention and making sure these foods make up the majority of your diet.
Here are a few whole plant foods you may want to consider basing meals around:
- brown rice
- sweet potatoes
- winter squash
Starches are a good calorie-dense source to ensure you’re getting enough energy from your meals. However, fruit, in whole form, is also a great way to get in a nutrition-filled meal or snack.
Depending which season it is, you can include a variety of fruit in your diet such as:
- stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots, etc.)
- berries (fresh or frozen)
- apples (yep, they’re pretty basic, but highly versatile when it comes to putting them in recipes)
Eaten whole, added to a fruit salad, or featured in a whole food, plant-based dish, fruit is a nutritious addition to any diet.
Enjoy healthier versions of the desserts you love
Finding a recipe for a healthy dessert isn’t as hard as it may sound. Just look for recipes that focus on whole plant foods and avoid additional sweeteners or refined flours. Starting with fresh, ripe fruit will help ensure the recipe gets all the natural sweetness it needs!
Create your favourite desserts with more flavour and nutrition. Many recipes can be made healthier with a few easy substitutions.
In particular, apples and pears are good staples as you’ll likely be able to find them during the winter months. Luckily, they also both go well in a variety of “dessert” recipes, like Apple Crisp or a Caramel Apple Crumble Pie.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to eschew all refined plant-based foods, just focus most of your diet on whole foods. The more nutrient-dense foods you eat, the healthier your diet will be.
Eating a completely plant-based diet is good health advice. It’s simple, yet can have a profound effect. And it’s a heck of a lot better than having to load up with prescriptions.
The trick is to not be afraid to try new things while making sure to include plenty of the foods you already know and love. Whole plant foods are likely already part of your diet. All having a healthier diet is about is turning those foods into the main event rather than just a side feature.
Being healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. It just takes a bit of conscious attention while you create new habits.
Soon eating healthy will seem natural. And it’s certainly worth the effort!
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