A plant-based diet offers a world of benefits for both you and the planet. Adopting such a lifestyle also demonstrates empathy for animals. However, you might have concerns, especially if you grew up in a culture where meat reigns supreme. How can you make sure you get enough protein? Are there any supplements you need to take to ward off deficiencies? Fortunately, it’s possible to get the vast majority of required nutrients through non-animal sources. Follow these tips for creating a plant-based meal plan and supercharge your well-being.
Tips for Creating a Plant-Based Meal Plan
1. Get Tested for Deficiencies
You could have a nutritional deficiency and not know it. It may be the reason why you don’t have as much energy and drive as you once did. Your body may give you other clues, too, such as an irregular heartbeat or hair loss. The only way to know for sure is to consult a medical professional.
Your doctor can order blood tests to identify areas of concern. Women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis and need to consume adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D. If you intend to follow a vegan lifestyle, talk to your physician about supplementation.
You can also increase your intake of these nutrients by tips for creating a plant-based meal plan with foods such as broccoli or almonds. An easy way to incorporate these foods into your diet is by putting them in salads, like this nutritious Quinoa Broccoli Salad!
2. Calculate Your Caloric Needs
Your body needs a specific number of calories each day to keep going. However, if you participate in regular physical activity, you may need more. Factors such as recovering from illness, injury, or pregnancy also impact the number of calories your body needs.
Check out this article and use an online calculator to determine your basal metabolic rate. You’ll need to enter your weight, height, and age. You’ll also have to identify your activity level, whether you’re sedentary, semi-active, or highly athletic. The resulting number will be how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight.
If you’re struggling to shed excess pounds, you need to either reduce your caloric intake or increase your burn. The most logical way to cut calories is through a combination of both.
3. Make Friends at the Farmers Market
Wouldn’t you enjoy greater peace of mind if you knew where your food came from? Why not opt to visit your local farmers market instead of the grocery store for produce? You’ll get to meet the folks who raise the crops by hand. Plus, you’ll improve your nutrition — food loses 30% of its nutrients within the first three days after harvest.
You’ll also decrease your carbon footprint, as the products come in from a shorter distance. When distributors ship goods from overseas or across the nation, it creates a tremendous amount of pollution.
4. Use Gadgets in Prep
One of the best ways to meet your needs on a plant-based diet is to perform weekly food prep. With the right routine, you’ll have all the ingredients you need, chopped and ready during a hectic workweek.
If you have a medical condition, such as arthritis, gadgets can make your life easier in the kitchen. Instead of wearying your hands washing vegetables, invest in a salad spinner to clean them thoroughly. Plus, a food processor makes mincing veggies for colorful slaws less painful on swollen finger joints. Use your fancy new gadgets to slice up veggies for a delicious Easy Veggie Roast!
5. Invest in Quality Storage Solutions
One of our favorite tips for creating a plant-based meal plan involves a little shopping. Once you prep your ingredients, you need a place to store them. You can find containers that whisk moisture away from your produce, keeping it crisper. You can also invest in fridge drawer liners intended for this purpose.
Keep in mind that not all fresh herbs belong in the fridge. Tender greens, such as mint, do better if you cut the ends like flowers and place them in a vase. You can also put a plastic bag over the top to further preserve freshness. It’s not the most aesthetic solution, but it works.
6. Experiment with New Flavors
Have you ever tried a tiger nut? These grass-like plants grow sweet tubers that taste like a blend between coconut and almonds. It makes you wonder why they haven’t their way into the alternative milk market. These tasty treats grow best in warm and sunny containers. If you live in a milder climate but have access to a greenhouse, give them a go.
Maybe you adore smoothies with berries blended in, but have you ever enjoyed a pineberry? They resemble a white strawberry, giving instant visual appeal when mixed into a parfait. They’re slightly sweeter than their kin, too — if you enjoy more tang to your berry, you’ll adore these. They taste like a blend of pineapple and strawberry.
7. Get Creative with Herbs and Spices
Did you know that herbs and spices do more than add flavor to your food? They also produce considerable health benefits. For example, basil may lower your blood pressure, as well as relax your blood vessels and thin your blood like Aspirin. As a perk over the willow bark derivative, this herb protects against Aspirin’s damage to your gut, potentially preventing ulcers.
Why not whip up a Flatbread Veggie Pizza and use the products of your windowsill herb garden as the toppings? Make sure to remember to invest in vegan cheese for this one instead of regular mozzarella. Once cooked up with your favorite toppings, you’ll wonder why you never tried this recipe before!
8. Explore Healthy Oils and Flours
Olive oil isn’t the only cooking oil to use. While it does have a high smoke point, making it great for stir-fry and salads, it isn’t the only healthy option out there. Sunflower seed oil, for example, has a smoke point of 450 degrees and makes a lighter-tasting alternative to peanut oil in Asian dishes.
You can also experiment with coconut oil. Although this option is high in saturated fat, it might act to lower cholesterol in women with abdominal obesity. You can also use this as an alternative for butter in baked goods if you’re trying to shed pounds. Try cooking up these delicious, vegan chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cups using coconut oil!
Create the Perfect Plant-Based Meal Plan for Your Lifestyle
You don’t need to consume animal products to get the nutrients you need. By following these tips for creating a plant-based meal plan, you can adopt a plant-based diet custom-tailored for your lifestyle! For more resources and great plant-based articles, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook.
Sources: Rush University Medical Center, Ortho Bethesda, University of California, National Center for Biotechnology Information