Eating plant-based food has a lot of benefits, from saving animals to helping the environment. It can be hard to keep up with all of the different foods that are considered “plant-based,” especially if you are a beginner.
If you’re looking to add plant-based foods to your diet but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve got you covered. From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, I have compiled a list of 13 nutritious and delicious plant-based foods that you should eat every week.
But, before we get into the list, why should you eat more plant-based foods in the first place?
The benefits of plant based-foods
Plant-based diet is not a diet anymore, it’s becoming more of a lifestyle.
Plant based-diet include foods that we get from plants such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and legumes.
There are many benefits of eating plant-based foods, such as:
- Plant-based foods are low in unhealthy fats and high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- People who eat plant-based diets tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower obesity, diabetes, and heart disease rates.
- Plant-based foods are jam-packed with antioxidants and other essential nutrients for healthy skin.
- According to a report, regular intake of plant-based foods has reduced the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.
- Plant-based foods have been shown to improve your gut health. A healthy gut ensures a good immune system, regular bowel movements, and appetite regulation.
- Fruits and vegetables are a great source of phytochemicals that have been shown to protect against cellular damage and reduce inflammation in your body. That’s good news for people with arthritis.
- Switching to a vegetarian or mostly vegan diet for a year could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint, equivalent to not driving a small car for six months.
13 Plant-based foods to eat every week
Beans are a type of legume that grows in pods and are often eaten whole but can also be ground into flour.
They come in many different colors and sizes and are often touted as a great plant-based food because they are high in protein and fiber.
They also have a low glycemic index, which doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This is beneficial for people with diabetes or prediabetes because it can help keep blood sugar under control.
Additionally, beans are a good source of vital nutrients, such as vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and folate.
Some of the most popular bean varieties include:
- black beans
- black-eyed peas
- kidney beans
- garbanzo beans
- navy beans
- pinto beans
- red beans
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent option for people looking for plant-based protein sources or additional nutrients.
Studies suggest that regular consumption of nuts has beneficial effects on hypertension, cardiovascular health, cancer, inflammation, and high triglyceride levels.
You can eat nuts and seeds raw, as a snack, or they may be added to various dishes.
Nuts and seeds contain a lot of calories, so people should be mindful of how much they eat.
Some of the most popular nuts and seeds include:
- Macadamia nuts
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Related reading: 20+ Amazing List Of Dry Fruits Name To Include In Your Diet
As the number of people switching to plant-based diets is growing, the demand for millets is rising.
Millets are a type of grain that has been around for centuries. They’re often considered a “super food” because they’re high in protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Additionally, they’re gluten-free, making them a good option for people with gluten sensitivities.
Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, making them valuable to any diet.
On average, 100 grams of cooked lentils provide around 9 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, which can help regulate digestion and keep you feeling full after meals.
In addition, lentils are also low in calories and fat and contain essential vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, and potassium.
Eating a single serving of lentils daily can play an important role in preventing degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Try adding lentils as the primary food source of nutrition in your daily diet.
Some of the most popular lentils include:
- Green lentils (Green moong)
- Red lentils (Masoor dal)
- Black gram (Urad dal)
- Pigeon pea (Toor dal)
- Dried peas (Matar dal)
Avocados are nutrient-rich fruit that offers a variety of health benefits. They are a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin B6.
In fact, half of an average-sized avocado has 4.6 grams of fiber, which is the most of any fruit.
Furthermore, avocados are great at boosting your immunity as they are a good source of glutathione.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. It is a member of the cabbage family and is green and has a tree-like shape.
It is high in many essential nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins.
As per studies, broccoli possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, thanks to the sulforaphane (SFN) present in it.
Broccoli can be eaten raw or in a salad. You can also roast, steam, or pan-fry it for a healthy and tasty side dish or snack.
Popeye loves spinach for several strong reasons.
Spinach is a dark, leafy green vegetable that is a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
According to research, spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants beneficial for eye health.
In addition, spinach is excellent for people who are on weight loss as it is low in calories and fat.
Asparagus is a low-calorie spring vegetable rich in many nutrients such as vitamin A, C, K, potassium, and folate.
Eating asparagus during pregnancy helps to form red blood cells and produce DNA. It also helps to protect against birth defects in the baby.
Adding asparagus to your diet is easy. You can use it in several dishes like salads, omelets, and pasta.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of nutrients for people following a plant-based diet.
They are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. They are also a good source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.
Furthermore, regular consumption of sweet potatoes enhances brain function and may have cancer-fighting properties.
Mushrooms are a type of edible fungus that are found all over the world. Some mushrooms are poisonous, but most are safe to eat.
They are classified as vegetables and are the only source of vitamin D among all the vegetables.
In addition, mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins and antioxidants that helps to prevent aging, boost your brain performance, and improve heart health.
Rice is a staple food for many people, and the good news is that switching to a plant-based diet doesn’t need giving up on rice.
However, replacing your regular white rice with brown rice would be more beneficial.
Brown rice is a whole grain that is high in fiber and magnesium. It also has a low glycemic index, making it a better choice for people with diabetes.
Moreover, it is a good source of vital nutrients such as thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
Oats have been one of the favorite breakfast foods for people worldwide and for several good reasons. They are high in protein and antioxidants content than many other cereals.
According to studies, regular consumption of Oats has been shown to lower cholesterol, help with weight loss, and regulate blood sugar levels.
Oats are versatile that can be used in many different ways. They can be eaten as oatmeal, added to baking recipes, or used in smoothies.
Quinoa has become popular in recent years, and it’s indeed a great addition to a plant-based diet because of its many health benefits.
It is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids your body needs. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, and potassium.
Moreover, It is gluten-free, and some people who are allergic to gluten find that they can eat quinoa without any problems.
A sample meal plan to get you started on a plant-based diet
If you are starting or switching to a plant-based diet, it can seem daunting. But believe me, including plant-based foods in your diet is easy.
Here is a sample meal plan to help you get throughout the day:
- Oats: Oatmeal made with almond or soy milk and topped with nuts or fruits such as berries, bananas, and apples.
- Yogurt: Yogurt or curd topped with fruit slices and dried fruits.
- Brown bread: Whole grain or brown bread with peanut or almond butter.
- Quinoa: A breakfast porridge made from the quinoa will provide you with lots of protein and fiber that will help you keep moving until lunchtime.
- Salad: For lunch, you can prepare a simple salad with leafy greens, diced tomatoes, and roasted chickpeas. You can add different vegetables and fruits of your choice.
- Lentils: Brown rice or millet chapati with a bowl of cooked lentils.
- Smoothie: Drinking a smoothie for lunch can help you consume more fruits and vegetables. It will boost your fiber intake and help you stay full until dinnertime.
Beans: Prepare soups and stews that feature beans. You can also prepare kidney beans and eat with chapati or brown rice.
When it comes to a plant-based diet, there are countless options to enjoy it. Also, there is no need to roast or fry your fruits and vegetables as it may impact their nutrients. Try to add them in their natural state to your diet.
Eating a plant-based foods is one of the best things you can do for your health. It has been shown to reduce your risk of disease, lower your blood pressure, and help you lose weight.
You don’t have to give up meat entirely; instead, limit your intake to once a week or simply never.
Switching to a plant-based foods will not only improve your health but will also benefit the environment and save the lives of animals.
So why wait? Start eating these plant-based foods today!
Here are a few other posts that may help you in getting healthy:
- 12 Most Affordable and Low Cost Nutritious Foods In India
- 9 High Refined Carbs Foods You Should Avoid At All Costs
- List Of Top 25 Indian Foods To Reduce Triglycerides Naturally