Research shows that eating mostly plant-based foods is one of the best things you can do for your health. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of plant-based diets – from lowered risk of heart disease, obesity, some forms of cancer all the way through improved mental health and cognitive ability.
A fully plant-based diet, also known as a vegan diet, sounds scary at first. You might imagine eating bland green leaf salads and munching on carrots… but once you get into plant-based foods, you will discover an entire universe of flavors and meal options!
In order to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet from day one, we gathered some of the easiest and most delicious meals we could find. A huge benefit of only eating plants is that they keep fresh much longer than meat or dairy heavy dishes. That means a vegan or mostly plant-based diet is ideal for anyone who likes to meal prep.
Thriving on plants: The basics
When switching to a plant-based diet, there are some pitfalls you will want to avoid. The most common missteps we see are:
Not eating enough calories: This sounds like a strange problem, especially if you’re looking to drop some excess weight. However, even when you’re planning to slim down, it’s extremely important to be satisfied at all times to avoid cravings and the resulting binges.
Once you remove meat, dairy, and eggs, which are all quite calorie-dense foods, your portion sizes need to increase to give you the same amount of nourishment. If you’re looking to reduce your caloric intake, even better – your stomach won’t feel empty while you’re still cutting out a good portion of calories.
If you find yourself feeling dissatisfied, tired, or even dizzy when first eating plant-based, consider tracking your calories during the beginning stages to get a clearer idea of the portion sizes you will need to eat.
Not supplementing essential nutrients: There are some nutrients that are simply hard to come by on a fully plant-based diet without supplementing. This doesn’t make the diet any less healthy – it simply means that you should have a couple of supplements on hand to make sure you prevent any potential deficiencies.
B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, and iron (especially for women) are the three supplements that get recommended the most. B12 especially is crucial, and it’s a good idea for everyone to supplement, whatever your diet. Of course, you should always check in with your doctor about your supplement regimen.
Not eating a large enough variety of foods: This is actually common for diet changes in general. Abruptly excluding the foods you are used to can leave you feeling bored and dissatisfied. We don’t want you to be stuck with pasta and vegan tomato sauce for weeks on end! (That’s just one of the reasons we created Noom – read on to learn how we can help you with recipes and meal-planning.)
Plant-based breakfast ideas to get you pumped up
You might be shocked at the delicious diversity of plant-based breakfasts. Some all-time-favorites include:
- Overnight oats with frozen fruit (for instant raspberries), maple syrup, and flax seeds
- Banana pancakes with vegan chocolate syrup
- Smoothie bowls – think banana pineapple smoothie topped with chia seeds and fresh berries
- Toast with avocado
- Bagel with tomato paste, sea salt, and slices of smoked tofu
Lunchtime favorites to look forward to
These meals will make your lunch break a delight and are all meal-prep friendly:
- Chili sin carne (like the classic, but with soy meat or lentils instead of ground beef)
- Roasted oven veggies, such as potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Pasta and a creamy cashew-sauce with cherry tomatoes and baby spinach
- Red vegetable curry with coconut milk and rice
- Buddha bowl, aka veggies and rice topped with soy sauce and sriracha
Snacks that keep you smiling
Snacking on a vegan diet is actually one of the most healthy and fun ways to bridge the long gap between meals:
- Apple slices with almond butter
- “Nicecream” – this is ice cream made from frozen pureed bananas mixed with peanut butter, other fruit, chocolate, or whatever else tickles your fancy. No dairy needed.
- Any kind of nuts, seeds, and fruit
- Dark chocolate
Filling, nutritious dinner concepts
A lighter dinner makes for better sleep and an easier start into the next day. Luckily, heating lightly is much easier when you’re focusing on plant foods.
- Bread with vegan cream cheese and greens
- Green salad with tofu strips marinated in tamari and roasted sesame seeds
- Smoothie with vegan protein powder, oat milk and spirulina
- Tofu steak with spinach and mashed potatoes
What you can expect after a month of eating plant-based
Just in case you aren’t sold on the idea of trying a month of plant-based eating after looking at our meal ideas, here are some additional benefits people report on experiencing after a 30-day-vegan-challenge: improved digestion, glowing complexion, increased energy levels (including higher libido), weight loss, and reduced brain fog.
Even though eating plant-based is proven to be extremely beneficial to your health, it might not feel right for you. Always listen to your body and tweek your diet plan if necessary.
How Noom can help
Although plant-based diets are proven healthy, that doesn’t mean the transition will be easy or intuitive. But with Noom, you can embark on your plant-based journey with all the support you need. That means professional coaching, community support, meal-planning and recipe guidance, and more. We’re committed to helping you achieve your health goals, one day at a time, and we’re always available. Come see what Noom has to offer!