Switching to a Plant-Based Diet: There are numerous, well-studied reasons to adopt a plant-based diet such as increasing the amount of nutrients and anti-inflammatory foods in your diet to optimize your health. Not to mention that a plant-based diet helps protect the environment. However, forming new habits (especially good ones!) can be difficult, so here are some tips to help you get started.
1 – Don’t Make too Many Changes at Once
A plant-based diet isn’t considered a fad diet such as the ketogenic or paleo diet. A plant-based diet is a lifestyle change that should be sustainable and long-term. Making a lifestyle means adopting a new set of habits in the form of attainable goals. This takes practice and patience to get you through the transition period.
Attempting to adopt too many new habits at once can lead to people feeling overwhelmed and giving up. Adopting one or two new habits at a time is the best way to begin making the change. Begin with making attainable goals such as choosing to add one serving of vegetables or fruits to your diet every day. Smaller, attainable goals will lead to compounding benefits as compared to attempting to eat a majority of fruits and vegetables or cutting out all sweets.
Focusing on adding foods to your diet rather than restricting or switching to a vegan diet all at once is much easier to do. For those who are primarily interested in improving their diet slowly, a plant-based diet is a modality that allows you to move at your own pace and be flexible regarding animal products such as meat or dairy.
2 – Find Your Entry Point into Plant-Based Eating
Your best chances to succeed with a plant-based lifestyle involves finding which plant-based foods you enjoy eating the most, as well as figuring out how to incorporate them into your daily routine. Many people would find it difficult to suddenly switch over to eating more vegetables if they’re currently eating a diet full of meat, dairy, and refined grains. It takes time to adjust to eating new foods and learning to appreciate them, so the most important thing is finding foods that can help bridge the gap.
Once you have established your favorite plant-based foods, you have the opportunity to modify flavors and texture. Most people do not give new foods the right number of chances and give up after trying them once or twice. The secret to changing your diet is also exploring your own taste buds! Experiment with different flavors, herbs, and spices as well as with various methods of cooking and prepping the foods. For example, try adding lemon juice or vegetable broth to your vegetable while they are cooking to add flavor.
Dr. Praeger’s products are a great way to help you transition by adding veggies to your diet because we believe that our products should taste as good as they are good for you. For example, our popular and great-tasting Kale Veggie Burgers or Super Greens Veggie Burgers offer up a healthy amount of fiber, dietary iron, protein, and Vitamin A while being completely plant-based!
3 – Avoid the Carbohydrate Trap
While cutting back on your consumption of meat, dairy, and refined grains can provide many health benefits, one of the common mistakes when switching to a plant-based diet is the overconsumption of refined carbs such as pasta, rice, or bread. Refined carbohydrates can vary in nutritional quality, but most of the time they lead to overeating due to a lack of fiber and protein which allows us to eat larger quantities without feeling as “full” or satisfied.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a source of carb is to pick those that have ample amounts of fiber. Fiber provides your body with a steady stream of energy while keeping you full longer and avoiding large spikes in your blood sugar levels. Large spikes in blood sugar cause large drops in blood sugar which then lead to the dreaded afternoon slump! Adequate fiber intake will optimize insulin sensitivity to help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Legumes are complex carbohydrates that are both a great source of fiber and protein. Dr. Praeger’s offers products rich in legumes such as our Perfect Burger which contains pea protein and our Black Bean Quinoa Burger. These burgers contain a good source of protein and fiber to increase satiety and help you stay feeling full longer.
Switching to a plant-based diet offers numerous health benefits and starting slowly and thoughtfully offers the best plan for success. Dr. Praeger’s has been helping people transition into plant-based eating by showing them how tasty veggie-filled foods can be! From our delicious veggie burgers that come in 15 different varieties to our kid-friendly Littles (that adults secretly love to snack on), Dr. Praeger’s offers something for everyone!