What to Eat & What to Avoid with Plant-Based Diets

Living Healthy with Loyola Medicine
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DR. SHILPA DESAI

Eating all plant-based or vegan diets are popular and trendy today -- but they also help you adopt a healthy lifestyle. Not only do they help sustain the environment, but it sustains your body too.

When attempting to eat a fully plant-based diet, here are the do’s and don’ts in order to be successful.

What to Eat

Aim for 3 or more servings a day of dark leafy greens, vegetables and fresh fruit.

Examples of these food types are kale, collard greens, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and superfood fruits like blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

You can also incorporate around 1 to three servings a day of legumes, beans, and lentils. If you’re going for canned beans, make sure you find “no-salt added” canned beans. Tofu, tempeh, and whole grains are also foods you can eat up to 3 servings a day.

Nuts and seeds like hemp, sunflower, cashews, almonds and more pack a punch of nutritional value but should also be eaten in 1 to 3 servings a day.

What to Avoid
Eating all plant-based or vegan diets are very healthy for you, but they CAN be difficult. You can’t cut corners with your health. Here’s what you should NOT eat if you are trying to stay all plant-based.

Eliminate foods that are highly processed, have a lot of sugar, salt, harmful fats and preservatives that lead to weight gain and fatigue.

All juices and sodas -- including diet soda -- falls into this category. Prepackaged foods like candy, sweets, and pastries are also no-no’s.

White pasta and white breads are too starchy and not nutritionally dense enough, so skip those.

Fried foods and fats like margarine, butter, and some vegetable oil types can have unhealthy fats that lead to cholesterol build-up and other symptoms.