January 5, 2018
by
in Nutrition, Plant Based

What Can You Eat on a Plant-Based Diet?

The plant-based diet is the latest diet craze taking the world by storm. It’s hard to turn on the news these days without getting some headlines on this topic. Perhaps you have watched one of the compelling movies and documentaries such as Food, Inc, Vegan or read one of the enthralling books out there.

From the Australian Dietary Guidelines to the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, and the global Meatless Monday movement, the plant-based notion is here to stay. Furthermore, it’s a good thing for us and our planet (stay tuned for the benefits in our next article).

While we keep stressing about plant-based foods, we must be clear on exactly what you can have on your plate. So what can you eat on a plant-based diet?

Whole grains

Apart from being great sources of carbohydrates, consumption of whole grains is associated with lower risk of several diseases. The list of foods here includes but not limited to:

  • Quinoa – a great option if you love nutty flavor. It’s rich in Vitamins B, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous. It additionally contains the full range of amino acids, thus a great source of protein.
  • Rice – brown, black, red, basmati, California rice – all kinds of rice really. These grains are easy to prepare into a healthy meal in no time and they go along with just about anything. They are also easy to digest and rich in nutrients.
  • Whole wheat – this one is readily found in pasta products and bread. Be careful here when shopping for a whole-grain product. Just make sure the label says “100% whole wheat”.
  • Buckwheat – this seed of a flower is an excellent option for morning porridge or granola, and am sure you’ve heard of buckwheat pancake. Plus, it’s a great source of magnesium and manganese, minerals that improves nerve functioning and brain power respectively.
  • Oats – these are one of the most filling grains. They pack low-glycemic carbs, B Vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium and protein. Oats contain avenanthramide, and is a great antioxidant for the heart.
  • Corn – a good source of magnesium, B vitamins, and phosphorous. It is high in antioxidants and thought to boost healthy gut flora, which can ward off heart disease, chronic inflammation and diabetes. And it’s so easy to eat this – popcorn! Not the microwavable ones popped using harmful chemicals but organic kinds.
  • Barley – eating barley regularly can cut high cholesterol levels drastically. If cholesterol is not a concern, then it’s a good addition to your fiber foods and antioxidants.

Tubers

These edible underground organs have been important foods for thousands of years. The most commonly eaten tubers include the following:

  • Potatoes – from sweet to red, white and yellow, potatoes are a staple food is quite filling. They also provide a large dose of antioxidants and lowers blood sugars despite being complex carbohydrates. The red ones especially contain substantial amounts of anticancer nutrients called anthocyanins.
  • Beets – these are root vegetables, of which both the root and green leaves are consumable. They have sweet, earthy flavor and contain the highest amounts of sugar than any other vegetable but still have very low calories. In addition, beets are full of nutrients that can help lower blood pressure.
  • Carrots – these are stuffed with beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A in the body, hormone-boosting benefits, Vitamin C, fiber and are normally energizing. Carrots can be eaten raw, roasted, steamed and can even make an awesome ingredient in baking recipes. You can’t miss to have this in your diet – they are cheap and last long in the fridge.

Some other additions here are yams, cassava, crosne (Chinese artichoke), Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), turnips, radishes, and anything else that grows underground and regarded edible. With wildly varying flavors from earthy to sweet, these nature’s buried treasures are the most nutritious, versatile and economical foods.

“We are a family of 4, with two toddlers. Food has become such a chore with these little fussy eaters. Jaime's delicious creations get them excited about dinner time and encourage a more balanced diet. We feel like we are dining out every night, the variety and quality of food is fabulous. How could we ever live without Jaime before?!”
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Legumes

These include all varieties of plants with seeds in pods. Beans top this list that also includes peas, lentils, and peanuts. Legumes are excellent sources of protein, fat and carbohydrates, but different varieties contain varying amounts of these nutrients. Legumes are a staple food for vegetarian diets while non-vegetarians can also benefit from these foods.

  • Beans – they come in all sorts; black beans, soybeans, kidney beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, fava beans, Anasazi beans, and adzuki beans. Black beans, for instance, contain high antioxidant content as evidenced by their dark black color, while lima beans are a huge source of hormone-boosting benefits. You can try beans in stem, soup, wrap, salads…whichever way you choose.
  • Peas – green peas, black eyed peas, split peas, snap peas, snow peas – you are not limited here too. They naturally have a sweet flavor and form a perfect side-dish, snack, topping on a salad or addition to stir-fry, rice dishes, omelets, risotto, and pasta. 
  • Lentils – a half cup serving of lentils contain 113 calories and 8 grams of fiber. They come in a variety of colors; brown, green, orange, and red. Either split or whole, lentils can be added to rice dishes, salads, or even used as side-dish.
  • Peanuts – high in fat and Vitamin E, peanuts can be eaten as snacks or added to salad and stir-fry recipes. Go for the unsalted and dry-roasted varieties and keep off the high fat, oil-roasted and salted nuts.

Veggies

The importance of veggies in each and every meal is well documented. At Chef Dine, we say a meal is not complete without some portion of veggies. The list here is endless but let’s mention a few:

  • Kale – the most popular green as we know it is one of the most sating, alkalizing and most versatile green on earth. It can be stir-fried, enjoyed in a salad, added to a smoothie, stuffed into wraps, added to soups, baked or dehydrated as kale chips.  Kale is an excellent source of: Vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, fiber, iron, omega 3 fats, Vitamins B1, B3 and B6, and iron, folate, and more.
  • Spinach – another notable green that is filling, a little sweet and enjoyable. Spinach actually contains more iron and Vitamin C than kale, and provides a substantial dose of beta-carotene, which keeps your immune system in great condition. Eat this raw or cooked – totally up to you.
  • Lettuce – these are packed with antioxidants, fiber, water and Vitamin C. At the very least, use lettuce in making salad, soup, lettuce wraps, and juice.
  • Collards – they are readily available year-round and are known to pack more calcium than milk. Enjoy collards as raw wrap alternative to bread or cook them on the stove for a hearty meal. These greens are perfect for your hormones, bones and heart – just don’t miss them.
  • Peppers – some consider peppers as fruits, and not veggies. Whichever side you choose, peppers are good sources of Vitamin C, whether red, yellow and orange peppers. They are quite versatile as you can stuff them with other veggies, beans, and/or grains. Eat them as snacks in place of chips and you benefit from high fiber content, potassium, and low sugar.

Fruits

At Chef Dine, we also say that a fruit a day keeps the doctor away. Fruits are the brightest jewels in the plant-based diet crown. There are hundreds of fruit varieties on earth and you are less likely to have a bite of them all. So, eat those readily available and seasonal from your local markets.

Fruits are traditionally known to be major sources of vitamins, yet the benefits extend to boosting the immune system, fighting inflammation, lowering disease risk, and more. Make sure to fill a quarter of your plate with fruits, whether fresh, frozen or canned.

Final word

Plant-based foods are the way to go, for the love of animals, ourselves and our world. The plant-based options above are stuffed with goodness and you can use them to create wholesome meals, desserts, snacks, and more plant-based recipes. If you are not sure or want a starting point, don’t hesitate to get our help here.

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Hi, I’m Chef Jaime

I’m a personal chef that covers the whole of Melbourne. I take care of all your shopping, meal prep and cooking. Leaving you with a fridge of healthy meals.

I have a range of diets that I cook for, including:
Paleo – Fertility & Pregnancy – Weight-Loss Plant-Based and Fodmap.

With packages starting at just $180 its Melbourne’s most practical and affordable chef service.

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