There are so many “trendy” diets in 2020, and it can be a bit overwhelming to choose what would be the best fit for you. As a vegan personal trainer and fitness nutritionist, I have so many clients that come to me who are completely stressed out and confused about what to eat. A lot of people are jumping on the vegan or plant-based trend for all of the health benefits, but don’t know what basic foods to incorporate or start with. There are a few plant-based foods that I highly recommend for anybody on any “diet”. Here are my top 5 plant-based food suggestions you should include today!
Oats have many health benefits and although you might think of this childhood food as boring, they can actually be quite versatile and delicious. Oats are an excellent source of fiber and contain good bacteria that is essential for optimal gut health. They can also lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar, along with helping you feel fuller for longer. Oats are an easy go-to to include for breakfast; you can eat them in overnight oats, traditional oatmeal, or blend into oat flour for pancakes.
Beans are an easy plant-based food that you can incorporate into your daily meals in a variety of ways. Beans are a great source of fiber, thus making you feel full, and also meaning that most of the carbohydrates in them actually exits the body. Beans also have a good amount of protein; about one cup of cooked beans has 15g protein. There are many ways to incorporate beans into your meals, whether that’s with breakfast like other cultures, or in burritos or tacos for dinner. They are a fast and easy staple food in my plant-basd diet.
Tempeh is a plant-based food that many people are not aware of or have not eaten before. It is a less-processed version of tofu and contains many health benefits. Tempeh is low in fat and carbohydrates, while also containing about 15g protein per 3 oz serving, making it an excellent source of plant-based protein. It also contains prebiotics, which is a type of fiber that promotes healthy bacteria for your gut. Tempeh is fast and easy to cook, and can be seasoned or flavored in a variety of ways. One popular favorite is tempeh-lettuce-tomato (TLT) sandwiches.
4. Protein Pasta
Protein pasta is a delicious plant-based way to get fun pasta dishes in, while still allowing for many health benefits. There are brands like Explore Cuisine or Banza Pasta that create pasta noodles out of lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. These noodles typically contain less carbohydrates that a regular pasta noodle, but also are an excellent source of protein. These pasta alternatives usually have anywhere from 20-25g protein per serving. The next time you are craving a pasta dinner, check out these brands and enjoy the taste of pasta with even more nutrition benefits.
5. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a plant-based favorite among vegetarians and vegans alike! It looks and smells like cheese, which makes it a great alternative for those who are completely dairy-free. Nutritional yeast provides many health benefits, such as being an excellent source of antioxidants, protein, and vitamin B12. B12 is the only nutrient that vegans tend to lack, so consuming nutritional yeast a couple times a week actually allows for that to be fulfilled. You can sprinkle nutritional yeast on top of food, or blend it with cashews to create a cheese sauce. Check out Braggs Nutritional Yeast next time you’re at your local grocery store.
These are just a few of the plant-based foods I think you should always incorporate! Comment below with any plant-based foods you like to add!