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How to Set Up Your Plate on a Plant-Based Diet

Tips and Tricks on how to Setup Your Plate on a Plant-Based Diet by Guest Blogger Morgan Fitchett

This post on How to Set Up Your Plate on a Plant-Based Diet is written by guest blogger Morgan Fitchett. Morgan says  transitioning to a plant-based diet from a traditional meat and potatoes kind of menu can be confusing. 

Morgan goes on to say that it’s pretty common to focus on what you’re removing rather than what you are adding in. Don’t worry; you aren’t going to miss anything!

To help you out and understand plant based eating, Morgan provides the following tips on how to arrange your plate on a plant-based diet that will help you be successful.

How to Balance Your Plate

When it comes to plant-based meals, the balance of your plate is a little different. I think we’ve all seen the food pyramid and a list of daily servings that seem too big even to imagine. Forget this image – it’s a thing of the past. 

Canada has a great visual guide. They updated the food guide in 2019 & it’s very vegan friendly. Canada eliminated dairy as a food group, and they now showcase a variety of protein sources. 

This just happens to be the most commonly recommended way to set up a plant-based plate. A true plant-based diet focuses on whole foods, vegetables, fruit, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds – though you may include some more processed substitutes. A plant-based diet is high in vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre – when done right! 

You should aim to fill 1/2 your plate with fruits or veggies (this includes starches like potato!), 1/4 of your plate should be a whole grain, and 1/4 of your plate should be protein. When it comes to nuts and seeds, a sprinkle or a handful as a snack is all you need.

When you eat with a focus on whole foods, it is essential to remember calorie density. Plant-based meals are larger in volume but lower in calories. This is my favourite part of a plant-based diet – big filling meals!

You can, of course, include meat and dairy substitutes; just know the quality of these can vary. They also tend to be as calorie-dense as the product they are substituting. These are an excellent option for special occasions, when you have a hankering for a “meaty” burger or to help ease the transition.

How to Plan a Plant Based Meal

When planning your meals, consider your goals. If weight loss is on your mind, be sure to include large portions of leafy greens and other veggies on your plate. These foods are filling and nutritious! Also, minimize oils (these can become hidden unwanted calories) and processed items. 

Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates either. They are essential for our health! You can’t compare a french fry to a sweet potato. Food in its whole form with minimal added oil and processing is best.

Plant-Based Plating for Whole30iers

While Morgan advocates for a whole foods plant-based diet, she says it is possible to transition to veganism and maintain the Whole 30. Fill your plate with veggies, nuts, and healthy fats. Change up the veggies that you eat frequently and make sure your plate is colourful.

Remember, when you eliminate foods, you need to add others in. Swap the grains on your plate for healthy fats like avocado and coconut and increase your nut intake for protein. While peanuts are not allowed on the Whole 30 – almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are – you can also include bean sprouts, peas, green beans as a higher protein vegetable.

Using Supplements on a Plant Based Diet

It is important to remember to supplement with B12 and vitamin D – vegan or not! Nearly 40% of people are deficient or low in B12. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, and almost 50% of people are insufficient! We spend a lot less time outside than we used to, and other factors affect our absorption. This isn’t an issue reserved for plant-based eaters – we are only about 1% of the total population!

Including a fortified and unsweetened plant-based milk and nutritional yeast is a great way to get added vitamins through the food you eat. These are easy to add to just about any plant-based recipe. 

Of course, every meal doesn’t have to be a math equation. You can find balance throughout your day. A smoothie for breakfast followed by a chickpea salad for lunch and a more purposeful dinner.

Plant Based Eating is an Opportunity

Plant-based eating is an opportunity to get creative. You can re-invent your old favourites while increasing their nutritional value. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and no fancy equipment required. 

Even if you aren’t interested in transitioning to an entirely plant-based diet – I challenge you to include more veg-friendly meals in your rotation. Include a Meatless Monday or opt for a bean salad for lunch once in a while. We all could use more veggies in our diet.

Learn More About Vegan Life & Wellness with Morgan Fitchett

Morgan Fitchett is a Vegan Life & Wellness Coach and the owner of The Veg Query. She is Canadian, a mother of 2 and has been vegan since 2013. Morgan helps women make the transition to a vegan lifestyle with confidence and feel empowered on their journey. You can find her at thevegquery.com or facebook.com/thevegquery.

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P.S.  A big thank you to Morgan Fitchett for sharing this valuable information

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