Eating a more plant-based diet

There is growing evidence that eating a more plant-based diet provides significant health benefits, such as contributing to heart health, weight control, diabetes and even certain cancers. In addition, it can help in sustaining our planet. Food-related greenhouse gases have been estimated to account for up to 30% of global emissions mainly from the production of food sourced from animals. If more people consumed a higher plant-based diet this can help lower emissions and our health can benefit. Plant-based diets can be lower in saturated fats and higher in fibre. Choosing a variety of plant-based foods can ensure that there are no shortfalls of micronutrients.

Two-thirds of the diet should be plant-based, this includes not only fruit and vegetables but also pulses e.g. beans and lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains. In addition meat alternatives such as soya protein and dairy alternatives, for example, enriched almond, rice or soya milk. A third of the diet should be animal-based so there is no need to become vegetarian, unless you choose to do so.

Changes are often best done gradually and useful tips include adding more vegetables to dishes or increasing the portions; add nuts and seeds in salads or stir-fries and reduce the meat content; try enriched soya, rice or almond milk to dairy milk (this includes cow's, sheep's and goat's milk) on your cereal and swap to a vegetable-based oil or spread (e.g. olive, rapeseed, sunflower oils) than butter.

Try to include whole grains such as choosing cereals labelled whole grains, seeded bread and experiment with new types, such as bulgur wheat, couscous, barley and buckwheat. Swap sugary snacks for fresh fruit or a small handful of plain nuts and dried fruit.

Aim to go the extra mile too for a truly sustainable approach. Choose sustainably sourced fish, fair trade, welfare products and those that are locally sourced.

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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