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What is a Plant-Based Diet?

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March 09, 2023

You’ve probably heard the term “plant-based” tossed around lately. It’s on menus across the country and has become a major eating craze in recent years. In fact, the plant-based market is expected to reach $74.2 billion by 2027!

And it’s no wonder why it’s so popular! Consumer trends that focus on eating less meat and the impact our food has on the environment have greatly increased people’s interest in plant-based diets. However, there can be some confusion about what plant-based eating is all about. Can you still enjoy meat proteins? How do you get started? We explore all things plant-based below.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based Eating

While some people think of a plant-based diet as strictly vegan, the term allows for some broad interpretations. At its core, plant-based eating focuses on incorporating more vegetables, fruits, and legumes into dishes. So, eating plant-based is more about consuming meat less, and increasing your veggie intake. If you want to incorporate more vegetable-based dishes into your cooking repertoire, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

Starting a Plant-Based Lifestyle

It might initially seem overwhelming if you haven’t tried plant-based eating before. But, there are no hard and fast rules, so you can tailor your meals to suit your tastes and needs. Some folks want to go completely vegan, while others plan to incorporate dairy products. A general guide is to start with meals with 2?3 of plant-based ingredients and ? animal products. What those ingredients might be are totally up to you. Here are some ideas to help get you started with your meal planning:

  • Ensure you get various fruits and vegetables to keep your meals interesting. 
  • Add hearty whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, and farro to help fill you up and keep you satisfied.
  • Seeds, nuts, and olives offer great textures and flavors while providing healthy fats.

Evaluating Your Protein Intake

We often think of protein in terms of animal-based products. However, a wealth of plant-derived ingredients pack a protein punch. When beginning plant-centric eating, plan to add in protein-rich foods. Most people should aim for 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight but always consult with your doctor to ensure the best amount for you. Some plant-based protein heavy hitters are:

  • Soy-based products like tofu, edamame, and tempeh
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Legumes 
  • Green peas
  • Spinach
  • Avocado

Remember, you can still get some protein from meats and dairy. However, when eating plant-based, most of your protein will likely come from grains, vegetables, and legumes.

Is Eating Plant-Based Healthy?

A plant-based diet can be extremely healthy when it incorporates fresh produce, low-fat ingredients, and whole grains. Like any wholesome diet, you’ll want to avoid or limit your processed food intake. 

Plant-based dishes tend to be nutrient-rich, high in fiber, and low in saturated fats. This type of eating has been shown to increase heart health, lower blood pressure, help maintain a healthy weight, and reduce cholesterol.

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Discover Plant-Based Ingredients for Less at US Foods CHEF’STORE

Embrace plant-based eating without blowing your grocery budget when you shop at CHEF’STORE. Culinary communities trust us to make their restaurant menus delectable, so you know we only stock the highest-quality ingredients. You’ll find fresh produce, plant-based milk, dry and canned legumes, and more! Stop by one of our locations today! In a hurry? Get food delivered straight to you.

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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