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Starting a Plant-Based Diet

By Hannah Newsome RD, CSO, LD

Evidence tells us that a plant-based diet lowers our risk of many chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, but what exactly is a plant-based diet and how do you start it? A plant-based diet is comprised of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains,

and beans while limiting foods that are derived from animals such as meat and dairy products. Making any type of change to our eating pattern can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some easy ways to start incorporating more plant-based foods in your diet.

  • Swap out your steak with a marinated Portobello mushroom to eliminate fat and cholesterol.

  • Make “nice” cream using frozen bananas and a little maple syrup. Experiment with different frozen fruits or even cocoa powder.

  • Lentils are an easy and inexpensive way to replace meat in Bolognese.

  • Try black bean and sweet potato tacos for Taco Tuesday.

  • Tofu doesn’t have to be bland. It can be scrambled with garlic powder to make “eggs” or pan-fried in your favorite stir-fry sauce.

  • Mix up a quick chickpea salad with vegan mayo and your favorite chicken salad ingredients and enjoy on whole wheat bread.

  • Blend up a fruit smoothie using almond milk as a base.

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