For many of us, we are used to a dinner plate filled with a large-ish protein, a large-ish grain, and hopefully a small veggie. It may be in the range of what the US Department of Agriculture recommends with their USDA MYPLATE PLAN to balance a healthy lifestyle. You are reading this guide to switch to a Plant Based life, so to initially shift to this, we recommend that you reference the Plant Based Plate Method where you start by increasing the focus of your plate to more veggie based. When looking at the two methods, you can see that they really aren’t that far apart, you are just swapping out some of the protein and dairy choices for plant based options. Here is how you can begin to look at your plate:
- Fill Half Your Plate with Vegetables and/or Fruits
- Fill a Quarter of Your Plate with Starches or Grains
- Fill a Quarter of Your Plate with Plant Based Proteins
Vegetables, fruits, starches, and grains are pretty easy to swap to plant based, just look for sauces, toppings, and gravy’s that don’t contain dairy. When looking at the protein side, that is where your biggest change will probably take place. We outline a vast array of options in our PLANT BASED SWAPS section, but to start we recommend you swap out those regular meat options for meatless varieties of proteins with things like “Chik’n” or “Beefless Ground” substitutes so what you are choosing now mimics what you may have eaten before. This way the transition is slow and easy to incorporate. Then the ultimate goal for health will be to sway away from those options to more whole food options.
It will take a little adjustment on the protein side because the plant based protein textures are slightly different, but the tastes are generally pretty close. Also important to note that these substitute “mock meats” are really simple to swap but are not the healthiest of options out there, so if you are looking for a greater focus on health, you may want to choose less of this option and opt for proteins like tofu, lentils, and legumes instead. We have found that over time you tend to focus less and less on that meatless substitute and more and more on those whole plants on your plate. However you choose to start, the more veggies you eat, you actually begin to crave those plants!