In the world of healthy diets, there are many to choose from. People are going keto, vegan, low-calorie, low-fat, Paleo, etc. There are also multiple diets that reduce the consumption of animal products, including vegetarian, pescatarian, and vegan.
The newest trend for healthiest diets is going more plant-based, such as with a plant-forward diet. This is not a complete 100% vegan diet but instead encourages eating more plant foods and fewer animal foods.
Benefits of a More Plant-Forward Diet
Why switch to a more plant-forward diet? Here are some of the fantastic health benefits of adding more plants to your diet.
Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The more plant foods in your diet, the more whole and clean foods you eat. This can help a lot if you are at risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, or stroke.
Healthily lose weight. If you are obese, you are already at risk for many health complications. By focusing on a plant-forward diet, you change your diet in a manageable way without being overly restrictive.
Lower fat intake for health purposes. Your body can trigger some medical conditions with a diet high in fat, which you would have if you ate a lot of meat and dairy. For example, conditions like GERD, gastritis, and Crohn’s disease struggle with a lot of fat in your diet.
Start With Your Current Favorite Plant-Based Foods
For a gentle switch to a more plant-forward diet, begin by making a list of plant-based foods you already enjoy. These can be all fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other whole foods that are plant-based. It might be your favorite fruits you eat with your breakfast, veggies you like to have as side dishes, nuts, and seeds you enjoy, whole-grain sources that your family loves, beans and legumes that are staples in your diet.
Make Easy Swaps Gradually Over Time
Instead of changing your entire diet on day one, focus on plant-based food swaps slowly and gradually. You can start by switching up the red meat in your diet to poultry or fish. This is still not a plant-focused meal, but it slowly helps to switch from higher-fat meats to healthier poultry. You can then gradually reduce your portion of the chicken or fish and add more veggies and salads to your meals.
Animal-Based Foods Are No Longer the Main Dish
A simple way to think about a plant-forward diet is that your animal-based foods are now the side dish or occasional source of protein instead of the main course. This can also happen slowly over time, as you begin adding more plant foods to your meals and less animal-based foods.