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Plant-Based Eating – 11 Tips for Getting Started

If starting on a plant-based eating plan seems overwhelming, it’s okay to take small steps. The goal is to choose an eating plan that works best for your health and lifestyle needs. Here are some ways to get started.

11 Ways to Encourage Plant-Based Eating

  1. Fill half of your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner.
  2. Use prep methods like grilling, roasting or stir frying your vegetables.
  3. Have a salad with your meal or as your meal. Try to eat a variety of vegetables, focusing on an array of colors.
  4. Snack on vegetables between meals by having hummus, guacamole, or salsa (all are plant-based dips!).
  5. Have a smaller portion of meat at your meal and mix in some beans to reach your protein goal.
  6. Choose healthy fats when preparing meals including olive oil, avocado oil, nuts, nut butter and avocados.
  7. Choose at least one night a week that is designated as a “vegetarian” dinner night. How about a Meatless Monday?
  8. Choose whole grains including oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, quinoa and barley.
  9. Add a variety of fresh fruit daily. Besides eating fresh fruit, frozen, grilled or baked make for a sweet treat. Or try making a smoothie.
  10. Include greens in your diet such as spinach, kale and collards.
  11. Use fresh and dried herbs to flavor your food.

Not All Plant-Based Diets Are Created Equal

When it comes to heart health, plant-based eating isn’t just about giving up meat. It’s about adding healthful foods and limiting processed foods – while reducing intake of animal products

In fact, a study in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that those who ate a plant-based diet high in refined grains (such as pasta, white rice, processed breads and cereals), sugar- sweetened beverages and desserts, and processed plant-based foods actually had a higher risk of heart disease than those who ate a healthy, balanced diet that included limited amounts of meat and animal foods.

Learn More About WakeMed Heart & Vascular

For decades, the WakeMed Heart Center has been the top destination in the region for heart surgery. To learn more, take a virtual tourrequest an appointment with a surgeon – or read more about our heart & vascular physicians.