Is a vegan diet healthy? What to eat as part of a balanced plant-based diet Leave a comment


What are the key elements of a healthy vegan diet?

To consider the healthiness of any diet, it is important to consider the quality and diversity of food choices.

In general, foods fall into five groups; fruits and vegetables, starchy carbohydrates, high protein foods, fats, and foods high in added fat, sugar and salt.

Vegetables and fruit

Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, fibre, water, and beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals. Consuming a range of colours will maximise the diversity of nutrients provided, so aim to choose a rainbow of colours.

Frozen fruits and vegetables can be useful to limit cost and reduce food waste. Try adding frozen berries to your breakfast, tomatoes in your sandwich or stir a big handful of spinach into your evening meal.

Carbohydrates

Starchy carbohydrates provide us with the energy we need to get through the day, as well as vitamins, minerals and fibre.

The quality of the carbohydrates you are choosing is the most important factor here, with wholegrain and brown varieties providing extra fibre and micronutrients that are often stripped from white and more processed varieties.

Examples include brown rice, wholewheat pasta, wholemeal bread, and porridge oats.

High protein foods

Plants contain all the protein that we need. Whole plant foods provide protein in a healthy package with fibre and phytochemicals.

Eat a variety of plant foods including wholegrains and legumes, and aim to include protein-rich foods at each meal for example tofu, tempeh, beans, pulses, peas, nuts and seeds.

Healthy fats

We all need a small amount of fat in our diet, but it is important to choose unsaturated fats over saturated fats, particularly in supporting long-term cardiovascular health.

Whole plant foods such as avocados, olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds provide these ‘good fats’. So, aim to include these foods daily whilst reducing sources of saturated fats from coconut oil, cakes, biscuits, crisps and other more processed food items.





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