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Trying to cut back on meat? 5 top tips for a healthy plant-based diet

Healthy vegan food.
Healthy vegan food.

Are you keen to continue Veganuary, eating vegan, once the month ends, or trying to add more plant-based foods to your diet?

As well as making sure you get enough of important vitamins and minerals like calcium and b vitamins, these top tips will help keep eating vegan interesting – and tasty!

Pixie Turner is a registered nutritionist. She says it’s vital to ensure you get enough of  nutrients such as iron, carbohydrates and protein.

Here, Pixie shares her top tips for healthy plant-based eating.

Pixie Turner, nutritionist for Discover Great Veg.

1. Get enough calcium

Familiarise yourself with plant sources of calcium, like tahini, leafy greens such as kale and cavolo nero, beans, tofu, and lentils.

Fortified plant milks are great too, but ideally you want a variety of sources.

Calcium has a number of important functions, including helping build bones, keeping teeth healthy and ensuring blood clots normally. And, in pregnancy, it is vital for healthy development of baby’s bones and teeth.

Leafy greens are a good source of calcium.

2. Pack in the protein

Ensure you have a decent protein source with at least two of your meals each day.

That could mean having beans in your lunch and tofu for dinner, for example, or soy yoghurt with breakfast and lentils for dinner.

For tasty plant-based mealtime inspiration, try some of my recipes.

Lentils are a great source of protein.

3. Variety is key

Look to eat a wide variety of foods. How healthy your diet is depends on what you include, rather than what you exclude, so aim to enjoy a spectrum of plants.

More variety generally means more nutrients.

So as well as enjoying a variety of plants in main meals, remember you can also add them to snacks, side dishes, smoothies and more.

4. Keep iron levels up

Iron from plant foods isn’t as well absorbed by the body as those from animal products, so it’s worth prioritising some good sources of plant-based iron.

Examples include lentils, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron is really important for making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body.

5. Don’t be afraid of carbs!

Carbohydrate sources like grains and potatoes are absolutely your friends, and will help keep you full, satisfied, and energetic.

As well as starch, they also contain calcium, iron, fibre and B vitamins.

  • For more information on vegan eating see our Food & Drink section.

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