Herb salad with roasted hazelnuts and pomegranits4 Food Groups You Must Eat On a Plant Based Diet

OK, so you’re thinking what on earth can I eat on a plant based diet. I’m stuck. Well here are 4 key food groups that you should include everyday on your plant based diet. They’ll give you all the protein, vitamins and minerals you’ll need and in turn you’ll have loads of energy to keep you going throughout the day.

Remember that the key is eating the whole food, as unprocessed as possible by manufacturing. This means that a lot of the nutrients remain intact and are brilliant for maintaining and improving your health on a day to day basis.  Within each group there are lots of alternatives so experiment a bit and see what you can come up with.

1. Wholegrains

These form a large part of what I eat every day. Ideally you should be eating five or more servings each day.  They’re low cost, filling and full of fibre. Eating whole grains every day will give you loads of energy, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Fantastic sources include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), couscous, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat berries and wild rice. Then there’s the super grains such as amaranth, quinoa, that are incredibly high in essential amino acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

I start each and every day with a big bowl of porridge oats made with water. You can use almond milk instead if you prefer.

2. Beans and Pulses

All types of beans such as black eye, kidney, haricot, cannellini, aduki, limas, chick peas (garbanzo), pinto and mung, as well as peas – black eye, green, yellow split and whole green peas and then there’s lentils such as brown, red and green. They all fall into this category. They’re full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Ideally you should be trying to eat two portions of these each day.

3. Fruit

Fruit, fruit glorious fruit. Colourful and sweet, they’re best eaten when they’re super fresh and just harvested. As soon as they’re picked and cut, blended or juiced oxidation begins and vital nutrients are lost. Try to stay away from canned fruits as they sometimes contain added syrup and preservatives, not to mention the leaching that comes from the tin cans themselves into the fruit.. Try frozen fruits as they’re often frozen within an hour or two of being picked when they’ve still got a lot of nutrients. Dried fruits are high in sugar so if you’re trying to lose weight stay clear of them. Aim to eat at least three or more pieces of fruit each day. Some of my favourites are:

Apples, bananas, pears, nectarines, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, passion fruits, kiwi fruits, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries, papaya, guava, kumquat and cherries.

4. Vegetables

Vegetables are the most nutrient dense group of foods there are. They’re packed with vitamins,minerals, starch, fibre, phytochemicals, antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. They’re also very in low calories. Try and pack at least four portions of them into your daily eating plan as possible, more if you can. Excellent veggies to eat include:

Kale, spinach, broccoli, sprouts, sprouting beans e.g. lentil, mung, bean, watercress, lettuce, cucumber, spring onions, tomatoes, celery, celeriac, artichokes, Swiss chard, peppers, mushrooms, radish, parsnips, water chestnuts, yams, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut to name but a few.

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