Nutritional Tip of the Day

Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet Isn’t: A Diet of Vegetables Only

From: Laurel Esty - Clinical Nutrition Manager LTC

While leafy vegetables are an important part of a whole-food, plant-based diet, they don’t contain enough calories to sustain you. Consider that you would need to eat almost 16 pounds of cooked kale to get 2,000 calories!

Not eating enough calories leads to decreased energy levels, feelings of deprivation, cravings, and even binges.

Starch-Based Comfort Foods and Fruits Take Center Stage

The center of your plate will be starch-based comfort foods that people around the world have thrived on for generations: think potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, brown rice, quinoa, black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas.

They may be prepared a bit differently—leaving out oil and dairy, for example—but most of these foods will be familiar. You’ll enjoy them in delicious dishes such as Sweet Potato Lasagna, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Tuscan White Bean Burgers, Easy Thai Noodles, Shepherd’s Pot Pie, and Black Bean and Rice Burritos. In addition to starch-based foods, you can eat as much whole fruit as you like.

No More Eating for Single Nutrients: Focus on the “Package”

No food is a single nutrient, and we should never think of foods in that way. What matters most is the overall nutrient profile. Whole plant foods contain all the essential nutrients (with the exception of vitamin B12) in proportions that are more consistent with human needs than animal-based or processed foods.

Why waste any of what we eat on inferior packages? As long as we choose a variety of whole, plant-based foods over time, we will easily meet our nutritional needs.

Even on this diet, people sometimes tend to worry about eating a certain type of green vegetable for calcium, beans for protein, nuts for fat, and so on. We ask you to let go of that kind of thinking. The most important thing in this lifestyle is to choose the whole plant foods you enjoy most!

Reference: Naomi Imatome-Yun

If you have any questions, please call Laurel Esty, Clinical Nutrition Manager LTC at ext. 6979.

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