Plant-based diets are on the rise these days as more and more people are learning about the health and environmental benefits of dairy- and meat-free meals. They’re also discovering how versatile produce can be (note: you can eat more than just salads on a plant-based diet). It turns out that plant-based eating can be downright delicious. From plant-derived protein sources to nutrient-packed recipes, and more, there’s so much to discover when it comes to enjoying a plant-based lifestyle. If you’re thinking of taking the plant-based plunge or just want to incorporate more wholesome, nourishing foods into your diet, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Plant-Based?
Like the vegan diet, plant-based eating avoids meat, dairy, seafood, and eggs, but unlike veganism, the emphasis is on consuming whole, plant foods that are as close to their original form as possible. Plant-based eaters steer clear of artificial ingredients, avoiding even vegan-friendly food that’s not highly nutritious, like potato chips and faux meat products.
Benefits of Plant-Based
Because the plant-based lifestyle focuses on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods like unrefined grains, fruits, nuts, beans, and veggies, it’s considered a very healthy diet. The absence of meat, eggs, and dairy, makes it low in cholesterol. Studies have even suggested that plant-based eating may help combat obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.
Tips for Eating Plant-Based
Plant-based eaters are well versed in meat-free protein sources. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Whole grains like quinoa, wild rice, millet, and amaranth
- Seeds like hemp, pumpkin, flax, and chia
- Nuts like almonds and cashews (including nut butters and nut-based milks)
- Legumes like lentils, green peas, and chickpeas
- Beans like edamame, black beans, and cannellini beans
Top Plant-Based Brands
Stock up on these plant-based pantry essentials.
Enjoy plant-powered nutrition throughout the day with Vega’s line of premium supplements, protein powders, and wholesome snacks. Another bonus? The brand’s products are crafted using the most sustainable, ethical, and environmentally responsible methods possible.
Each serving of this plant-based protein powder—made of pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and alfalfa proteins, plus probiotics and cocoa powder—delivers 30 grams of protein.
From flavored coffee creamers to cold-brew concentrates, Califia Farms offers a variety of plant-based foods made with California-grown fruits and nuts and bottled in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
Perk up your morning cup with a swirl of rich vanilla flavor. This plant-based, dairy-free creamer is made with almond milk and coconut cream for a delicious alternative to half-and-half.
Go Raw offers a variety of delicious, raw, plant-based snacks made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and then cooked at a low temperature to preserve nutrients and enzymes. The family-owned business is also Certified Organic.
Craving a little crunch? These sprouted pumpkin seeds add tons of flavor to trail mixes and salads, or you can enjoy them by the handful. Plus, they’re vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly.
Plant-Based Recipes to Try
Want more? Dig into the Thrive Market blog!
Didn’t think you could pull off a plant-based, sport-friendly snack? Buffalo-style cauliflower “wings” are a game changer. With the crispy texture and spice of wings and a completely animal-free list of ingredients, it’s no wonder this recipe is a crowd favorite.
Spiralized veggies are the ideal way to add even more veggies to noodle dishes when you’re eating a plant-based diet. This recipe tops ribbons of carrots with sesame oil, ginger, and cucumber for a delightfully refreshing dish.
No cheese? No problem! This clever, plant-based take on nachos pairs baked kale chips with spicy cashew queso and finishes things off with avocado, tomatoes, jalapeño, and cilantro.