The Plant Rx

Your resource for a plant-based diet

Plant Based Diet With Whole Foods: 5 Strategies

Posted by Jenn on December 21, 2010

Grocery Store Green Bell Peppers

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Journalist and UC Berkeley professor Michal Pollan has made a name for himself in recent years with books and articles about food, such as his award-winning “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” In trying to make sense of how complicated and artificial our foods have become, he famously advised, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” With a few simple strategies, you can turn his miniature manifesto into your personal nutrition plan by eating a plant-based diet with whole foods.

    Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the simplest parts of your plant-based food strategy. Whether you go for organic or conventional produce, eat an array of colors so that you get a variety of nutrients: yellow squash, purple eggplants, red apples, green kale and so on. To keep your menus interesting, vary your cooking methods. You can eat your fruits and vegetables raw, of course. But to mix things up, try grilling fruit slices by brushing them with canola oil, placing them in a grill pan on low heat for five minutes and sprinkling them with cinnamon. Turn your vegetables into a main dish by grilling them as kebabs: Brush veggies such as cherry tomatoes, zucchini slices and red onions with Italian dressing, place them on skewers and grill over medium heat for five to 10 minutes.
  2. Whole Grains

  3. Whole grains are grains that haven’t been refined through a manufacturing process–they’re better sources of fiber, potassium and other nutrients than refined grains because the bran and germ remain intact. You can find whole-grain versions of all kinds of foods, including bread, rice and pasta. Look at the package carefully to identify a whole grain. Don’t just look for the word “whole” on the label; also read the ingredients to be sure that whole grains appear among the first items on the list. Look for whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat, buckwheat, millet and wild rice and avoid the word “refined.”
  4. Nutrition Needs

  5. If you’ve decided to go vegetarian, it’s important to understand the nutritional effect of various foods you’ve removed from your diet. A vegan eating plan, for example, eliminates foods with vitamin B-12, and some vegetarian diets are low in calcium, iron and zinc. You can get the right nutrients, though, if you eat a variety of foods. You can get protein from soy products, legumes and nuts. You can get calcium and iron from dark, leafy green vegetables such as spinach. You can get vitamin B-12 from fortified soy products or by taking a supplement. You can get zinc from whole grains and nuts.
  6. Navigate the Grocery Store

  7. One of the keys to eating a plant based diet with whole foods is stocking your pantry and refrigerator each week so that you have what you need to make healthy meals. If you know throughout the week that your ingredients are waiting for you at home, you’ll be less likely to pick up food from a restaurant on your way home from work. To do this, develop the habit of navigating the grocery store wisely. This usually means avoiding the middle of store, where pre-packaged, artificial foods often line the shelves. Stick mostly to the perimeters, where you’ll find fresh produce. Walk down the aisles with a purpose–many whole grain foods are situated in the section with rice and other baking items, but avoid the refined foods you find there.
  8. Plan Ahead for Snacks

  9. One of the most challenging aspects of eating a plant based, whole-foods diet is that it’s simply much easier not to be healthy. So many convenience foods are available that can seem tempting when you’re hungry, and fast food restaurants seem to line every street. So it’s crucial that you plan ahead if you want to make healthy choices consistently. Always take an apple with you, or a small plastic zipper bag of cashews or almonds. Alternately, keep healthy bars with you, such as Lara Bars–these are made exclusively with nuts, spices and dried fruits. Having these on hand for when you’re suddenly starving will help you ward off convenient but unhealthy temptations.

(Source:; By S.B. Plunkett)

Read more: Plant Based Diet With Whole Foods |

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3 Responses to “Plant Based Diet With Whole Foods: 5 Strategies”

  1. I always encourage people to go to their farmers market, too! A lot of time, I am inspired to cook healthy meals by what I find at the market. The produce is fresh, and was picked when ripe, which is far more nutritious than the stuff you find in most grocery stores. Plus, many local farmers are organic, and the produce is cheaper! 🙂

    • Jenn said

      I love the farmers market! It’s fun to figure out what you are going to have for dinner by what looks fresh and yummy there! Keeps it interesting and fun too!

  2. […] Plant Based Diet With Whole Foods: 5 Strategies ( […]

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