Plant-Based Diet for Beginners: The Plate of Possibilities when Exploring Plant-Based Foods

Plant-Based Diet for Beginners: The Plate of Possibilities when Exploring Plant-Based Foods

Jun 21, 2023Tori Sajovec, RD, LD

Plant-based eating has been one of the biggest trends in recent years. But what does a plant-based diet exactly mean? The consensus seems to be a diet that prioritizes fruits and veggies, whether someone excludes meat from their diet or not. In addition to the produce options, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans and legumes are also encouraged. Companies have taken note of this recent trend by releasing a variety of products such as plant-based burgers, cauliflower concoctions, and a fibrous fruit filling that mimics real meat.

Beginning with a Plant-Based Diet

Whether you’re jumping on the bandwagon or simply prioritizing your health by adjusting your eating habits, there’s no doubt that adding more produce to your life is a positive move. A recent study showed that eating quality plant-based foods while cutting out meat, as well as heavily processed foods, could reduce your risk for heart disease. If you are slowly moving into the plant-based lifestyle, it does not mean that you have to completely exclude meat from your diet. Start by incorporating a “Meatless Monday” once, or even a couple of times, a week. Instead of focusing on animal-based protein as your main piece of your plate, use more plant-based proteins and include meat as a side. There are so many ways to start, and as a dietitian, I encourage you to find what works best for you. Plus, it’s easier than ever to find delicious plant-based options while grocery shopping, especially on Wholelotta Good.

Some of my favorite plant-based options that you can purchase right from our website are below. Try them out and leave a customer review to share how much you love them.

Plant-Based Food Ideas

Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Pizza Sauce: Perfect for your next plant-based homemade pizza! Most pizza sauces contain added sugar; this one does not.

Bada Bean Bada Boom Zesty Ranch: Have you ever tried broad beans? Also known as a fava bean, these little guys pack a punch of protein and fiber. This zesty ranch flavor is one that hits the spot with a crunch!

OWYN Dark Chocolate Protein Drink: Get your 20 grams of pea protein in, with minimal added sugars, healthy fats and a boost of broccoli, spinach and kale … all in one bottle! I promise you will love the taste and these are perfect to throw in your bag.

Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs: A crunchy puff, with fiber and protein? Count me in. These are perfect to use as a dipper with your veggies and hummus. I love the Vegan White Cheddar flavor but the Bohemian Barbeque is also right up my alley.

Hu Chocolate Covered Hunks: Did you think that I forgot about the chocolate? I certainly did not! Hu is one of my absolute favorite brands for sweet treats. The hunks are vegan, gluten- and dairy-free with minimal ingredients. My favorite? The Cashew + Vanilla Bean, but I encourage you to try them all!

As you can see, if you decide to jump on the plant-based bandwagon, you don’t have to fret about missing out on your favorites. As a plant-based diet beginner, make meatless meals part of your mealtime routine. Whether you opt to enjoy one plant-based meal per week, or fully convert to this eating pattern, more variety is always welcome at the dinner table. These Buffalo Cauliflower Lettuce Tacos are a great plant-based and fiber-friendly meal to add into your weekly meal plan.

Buffalo Cauliflower Lettuce Tacos

Serves 6

All you need:

1 lb. Hy-Vee Short Cuts cauliflower florets

1 tbsp Chosen Foods Organic Avocado, Coconut and Safflower Oil

Celtic Sea Salt

Simply Organic black pepper

½ cup Noble Made Mild Buffalo Dipping and Wing Sauce, plus additional for serving

12 leaves romaine lettuce

2 avocados, seeded, peeled and chopped

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup bias-sliced baby carrots

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

Primal Kitchen ranch dressing, for serving

From the Ground Up Cauliflower Pretzel Twists, crushed, for garnish

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking pan with foil. Arrange cauliflower on pan. Drizzle and toss with olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast cauliflower for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven; cool slightly. Drizzle cauliflower with ½ cup buffalo sauce; toss to coat. Return to oven; bake for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is lightly browned. Remove from oven.
  3. To serve, layer 2 romaine lettuce leaves together; place on a serving platter. Repeat with remaining leaves. Add ½ cup cauliflower to each leaf stack.
  4. Top with avocados, celery, carrots and blue cheese. Drizzle with additional buffalo sauce and ranch dressing. Garnish with pretzel twists, if desired.

Need help transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle? Work with our Hy-Vee dietitians for an additional resource! You can schedule a dietitian Discovery Session or a virtual store tour to help fit your needs. Visit our Hy-Vee Dietitian website to read more.

*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

About the Registered Dietitian      

Tori Sajovec RD, LD, received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics with a minor in English from Iowa State University. From there, her passions took her to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she completed her 10-month dietetic internship program through Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. As her knowledge of food and nutrition grew, so did her desire to educate customers and clients on their overall well-being. Her goal as a dietitian is to make health and wellness an insightful and enjoyable lifestyle for all.

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