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What is plant-based eating?

Plant-based eating includes vegan diets, vegetarian diets, and those that include only small amounts of animal products. This key similarity between these is the focus on eating a wide variety of plant foods. Plant-based eating means the diet is rich in whole, minimally processed plant foods including fruits and vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, nuts, and seeds.

What are the benefits?

Consuming more plants has a multitude of health benefits. Plant foods are full of fibre, plant proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

Some of the benefits of consuming more plants are:

  • supporting heart health – reducing the risk of stroke, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure;
  • improving gut health;
  • decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes;
  • decreased risk of many cancers;
  • decreased risk of obesity.

How can you meet your nutrient needs with a plant-based diet?

Aim for variety

By including a wide variety of plant-based foods, as well as foods from the other core food groups, you will have a balanced diet full of fibre, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which are all important for health and wellbeing.

Plan ahead

It's easier to meet your nutritional needs when you plan out your meals for the week. For example, think about what the key source of protein for the meal will be and what wholegrains and vegetables you will include.

Ensure adequate protein and iron sources

Not all sources of protein are the same. Plant-based proteins can miss some of the key components / building blocks such as amino acids that animal-based proteins contain. This is why it’s important to plan and aim for variety.

Some great sources of plant-based proteins are tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, legumes and edamame. Iron from plants is also harder for our bodies to absorb and is found in smaller amounts. Some good sources of plant-based iron are tofu, leafy greens, red kidney beans and fortified cereals. Plant-based iron paired with vitamin C will aid with absorption and so again planning out your meals can be a useful tool.

Talk to a healthcare professional

Seek advice from your GP and a dietitian about your own individual requirements and for strategies on how you can fit a plant-based style of eating within your lifestyle.


Want to know more about your individual requirements? Seek support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian.