- Think quality instead of quantity
Proportions and so-called “serving sizes” are just guidelines. Focus not only on the amount of food you’re getting but also on the quality. The balance is a personal matter. For example, some people prefer to eat 5 smaller meals throughout the day while others feel better when having 3 large meals a day.
- Variety matters
Don’t just count serving sizes or calories. Introduce variety into your diet. Create your meals using different whole foods. Your diet should consist of proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. By eating various foods you will also get more vitamins and minerals in your diet.
- Include complex carbohydrates
Most health experts recommend getting at least some of your calories from complex carbohydrates. The complex carbs are foods like brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, and whole grain flour products (as opposed to overly processed white flours). Complex carbs are very nutrient dense. They contain many vitamins and minerals, as well as energy carbohydrates.
- Eat seasonal foods when you can
Getting local and seasonal produce will accomplish several things at once. It will support your local farmers, fill your fridge with fresh foods, and it will cut down on the environmental impact of your food. It takes a single truck less than a tank of gas to get to your farmer’s market, which is much more economical than getting apples from half-way across the world to your grocery store!
- Eat sea vegetables
Sea vegetables are among some of the most nutrient-dense foods available. They come with the widest array of minerals, from iron and vitamin K to iodine and B vitamins. Sea vegetables like nori and kelp are widely available in grocery stores and are absolutely great for you.
- Add fruits to your diet
Fruits are some of the easiest foods to incorporate into a diet. They are naturally sweet and usually don’t require much preparation or cooking. The best fruits to incorporate are called superfruits. They include acai berries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Tropical fruits are amazing additions as well, but make sure they’re free of added sweeteners.
- Consume beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are great sources of protein in particular and nutrition in general. They’re higher in protein and fats than the whole grains. However, the best way to go is to combine them with the whole grains because in this scenario you get all the 9 essential amino acids you need to create whole proteins. The higher the quality of beans and legumes, the better. Organic beans and legumes are definitely worth buying.
- Add nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in monounsaturated fats, minerals, fibers, and protein. The fats will help you feel fuller faster and help you eat less overall. Nuts and seeds make great snacks, especially if you soak them overnight in cool water. This will make them easier to digest. Just fill up a little container and or a bag and keep them on hand to deal with hunger during the day.
- Don’t forget about healthy fats
There are good fats and bad fats. Bad fats are almost exclusively contained in meat and animal products like butter and cheese. Diets that include monounsaturated fats from avocados, nuts, olives, and vegetable/canola oils come with a substantially lower risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the US!
- You can have some sweets, too
Going vegan doesn’t mean giving up all of the delicious treats and sweets you love. Many people crave sugar, which is really easy to get in foods, but come it comes with all kinds of complications arising from it. Instead, try using agave syrup or molasses to replace your sugar. Both are healthier options. Agave as vitamins and minerals in it and blackstrap molasses contains a fair amount of minerals.