Can a vegan diet can really help us sustain a healthy lifestyle?
How to make a veganism work for YOU: Nutritionist reveals the food groups that MUST be in every meal if you want to follow a plant-based diet (and the vitamins you actually need)
- Nutritionist Jenna Hope talks through how to follow a healthy vegan lifestyle
- Key is planning meals to include alternatives for food groups you’re cutting out
- Also need to pay attention to vitamins to ensure your body is not deficient
A nutritionist has revealed the rules you need to follow if you want to make a vegan diet work long-term.
Jenna Hope, nutritionist for UK-based Transformation Chef, explained it is crucial to integrate key food groups into your plant-based meals.
She also outlined the vitamins you should pay special attention to so as to make sure your body does not have any deficiencies.
A nutritionist has revealed the rules you need to follow if you want to make a vegan diet work long-term. Stock image
Those on a vegan diet are more restricted than those who eat animal products. As a result ‘this means that they have an increased risk of nutrient deficiencies’, according to Jenna.
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‘Food diversity is also important for obtaining a healthy gut microbiome which we now know is associated with many factors of overall health including weight management, sleep and immune function to name a few.
‘Those on a vegan diet should be mindful to ensure that the majority of their diet is made up of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds as opposed to heavily processed vegan products.’
Jenna Hope, nutritionist for UK-based Transformation Chef, pictured, explained it is crucial to integrate key food groups into your plant-based meals
The food groups that should be in every meal
A vegan plate should look similar to that of a non-vegan plate in terms of food group balance.
For each meal, Jenna recommends non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, aubergine, fennel, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, courgette etc.
She continued: ‘Meals should then also contain sources of proteins like quinoa, beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu or nuts and complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, brown rice, cous-cous or butternut squash.
‘It’s important to also add source of healthy fats to each meal as these help with nutrient absorption, insulation, hormone production and inflammation.
‘So foods like seeds, olive oil and avocado are great vegan options.’
Meals should contain sources of proteins like quinoa, beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, nuts, seeds, tempeh, seitan. Picture, a cauliflower based dish from the Transformation Chef
What about vitamins?
If you’re avoiding meat and cutting out whole food groups it can be challenging to get all the nutrients and vitamins you need in your diet – but it’s far from impossible.
Jenna said: ‘Calcium is essential for bone health and is usually found in dairy products. However it can also be found in green leafy vegetables and fortified plant-milks.
‘Iodine is essential for thyroid function and usually found in dairy and white fish. But if you are going vegan you can find it in sea vegetables such as seaweed, potatoes and prunes.
And while vitamin D can be found in sunlight and foods such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs – vegans could find themselves lacking in it.
However, as Jenna noted: ‘It is incredibly difficult to obtain through the diet and its recommended that the UK population supplement with a protein powder or supplement.’
The spinach and chickpea curry is high in complex carbohydrates and is packed with beta-carotene which is essential for healthy skin, immune function and eye health
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