Beginner’s Guide to Eating a Plant-Based Diet

Answering the most common questions about eating a plant-based diet and how to start transitioning.

We’ve all heard about the “trendy” plant-based diet. But it’s more than just a trend! It’s great for those who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and can even help improve mental health. We recommend reading about the benefits of a plant-based diet to learn more! While that sounds nice and dandy, we live in a world where it’s easier to drive through your local fast-food restaurant than to meal prep a week’s worth of food. Our goal is to help spread awareness of how approachable eating a wholesome diet can be. In this guide, you will find the answers to the most commonly asked questions and our favorite tips on making better food choices in your day-to-day life.

What is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet consists of minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. This is not to be confused with a vegetarian and vegan diet. Many plant-based eaters still enjoy meat and dairy products. We like to consider this diet as “plant-focused,” meaning it prioritizes naturally grown foods rather than heavily processed ones (while you can certainly still enjoy a nice Big Mac from time to time).

Is eating a plant-based diet expensive?

No! It’s quite the opposite. According to a study in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, meat-eaters can save $750 a year by switching to a plant-based diet. But it doesn’t stop there! Eating a healthy plant-based diet could help lower your risk for serious long-term diseases saving you thousands of dollars in medical bills. Sounds like a win-win situation!

How will I get my protein?

This question pops up a lot. Luckily, protein can be found in many plant foods like beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, and seeds. The most important thing to know is when your body shows signs of protein deficiency. You will know you’re not getting enough protein when your body starts to swell and you start to experience mood swings, fatigue, and frequent food cravings, especially sweets. If that’s the case, make adjustments to your diet as needed.

Will I feel full and satisfied eating a plant-based diet?

Yes! A plant-based diet can be very satisfying and filling. Whole foods are generally high in fiber, which can help you feel full for extended periods. Adding healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and seeds to your meals can also help you feel more satisfied. If you’re still not feeling full, trust your gut. Listen to your body and eat as much as you need. Besides, this is a journey, not a race. Find what works best for you!

How do I deal with social situations, such as dining out or family gatherings?

We understand navigating social situations following a plant-based diet can be challenging. However, there are usually plant-based options available at most restaurants, and you can always let your server know your dietary needs. When attending family gatherings, bring a plant-based dish to share! Communicating with your family about your dietary needs is also helpful. You could inspire others to make better food choices. Worst case, let yourself be free! We don’t believe in boxes. While a plant-based diet is the healthiest, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the rules 100% of the time!


See, it’s not so bad! There are certainly pros to eating a plant-based diet. But it’s easier said than done. So here are our top tips on transitioning to a plant-based diet and sticking with it!

  1. Start small – you don’t need to go all out right away (unless you want to). This is a journey that certainly looks different to everyone. Make small changes, like switching your white bread to whole wheat. Eat a raw diet until 4 pm, then eat what you want at night. Eat out one day less this week. Get creative!
  1. Motivation isn’t constant – feeling invincible one day and like a failure the next is okay. Inspiration isn’t linear. It ebbs and flows. Understanding and allowing yourself to have your lows will help you reach your highs. When you’re feeling unmotivated, we recommend trying a new recipe to get the sparks flying again!
  1. Never stop learning – there’s so much to know about a healthy diet. Everything seems simple, but there’s more to it than that. We’re a big fan of books! We recommend reading Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz MD.
  1. Listen to your body – since we’re here for the journey, it’s important to note that our bodies may respond differently to these changes, especially when you’ve lived a particular lifestyle for so long. Look for cues that your body is trying to tell you. For example, being mindful will not only help you eat what’s best for you, but it will also help you stay consistent with what makes you feel good.

For more information on what you should look for when shopping for plant-based foods, check out our posts on what you’ll find in our grocery carts and how fibrous foods can benefit your health!

*While research suggests that plant-based diets can improve mental health and other chronic diseases, it’s important to note that everyone’s dietary needs are unique. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about making any dietary changes.

About Ciara Kehoe

Ciara is a writer and food photographer living in Pennsylvania. Her love of writing and food began from a young age and has continued to blossom as she’s worked with a variety of food and recipe companies. Everyday, she’s inspired to learn more in the health and wellness industry to become the best version of herself, and to help others along the way.

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