By Gretchen Wiese, RD and Kathleen Hill Gallant, PhD, RD
Why start a plant-based diet?
Tips for starting a plant-based diet
- Replace animal sources of protein (beef, fish, dairy) with plant sources of protein (legumes, nuts, soy, tofu, or grains) at a meal or snack.
- Replace more processed grain products with whole grain products.
- Keep track of the calories and protein you eat daily to make sure you are meeting your needs.
What to look for on the nutrition facts label
- Serving Sizes: We tend to eat more than one serving of many food. Pay attention to the amount of protein, calories, and important minerals (like sodium and potassium) per serving of a food product.
- Sodium and Potassium: Some minerals may be out of balance in your body due to lower kidney function. Pay attention to the amount of potassium and sodium on the nutrition label. Large amounts of potassium can be found in some fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Large amounts of sodium can be found in some soy-based or other plant-based meat substitutes (such as soy-based burgers, hot dogs, or deli meats).
Typical Serving Sizes of Plant Protein
- ½ cup of cooked beans (6-15 g protein)
- ¼ cup of nuts (8 g protein)
- 2 tablespoons nut butter/spread (8 g protein)
- ½ cup of cooked brown rice/noodles (4-7 g protein)
- 1 slice of whole grain bread (5 g protein)
- 1 unit of a soy-based meat alternative (example, 1 soy-burger patty) (10-20 g protein)
Hamburger patty (3.5 oz.)
Soy burger patty (3.5 oz.)
1 Hardboiled egg
1/4 cup almonds
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Atlantic Cod (3.5 oz.)
Tofu, firm (3 oz.)