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5 Tips to Maintain a Balanced Diet As a Vegan

 The human body needs plenty of nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, fat, and different minerals, to function properly.  As long as your body receives these essential nutrients in the required amounts, it will continue to thrive. Thus, it does not matter if these nutrients come from animal-based sources or plant-based sources. If you are transitioning into veganism, you may hear a lot of things about the vegan diet. However, it is possible to maintain a balanced diet while relying on only plant-based food and supplements. Here’s how:

  1. Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Vitamins

On a vegan diet, a few servings of green leafy and orange vegetables can fulfill your daily requirements of vitamin A. However, vitamin B12, which is essential for various cellular functions, does not naturally occur in plant-based food. You may need to use some vegan-friendly supplements to compensate for that. A majority of the vegan population uses the best vegan vitamins and relies on these for their daily intake of vitamin B12. Before you add them to your diet, always consult with a nutritionist or doctor. For vitamin C, you have options like oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, kiwifruit, and tomatoes. Additionally, you need to choose vitamin D-fortified food such as cereal, orange juice, and plant-based milk.

  1. Choose High Protein Food Items

Major vegan protein sources include legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), seeds, and nuts. You also get a certain amount of protein from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Try to consume at least three servings of legumes per day and prioritize whole grains over refined grains. You should also add a couple of servings of nuts and seeds on a daily basis. In case you are unable to add these items to your diet in the recommended amount, you may need to rely on supplements to get enough plant-based protein and essential amino acids.

  1. Avoid Food with High Levels of Sodium, Added Sugars, and Fats

Vegan products such as “faux meats” are usually processed and have a high amount of salt. Always read the nutrition labels and check the percentage of sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats. Limiting your total sodium intake to a maximum of 2,300 milligrams per day can help prevent or regulate high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), men should not consume more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar on a daily basis, while the limit for women is 6 teaspoons (25 grams). AHA further recommends that only 5% of your daily calories should come from saturated fats.

  1. Fulfill Your Daily Calcium Requirement

For optimal bone health, you need to have an adequate amount of calcium in your diet. Many people have this misconception that one must consume dairy products to get enough calcium. There is no denying that dairy food is one of the greatest sources of calcium. However, you can get a good amount of calcium from many plant-based food items. You can add cooked kale or collard greens to your diet to fulfill the calcium requirement. You should also consult a nutritionist and start taking calcium supplements that have vitamin D to help you with calcium absorption.

  1. Limit Your Carbohydrate Intake

Most vegans load up on bread as they no longer consume meat. However, try not to eat too many refined carbohydrates. It can cause blood sugar fluctuations, weight gain, and other health issues. Instead, add more whole grains to your diet. Oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are some of the healthier alternatives to refined carbs. You need around 100-150 grams of carbs on a daily basis. A low-carb diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Key Takeaways

You need to rely on a combination of whole-plant food, fortified food, and supplements in order to live a healthy vegan lifestyle. The aim is to get all the essential nutrients and vitamins in your daily meals so that your body can function properly. There is a misconception that you do not get enough nutrients from a vegan diet. However, if you follow the aforementioned tips, you will be able to maintain a balanced diet and enjoy life to the fullest.

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