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A Plant-Based Diet for Meat Lovers

Picture of American Specialty Health
By American Specialty Health on April 30, 2021
A Plant-Based Diet for Meat Lovers

Does all the talk about going plant-based have you hugging your beloved burgers a bit more tightly? The truth is, if you’re a meat lover who would like the benefits of a more plant-based diet, you can have it both ways.

Do you feel guilty about ordering a burger when others are gushing over plant-based menu choices? There’s no need to feel guilty! It’s true that a whole-foods, plant-based diet supports good blood pressure, heart health, weight management, and more, but you don’t have to give up meat altogether to reap benefits like those. You can go plant-based by simply shifting the focus of your eating plan. That means changing the role that meat plays in your diet from star to supporting player.

So how can you make the shift? Here are 4 easy ways to get started.

GettyImages-530415758_aAdd simple plant foods

Slowly add more fruits, veggies, and nuts to your diet. For example, try to eat at least one simply prepared vegetable or serving of fruit in each meal and snack. Enjoy tasty, in-season produce such as asparagus, apricots, or pineapples this spring.

Here are a few more ideas: Replace a snack of jerky with a handful of nuts. Trade your next cheesy, meaty pizza for pasta with pesto and shrimp and a garden salad. Instead of tamales, order veggie fajitas with corn tortillas. Grill a hearty portabella mushroom instead of a burger.


Subtract some animal-based foods

Cut back on processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meat. Cook with olive oil and other vegetable oils instead of butter or animal fat. Try a tofu scramble instead of eggs one morning.

Another approach is to continue to eat fish, poultry and meat, eggs, and dairy, but try to keep portions small.

GettyImages-944831208_aGo easy on highly processed foods

One way to include more whole, plant-based foods in your eating plan is to cut back on junk food. Limit packaged snacks, candy, and drinks with added sugar. Replace white rice, pasta, and bread, with whole grain versions, such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Whether you’re eating meals or snacks, think whole and natural.

GettyImages-1169976564_aStart small

If eating plant-based is a goal of yours, or if your doctor has recommended that for you, you may want to start with small changes at first. Then, if you wish, you can make your diet more plant-based over time. You don’t have to give up meat. Just reach for plant-based whole foods more often. Making even one small change this week counts toward a healthier life.


Not a member? You can find more helpful healthy living tips like this by joining the Silver&Fit® program today! Learn more about everything the program has to offer here on our website.


This information is not intended to take the place of regular medical care or advice. Please check with your doctor before using this information or beginning any self-care program.


Kahleova, H., Levin, S., & Barnard, N. (2017). Cardio-metabolic benefits of plant-based diets. Nutrients, 9(8), pii, E848. doi:10.3390/nu9080848

Patel, H., Chandra, S., Alexander, S., Soble, J., & Williams, K. A., Sr. (2017). Plant-based nutrition: An essential component of cardiovascular disease prevention and management. Current Cardiology Reports, 19(10), 104. doi:10.1007/s11886-017-0909-z

Satija, A., Bhupathiraju, S. N., Rimm, E. B., Spiegelman, D., Chiuve, S. E., Borgi, L., . . . Hu, F. B. (2016). Plant-based dietary patterns and incidence of type 2 diabetes in US men and women: Results from three prospective cohort studies. PLoS Medicine, 13(6), e1002039. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002039

Satija, A., Bhupathiraju, S. N., Spiegelman, D., Chiuve, S. E., Manson, J. E., Willett, W., . . . Hu, F. B. (2017). Healthful and unhealthful plant-based diets and the risk of coronary heart disease in U.S. adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 70(4), 411-422. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.047


This article was written by Sharon Odegaard; edited by Candace Hodges; and, clinically reviewed
by Elizabeth Thompson, MPH, RDN.


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