Plant Based Diet Meal Plan For Beginners: 21 Days of Whole Food Recipes (2024)

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Thinking of trying a Plant-Based diet meal plan, but not sure where to start? This beginner’s guide walks you through everything you need to know to lose weight and achieve your healthy eating goals.

Plant Based Diet Meal Plan For Beginners: 21 Days of Whole Food Recipes (1)

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Forget orange, plant-based diets are the new black!

Recently I stumbled on to a few articles about the many health benefits offered by the whole food plant-based diet, and I could not drag myself away.

Nutritionists, bloggers, and gurus all appear to be on the same page when it comes to this healthy eating weight loss plan: Plant-based diets are trending, and all signs point to great health.

If you’ve been thinking of starting a plant-based diet, but you’re not sure where to begin, grab a cup of coffee, a glass of pinot, or your favorite smoothie, and get ready to find out everything you need to know about getting started!

This beginner’s guide covers all the bases.

Today you’ll find out why everyone and their mom is talking about the plant-based diet.

We’ll review the benefits, how to meal plan to save some cash, what to eat and buy at the grocery store, what foods to avoid like the plague, what foods to get in your belly right now, and, finally, 30 plant-based diet recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

Whole food, plant-based diets are heart healthy, environment-friendly, type-2 diabetes-fighting lifestyle eating plans that celebrate food and nourish your body. On a plant-based diet, you’ll focus on eating whole or non-processed foods and plants like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.

Psst:It’s not the same as vegan. I could go on & on about this, but I don’t want to confuse you, because it is VERY CONFUSING!

You’ll see and hear people refer to the plant-based diet as vegan a lot. But they aren’t the same.

Vegans don’t eat any animal products: no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no honey-because it originated from a conscious being. Sounds healthy until you think about what a vegan can eat.

Technically, a vegan can eat Oreos & French Fries all day since they did not come from or use any animal product.

Now, this isn’t the case on a plant-based diet.

A plant-based diet is similar to vegan in that they both avoid animal products, but a plant-based diet takes it a step further and excludes all processed foods and fast foods-even the ones that are technically considered vegan.

So no Oreos & Fries for you.

Why is any of this important? You need to know about the differences in these diets because when you are searching for cookbooks or recipes, this 411 will put you ahead of the game. And, you need to know what you can & cannot eat! (More on that later)

Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

Gut Health

Plant-based diets that are full of whole grains, legumes, and seeds support gut health by increasing the healthy bacteria in our GI tract.

Diabetes

Both The American Diabetes Association and The American Academy of Dietetics recommend the plant-based diet for patients with diabetes.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women (& men) in the United States. Plant-based diets reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and helping with weight loss.

Cancer

Recent research shows us plant-based diets may help with slowing the progression of some cancers due to the antioxidant content of whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables.

Weight Loss

With no calories or macros to count or portions to measure, many find plant-based diets easier to manage compared to other weight loss programs.

Another contributing factor to weight loss on a plant-based diet is the fiber-rich fruits and vegetables which keep you feeling full and less hungry causing you to eat less.

Last but not least, the elimination of processed foods and sugar also help lead to a lower number on the scale.

Plant-Based Diet Meal Planning

Ask any nutrition expert what the number 1 tip is to lose weight, and he or she will tell you to meal plan! Meal planning is the best way to stick to every diet no matter what type it is! Here are a few of the many benefits of meal planning on a plant-based diet.

Save Time & Money: Having a plan will eliminate last minute drive through dinners and meals and the dreaded “What’s for dinner” conversation! Those last minute runs to the store are costing you more than you think! Planning means choosing plant-based recipes with fruits & veggies that are in season & less expensive.

Helps You Make Good Choices: Keeping the fridge & pantry stocked with healthy fruits and veggies will eliminate those midnight madness snacks. You know, when you raid your kids Halloween candy stash or opt to drive through Taco Bell because, hey, we’re busy people!

Makes Grocery Shopping Easy: When you’ve got a recipe line-up, you can whip in and out of the store like a boss because you’ve got a plan! You make ONE trip to the store for everything. No more last minute trips!

How To Meal Plan + Prep Without Spending All Day In The Kitchen

Do Not Spend All Day Meal Prepping!

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Unless you want to get burned out or meal prep is your passion. In that case, go for it! Otherwise, set a timer for two hours & when it dings you are DONE! That’s enough time to prep veggies, legumes, cook grains, and pick out recipes if needed. Enjoy your weekend! Don’t do too much at once. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in two focused hours!

Batch Cook

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Cook up a big batch of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or barley to go with your weekly meals on Saturday or Sunday.

Soak & cook chickpeas and beans on your preferred meal prep day. Then portion them out for salads, buddha bowls, and chilis. This process will not take up your entire day, but it will save you tons of time later in the week!

Make A Plan

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Set aside 45 minutes or so and select your recipes for the week. Save them on your phone by taking a screenshot or save them on a Pinterest board or go old-school and print them out! Just keep them someplace safe!

This guide gives you 30 days of recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you have time to develop a system that works for you going forward!

Save Money

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Shop the sales in the Sunday newspaper. (Yes, this is still a thing!) Select your weekly recipes according to what you can buy for less!

Check to see what grocery stores in your area double coupons. You can save a TON this way & no; you don’t have to be an extreme coupon to do it!

Save big online shopping by using apps like Ebates & ibotta. (These are my favorite shopping apps because they allow me to earn cash back rebates at stores like Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, Sam’s, & Whole Foods.)

Check out Thrive Market!

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They are on a mission to make the best healthy foods & products affordable & accessible to everyone – Their prices are up to 50% off – everyday. Seriously, you need to get in on this online shopping action if you haven’t already.

Use Multi-Purpose Recipes

Find recipes you can double or you know will allow for leftovers you can eat for lunch. You know, Monday night’s chili turns into Tuesday’s Taco type of thing! I’ve included several multi-purpose plant-based recipes below in case you’re interested. See chili, soups, and [vegan] burgers.

Don’t Get Too Gourmet

Start with simple recipes and build your way up. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a gorgeous Pinterest 15-step recipe and wear yourself out. Start with easy recipes!

Ok. So, you need a little more to go on than just “no processed foods” and “eat healthy grains” & go shop at Thrive before you make your list to stock your pantry for the first time, right?

Here’s a fantastic plant-based starter list of the most nutrient dense vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Remember-you don’t have to buy all of these!

To keep costs down, buy fruits and veggies that are in season and buy in bulk when you can! Ready to do this? Thought so:)

Want A Copy of Plant Based Diet For Beginners?

Vegetables

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Lettuce

Kale

Spinach

Cabbage

Swiss Chard

Arugula

Bok Choy

Collard Greens

Mustard Greens

Endive

Carrots

Beets

Turnips

Sweet Potato

Potato

Radishes

Garlic

Onions

Asparagus

Celery

Broccoli

Zucchini

Squash

Eggplant

Cucumber

Peas

Tomato

Bell Pepper

Cauliflower

Mushrooms

Fruit

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Whole fruit (not canned)

Citrus Fruits

Apples

Pears

Plums

Peaches

Berries

Grapes

Melon

Bananas

Pineapple

Mango

Kiwi

Whole Grains

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Buckwheat

Millet

Oats

Quinoa

Brown Rice

Whole Wheat

Legumes

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Beans

Peas

Peanuts

Chickpeas

Nuts & Seeds

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Almonds

Cashews

Walnuts

Pumpkin Seeds

Chia Seeds

Flaxseed

Natural Peanut Butter

Foods To Avoid (In Case You Get Tempted)

Refined Grains: White Rice, White Pasta, White Bread
Processed Food: Candy, Cake, Pastries, Chips
Fast Food
Meat
Fish
Pork
Poultry
Seafood
Dairy
Eggs

Plant-Based Diet Protein Sources

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Wondering where on earth you’ll get your protein? (FYI: The recommended amount is 46 grams per day:)

The key is selecting the right plant-based foods so you can make sure you get the proper amount. Here are a few of the best sources of plant-based protein.

A couple of these may be new to you (Natto???), so I included a very brief description to the side:)

Lentils: 18 Grams of Protein Per Serving

Natto: (Fermented Soybean, Available at Specialty Stores) 31 Grams of Protein Per One Cup Serving

Chickpeas: 14 Grams of Protein Per Serving

Quinoa: (Whole-Grain Superfood) 8 Grams of Protein Per 1 Cup Serving

Almonds: 6 Grams of Protein Per Serving

Chia Seeds: 6 Grams of Protein Per 2 Tablespoons

Tempeh: (From Soybeans, Available at Health Food Stores) 18 Grams of Protein Per Serving

Tofu: (From Condensed Soy milk) 15 Grams of Protein Per Serving

Seitan: (Meat Substitute, Available at Whole Foods) 21 Grams of Protein Per 1/3 Cup Serving

Edamame: 17 Grams of Protein Per One Cup Serving

Ready to find out if the whole food, plant-based lifestyle is right for you? Here are some of the most delicious, protein-filled plant-based recipes for beginners for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Plant-Based Diet Breakfast Recipes

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Easy Chia Pudding ~ Word To Your Mother Blog

Chickpea Flour Scramble ~ Vegan Richa

Vegan Chocolate Zoats ~ Vegan Heaven

Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars ~ Word To Your Mother Blog

Vegan Breakfast Skillet ~ Heather Christo

Make Ahead Berry Quinoa Breakfast Bowls ~ Word To Your Mother Blog

Strawberry Smoothie ~ Word To Your Mother Blog

Healthy No Bake Carrot Cake Breakfast Bars ~ The Big Man’s World

Vegan Breakfast Burrito ~ Delightful Adventures

Vegan Breakfast Bowl ~ Contentedness Cooking

Banana-Oat Chocolate Chip Pancakes ~ Forks Over Knives

Farmers Market Vegan Breakfast Bowl ~ Choosing Chia

Overnight Coconut Buckwheat Porridge ~ Foolproof Living

Chickpea Flour Mini Veggie Frittatas ~ The Mostly Vegan

Simple Vegan Breakfast Toast (Not Boring) ~ Veganosity

Easy Overnight Oats With Chia ~ Forks Over Knives

Chickpea Flour Omelet With Curried Peas ~ Plant-Based Cooking

Quick & Easy Banana Porridge With Warm Berries ~ Healthy & Psyched

Fruit & Nut Oatmeal ~ Forks Over Knives

Healthy Banana Bread ~ Cookie & Kate

Potato + Walnut Quinoa Bowl ~ MindBodyGreen

Cardamom Cinnamon Oil Free Breakfast Granola ~ Sprouting Zen

Easy Vegan Breakfast Burrito ~ The Awesome Green

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Quiche ~ V Nutrition And Wellness

Simple Vegan Cashew Yogurt ~ Simple Vegan Blog

Tropical Acai Bowl ~ Cookie + Kate

Coffee Granola ~ Veggie Inspired

Basic Stovetop Old Fashioned Oatmeal (Vegan) ~ Natt Wrobel

Peanut Butter Acai Bowl ~ Bakerita

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Bowl ~ I Love Vegan

Plant-Based Diet Lunch Recipes

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Black Bean Wrap ~ Veggie Primer

Mango & Black Bean Tacos ~ Forks Over Knives

California Chopped Kale Salad ~The Glowing Fridge

Mediterranean Pinwheels ~ Contentedness Cooking

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls ~ Cookie + Kate

Vegan Hummus Wrap ~ Ahead of Thyme

Quick Nori Roll With Cucumber And Avocado ~ Chocolate & Zucchini

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad ~ Emilie Eats

Curried Chickpea Lettuce Wraps ~ Beauty Bites

Crispy Chimichurri Cauliflower Tacos ~ This Savory Vegan

Simple Vegan Potato Salad ~ Minimalist Baker

Turmeric Roasted Chickpea Carrot Salad With Apple Cider Tahini Dressing ~ Cotter Crunch

Vegan Apple Broccoli Salad ~ Vegan In The Freezer

Vegan Basil Ricotta Pinwheels ~ Vegan Heaven

15 Minute Garlic Cashew Lime Zoodles ~ Salt & Lavender

Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale & Cranberry Couscous ~ Gimme Some Oven

Quick & Easy Vegan Buddha Bowl ~ Savor + Savvy

Roasted Sweet Potato And Cauliflower Rice Collard Wraps ~ The Roasted Root

Loaded Kale Salad ~ The Minimalist Baker

Spicy Cauliflower Power Bowl ~ Pumpkin & Peanut Butter

Honey Lime Quinoa Fruit Salad ~ The Recipe Critic

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes With Easy Thai Peanut Sauce ~ Quite Good Food

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls ~ Joyful Healthy Eats

Roasted Vegetable Nourish Bowl ~ Real + Vibrant

Easy Asparagus White Bean Salad ~ C Nutritionally

Rad Rainbow Raw Pad Thai ~ Oh She Glows

Stuffed Za’atar Roasted Acorn Squash W/Pepper-Lemon Tahini Sauce ~ Dolly And Oatmeal

Vegan Black Bean Ceviche ~ Fooduzzi

Brown Rice, Black Bean & Sweet Potato Bowl ~ Cooking With co*cktail Rings

Mexican Four Bean Salad ~ Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Plant-Based Diet Dinner Recipes

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Killer Vegan Chili ~ Eat Healthy Eat Happy

Slow Cooker Moroccan Sweet Potato Soup with Lentils ~ Word To Your Mother Blog

Vegan Portobello Pot Roast ~ A Virtual Vegan

Roasted Garlic And Red Pepper Zoodles ~ Running On Real Food

BBQ Cauliflower Tacos With Pineapple Salsa ~ Blissful Basil

Fat-Busting Vegetarian Collard Greens Soup ~ Eat Healthy Eat Happy

Healthy Mexican Vegetarian Casserole – Word To Your Mother Blog

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers With Vegan Jalapeno Cream Sauce ~ This Savory Vegan

Crockpot Vegetable Lentil Soup ~ Dear Crissy

Vegan Crispy Hawaiian Garlic Tofu ~ Rabbit And Wolves

Enchilada Power Bowls With Spicy Tofu ~ Full Of Plants

One-Pot Mediterranean Quinoa With Spinach & Chickpeas ~ Simply Quinoa

Baked Black Bean & Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers ~ Joy Food Sunshine

Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers ~ Minimalist Baker

Vegan Taquitos With Chipotle Sauce ~ Vegan Heaven

Quinoa & Kale Quesadillas ~ Love And Lemons

Bang Bang Cauliflower Tacos ~ Unbound Wellness

Easy Homemade Vegan Bean Burritos ~ Nutriciously

Sesame Cashew Tofu With Sweet Potato Noodles ~ Dishing Out Health

Plant-Based Nachos ~ My Plant-Based Family

Vegan Sausage Ragu ~ Monkey & Me

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup ~ A Pinch Of Healthy

Lentil Meatballs ~ Well Plated

Plant-Based BBQ Veggie Burgers ~ Abbey’s Kitchen

Loaded Baked Potato & Cauliflower Soup With Coconut Bacon ~ Vegetarian Ventures

Chipotle Cauliflower Nachos With Pineapple Salsa ~ Love & Lemons

Vegetable Herb Quinoa Pilaf With Roasted Turmeric Chickpeas ~ Nutrition To Fit

Vegan Ratatouille ~ A Clean Bake

One-Pot Lentil And Butternut Squash Chili ~ Yay For Food

Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant With Tahini ~ Simply Quinoa

Key Take-Home Points

We covered a lot of ground today, so let’s take a moment to recap the highlights.

A Plant-Based Diet Meal Plan offers tons of health benefits from reducing your risk of heart disease to diabetes management to gut health and weight reduction.

Focus on crowding-out the foods you need to avoid on a plant-based diet with healthy, whole foods.

Meal planning and preparing your meals in advance will make transitioning and sticking to a plant-based diet easier to sustain long term.

Buying vegetables and fruits when they are in-season and shopping sales online, in local newspapers, store fliers, and at Thrive Market will allow you to eat a healthy, plant-based diet on any budget.

Remember, small steps towards healthy eating habits add up to big rewards in the long run!

Don’t Forget To Grab Your Plant Based PDF Here!

Did I Miss Anything?

Do you have enough information to decide if a plant-based diet is right for you?

Or are you still on the fence?

Either way, please let me know by leaving a comment below!

Plant Based Diet Meal Plan For Beginners: 21 Days of Whole Food Recipes (16)

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