Plant-Based Diet: What to Eat and a 14- Day Sample Menu

With the increasing popularity of consuming meals that help in boosting the health of an individual, plant-based diets have become quite the craze among fitness enthusiasts and foodies alike.

A plant-based diet includes meals primarily sourced from plants and incorporates complete or partial abstention from dairy and meat. Plant-based diets have gained popularity in recent times due to the plethora of benefits they can provide to their consumers. While these diets limit meat and dairy intake, it entirely depends upon the discretion of the consumer to restrict its intake or completely avoid it.

A plant-based diet can be differentiated into vegetarian, vegan, pesco-vegetarian (a plant-based diet that includes fish), flexitarian (diet plan that provides for mostly vegetarian diet but also incorporates limited animal products), ovo- vegetarian, Lacto- vegetarian (meal plans include dairy products), ovo- vegetarian (plant-based diet including both dairy and eggs) and raw vegan.

Benefits of plant-based diets

Plant-based diets help in ameliorating the symptoms of various ailments, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular ailments, and Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that following a plant-based diet has shown great effectiveness in reducing inflammation, improving kidney function, and alleviating the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment.

If you are planning to lose weight, following a plant-based diet can effectively help you to reach your desired goal. The phytochemicals present in a plant-based meal protect against cellular damage and reduce certain types of cancer, especially prostate, colorectal, breast, and gastrointestinal cancer.

Plant-based diets have shown great efficiency in improving gut health as well by boosting the levels of healthy bacteria in the body. Having a healthy gut helps in improving overall health. Just a few weeks of plant-based meals improves metabolism, strengthens the immune system, causes healthy bowel movements, and contributes to the proper regulation of appetite.

What can you include in a plant-based diet?

While some diets can include meat and dairy, others mention complete abstainments from those food sources.

To understand what can be included in a plant-based diet here is a basic rundown.

  • Proteins − beans, lentils, seitan, hummus, quinoa, chickpeas, tofu, and tempeh (Occasionally or completely off-limits): meats, eggs, seafood

  • Fat − avocado, avocado oil, unsweetened shredded coconut, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and nut butter

    Occasionally or completely off-limits): fried foods or desserts baked with refined grains, added sugar, margarine, or butter

  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, peanuts, pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, peanut butter, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds)Fruits and vegetables

  • Grains − brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, oatmeal, and brown rice pasta Occasionally or completely off-limits: white bread or pasta, cereals, white rice, desserts, crackers, refined grains' pastries

  • You can occasionally include dairy products like ice cream, milk, yogurt, and cheese.

  • Sweeteners − Maple and date syrup

    Occasionally or completely off-limits: white sugar or honey, especially if you are on a vegan diet.

  • Condiments & Sauces: mustard, salsa, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, dairy-free pesto, and tomato sauce

    Occasionally or completely off-limits: mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and ketchup

  • Herbs and spices

  • Beverages − water, coffee, nut-based milk, tea, soy milk, oat milk, hemp milk, rice milk, freshly squeezed juices

    Occasionally or completely off-limits: processed food juices, soda, milk, liquor, beer, and wine

Tips to start plant-based diets

  • If you are just starting a plant-based diet, your body won't feel great, especially if it is accustomed to animal-based meals. It is essential to start the diet with meals that provide sufficient energy for the body to function properly. Limit meat to only one meal daily, as sudden elimination from the diet can lead to health complications.

  • Prepare a diet plan ahead of your week to ensure all the nutrients are properly dispersed through the meal plans. You can also meal prep which will help in saving time in the long run.

  • Do not worry about the quantity of your plant-based meals. These foods are nutritious and dense but have fewer calories. It would be best if you had sufficient meals to sustain throughout the day.

  • Substitute your animal products with plant-based ingredients.

    For example

    • Egg- flax meal and water (for baking)/ tofu (for scrambling)

    • Gelatin or pudding- Chia pudding

    • Parmesan cheese- Nutritional yeast

    • Cow's milk- Soy milk, flax, almond, coconut, and oat milk

    • Mayonnaise- Hummus or vegan mayo

    • Butter- Coconut oil

    • Beef or chicken stock/ broth: veggie stock

  • It is essential to listen to the body during this period. You can slowly start limiting your meat, dairy, or seafood and follow a flexitarian approach. It is not uncommon to observe individuals not getting benefits even after following a proper plant diet plan. It is essential to identify the diet plan that works best for you.

14- Day Sample Menu




Day 1

Berry- Kefir smoothie with a medium apple or a PB&J sandwich

Green Salad with Hummus and Pita Bread; dry roasted almonds

Vegan Tacos with mixed green or any beverage of your choice

Day 2

Strawberry Banana smoothie with some trail mix

Greek Salad Wrap

Veggie Pasta

Day 3

Vegan protein shake

Quinoa Buddha Bowl with tahini dressing

Veggie sandwich with tomato soup and zucchini brownie

Day 4

Low-fat Plain Greek Yoghurt with assorted food bowl

Veggie Hummus sandwich with oranges and apples

Balsamic parmesan roasted vegetables and chickpeas with mixed greens

Day 5

Avocado toast with the juice of any fruit of your choice

Mushroom jerky with vegan pasta

Vegan wraps with grilled tofu and dressing

Day 6

Tofu scramble with whole grain toast and roasted edamame

Whole-wheat pasta salad with a side salad of greens

Vegan Pizza with strawberry lemon squares

Day 7

Whole-wheat vegan tortillas with trail mix

Vegetable- lentil soup with veggie rolls

Eggplant parmesan with baked potatoes and chocolate truffles

Day 8

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes with soy yogurt topped with fruits

Greek salad with apple slices dipped in nut butter and honey

Vegan rolls with kale and white bean soup and sweet potato fries

Day 9

Oatmeal with cashews and pineapples

Vegan burgers and green salad bowl and apples; dairy-free yogurt

Grilled tempeh, farro salad, and roasted broccoli with dressing

Day 10

Sweet potato nachos with juice or a fruit bowl

Vegan burrito bowl

Roasted quinoa and vegetable bowl with any vegan dessert of your choice

Day 11

Avocado spinach smoothie with cashew flatbread and any vegan dip

Plant-based ground beef tacos

Pasta salad with roasted veggies and vegan tarts

Day 12

Hummus breakfast bowl

White bean mushroom vegan cheese meatballs

Oil-free chocolate muffins with quinoa skillet

Day 13

Quinoa apple breakfast bowl with juice and bananas

Barley salad with peas, fava beans, and chickpeas

Sweet potato panini with peanut butter bar

Day 14

Tofu breakfast tacos with freshly pressed juices

Vegan BBQ stir fry

Ginger Garlic Tempeh bowl or Tofu spinach ricotta lasagna


Following a plant-based diet provides numerous advantages. From improving gut health to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, these meals help in improving the overall health of an individual drastically. However, there can be certain downsides associated with following these types of meals. It is not uncommon to observe individuals suffering from nutrient deficiency, including Omega- 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and calcium. Therefore, it is important to ensure all the major and micronutrients are included in your diet plans.