Plant-Based Pantry Staples For A Balanced-Diet
It’s no secret that plant-based diets have been linked to several health benefits however, just like any diet, you can still develop nutritional deficiencies if your meals are not balanced. To ensure you are eating a balanced diet, you will need to eat a variety of food groups that provide your body with various nutrients so it can function properly.
If you’re new to following a plant-based diet, finding balance can be a bit overwhelming. The best way to ensure you are eating a balanced diet is to include a source of each macronutrient within your meal, while also making sure it contains a variety of micronutrients.
Let’s take a look at what plant-based foods you should keep in your pantry and use to create balanced and healthy meals.
Macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates, and fat, are nutrients your body requires in large amounts to function and perform optimally. All three are used in various bodily processes and provide different benefits to your athletic performance and body composition.
Majority of foods you eat (especially plant-based ones) will contain a combination of protein, carbs, and fat. To keep things simple, I have categorised the below foods by what macronutrient they contain the most.
Consuming protein will help you feel satiated after your meal and keep you fuller for longer. Protein will also help support muscle growth and recovery.
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- Dried edamame
- Protein powder
- Dried lentils, beans and chickpeas
Carbohydrates for fuel:
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy and will fuel your central nervous system, heart muscles, brain, and kidneys.
- Rice cakes
- Wheat flour
Fats will provide your body with energy and assist with hormone production and the absorption of essential nutrients.
- Nut butter
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Flax seeds (great egg substitute)
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Cacao nibs
Your macronutrient breakdown will vary depending on your goals however, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends to use the following distribution ranges as a guide:
Protein: 10–35% of total calories
Carbohydrates: 45–65% of total calories
Fat: 20–35% of total calories
Your body only requires small amounts of micronutrients, but this does not mean they are less important for your health. They include vitamins and minerals that your body uses to maintain a healthy immune system, energy production, and growth.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in micronutrients, but here are a few pantry-friendly foods that are also rich in vital nutrients: