7-Day Plant-Based Mealplan
Here is everything you need to know to give plant-based nutrition a go and see if it is for you. It’s only a week so all you have to do is stick to it for 7 days. And since it’s only a short period of time you don’t need to worry about supplements or even understand how any of this works. Your goal here is to see whether you feel better, have more energy and feel more rested every morning. In short, if you want to find out if this is for you and whether you can do it long term - if that is something you are considering, this is how you can go about it.
A very important thing to note here is that plant-based nutrition is not about swapping like-for-like. It’s different. It’s not simply switching from animal-based junk food to plant-based junk food, it’s making better choices, getting the most of the food we eat and reaping maximum benefits.
Just like with anything new it takes time to adapt and learn to eat the right things in the right amounts. When we stop relying on animal products for nutrition we suddenly find ourselves in the world of “What do I even eat?”. That’s ok, everyone feels that way at first.
Our primary sources of nutrition will be whole grains, beans and legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. Feel free to use spices and condiments to make your dishes taste more to your liking. Add more fruit, berries and mushrooms if you would like, too. This plan was created to be versatile but realistic, something most people can afford to try and then be able to follow. A few tips, swaps and make-things-easier recommendations can be found at the bottom of this page.
Three meals a day 7-day menu
Click on each plate for amounts, step-by-step recipes and complete nutritional profile.
What to expect during your first plant-based week
Variety is crucial in any diet for a healthy body and it is especially true for a plant-based regimen since, by avoiding animal products, we have to synthesize a lot of our own nutrients. When we rely on animal products we often get a complete package since they’ve already done most of the work that our body would normally do, for us. With plant-based eating all the heavy lifting is done by us, with every meal. It’s very different in how we process food so it does take time to adjust and change gears.
If you are used to eating the same things every day you will find that your body will not immediately be able to handle exclusively plant-based dishes. Especially if your diet up until now was very low in fiber. The bacteria living in our gut is responsible for processing the food, once we are done with it, most likely lacks diversity and won’t have the “manpower”, so to speak, to deal with the fiber coming in. This will manifest in you being bloated or having excess gas. That’s totally normal and you will quickly adjust but you may have to suffer through a rough patch there. With extra fiber in your diet the diversity in your gut will quickly improve (which is a really, really good thing for your health and fitness) and you will be able to easily handle it and feel great. It’s just that initial reaction you need to be aware of, and it is a very common one.
The best recommendation would be for you to swap things that make you feel the most bloated (like broccoli, for example, if you react to it the most) and reduce the amounts you consume at one time. Slowly increasing the amount of fiber you eat can significantly improve how you feel. All that’s happening is, as the bacteria in your gut ferment the food, they release gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane and the pressure, in the beginning, is making you feel uncomfortable. This is something that will go away as your body adjusts to processing a new type of food.
It also takes time for your taste to re-adjust as well so it’s normal if food doesn’t taste that great during your trial. Food may appear tasteless in the beginning because your taste buds have been dulled. Most people, once they go off excess salt, sugar and oil in their diet, begin to taste flavours that were hidden before. After less than two weeks food begins to taste really good in its natural form. It’s just something to be aware of. Plant-based junk food tastes just as good as any regular junk but this guide is designed to give you the best jump start you can get.
Most people notice improvements in how they look and feel already after just seven days. You can expect improvement in:
- Your mood;
- Your skin;
- Your energy levels;
- Your endurance and recovery times;
- How rested you feel after waking up in the morning;
You are also very likely to lose body fat.
All meals in this guide are made without using any added oil (except for light pan coating for the pancakes on day 7). Everything you cook during your plant-based trial is steamed, lightly sauteed, boiled or baked. There is also almost no added salt in the recipes and sugar is replaced with natural sweeteners or a small amount of blackstrap molasses. Going plant-based doesn’t mean you should give up oil, salt and sugar, though. It’s an extra step that you may want to consider later on for even greater health benefits.
Although it’s safe and even healthy to eat soy products many people still have reservations so the menu above was designed without using any soy, soy milk, tofu or tempeh. It was also created to give you variety so you don’t eat the same exact meals every day but, at the same time, it’s easy enough to actually prepare and plan ahead.
Swaps & Shortcuts
- If kale is not available, you can replace it with lettuce;
- If not available, you can use white potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.
- If you prefer, you can use almond butter (or any other nut butter) instead of peanut butter;
- You can use oranges instead of kiwifruit and pears instead of apples;
- You can buy canned chickpeas, peas, lentils and black beans to save on prep time;
- You can buy frozen broccoli so you won’t have to worry about it going off in the fridge or finding it fresh out of season;
- You’ll be adding brown rice to quite a few meals so make all of it ahead on day one and store it in an airtight tupperware in your fridge. It’ll make meal assembly that much faster during the week.
- The meals are designed to allow you to make prep ahead and use leftovers for your next day's meal;
1 cup dry oatmeal yields 2 cups cooked oatmeal
1 cup dry rice yields 3 cups cooked rice