- Just because food is vegan doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest choice.
- When eating vegan, it is important to get options that are nutritious.
- Be aware of processed foods that may have a high calorie, sugar, and sodium content.
It may be quick and easy to fill your belly with some tasty vegan meat substitutes, but it’s safe to say that these time-saving options probably aren’t the most nutritious, as some of these processed foods are loaded in sugar, sodium, and calories.
But, if you aren’t sure what vegan-friendly foods will actually keep you fuller longer, we spoke to some registered dietitians about all the plant-based food choices you can consume to keep you properly satiated all day long.
From nuts and seeds to fruits and vegetables, below are some helpful food suggestions (plus important vegan tips) they recommend keeping in mind.
Consume whole and minimally processed plant-based foods
“Don’t fall prey to the standard American diet, by replacing your fast and processed animal-based foods with fast and processed plant-based foods,” said registered dietitian Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN.
Try to move toward eating more whole foods, she advised, and making a fully rounded, nutritious meal. Be sure to top a potato, for instance, with some avocado, non-starchy veggies, and nuts or seeds for a balanced meal instead, she recommended.
Be sure to vary your intake
While it’s tempting to eat the same foods, Feller advised eating a wide variety of nuts, seeds, beans, greens, starchy, non-starchy vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices at each meal.
Get back to the kitchen
“Learn how to make balanced meals that taste great and nourish your body,” Feller told INSIDER. This way you are more likely to meet your nutritional need and you know exactly what is going in your food because you cooked it.
Eat some fat
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“Eat foods that are high in good fats, as these fats take longer to digest, making you feel fuller longer,” said registered holistic nutritionist Julie Mancuso, BA., RHN. Nuts, seeds, avocado, flaxseeds, and chia seeds can be eaten knowing that you won’t be listening to your stomach whimpering for more food an hour later, she said.
Make sure you have fiber in your diet
“When mixed with liquids such as water or non-dairy milk, fiber-rich foods tend to expand and provide volume, helping you to feel full,” Mancuso told INSIDER. Oats, flax and chia can be eaten, for this reason, she suggested.
Consume fruits and vegetables
Mancuso explained that fruits and vegetables are full of water, fiber, and many nutrients and vitamins. “When you add up all these factors, you feel refueled and replete,” she said.
Eat some beans
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“Consider eating a combination of protein, complex carbs, and fiber,” Mancuso recommended. A great example of such a food is beans, as they contain carbohydrates, fiber, and a good amount of protein – all of which are known to stave off hunger, leading to greater satiety, she adds.
Make sure you are getting enough fluids
Nutritionist Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, explained that this is a key to feeling full, especially in the interest of proper bowel motility in the face of vegan diets, which can often be high in fiber from high amounts of plant material. “Aim for about half your weight in ounces (though specific amounts can be determined by your dietitian); your urine should be clear to light yellow,” she explained.
Make sure you’re consuming at least one source of vegan protein
Whether it’s from legumes, nuts, seeds, tempeh, tofu, or a vegan cheese or yogurt, Moreno explained that this is really important to remember. If you find you are still hungry after meals, she suggested that you may need larger portions or a more balanced plate that also has fat, fiber, and protein to keep you full.
Consult a dietitian
“Plant-based eating can be nourishing but also can be executed poorly,” Moreno said. Make sure you invest in counsel from a registered dietitian before embarking on this momentous dietary change, she advised.
Save time for snacking
“Eating something that contains fiber, protein, and fat every few hours goes a long way in staving off the munchies,” said registered dietitian Laura Yautz, RDN, LDN, NBC-HWC. Opt for whole foods like nuts, roasted chickpeas, whole grain toast with almond butter, or celery with hummus, instead of processed vegan junk food, she advised.