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Plant-based eating

Plant-based eating is a way of eating where you focus on filling up your plate with minimally processed plant foods such as:

You may choose plant-base eating for a variety of reasons. These could include concern about animal welfare, health benefits, environmental concerns or personal preference.

Plant-based eating can help to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and some cancers. It may also help you manage your weight.

Styles of plant-based eating

There are many different styles of plant-based eating:

Tips for eating more plant-based foods

To eat more plant-based foods, you do not have to completely switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The following tips will help you have more plant-based foods.

Getting the best out of plant-based eating

Plant-based eating can be very nutritious and good for you. But just like other eating patterns, it can also be unhealthy and low in nutrition. It's just as possible to have a poor quality plant-based diet as it is to have a poor quality meat-based diet. For example, fruit juice, potato chips and biscuits are plant-based foods but they're highly processed and not good options to have regularly.

Whichever plant-based way of eating you choose, stick to the following principles:

Getting enough nutrients

If you have less animal foods or cut them out altogether, there are a few nutrients that you need to pay attention to. These include protein, iron, zinc, calcium (if you exclude dairy) and vitamin B12 (if you avoid all animal products). Follow the links for guidance on plant-based eating for adults or infants and children.

If you're concerned that you or your child aren't getting all the nutrients you need, talk to your GP or practice nurse. They can refer you to a dietitian.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created March 2022.


See also:

Eating well for strong healthy bones

How to get your daily iron

Preventing vitamin B12 deficiency

Page reference: 205377

Review key: HIHEI-34305