One of today’s most prevalent food trends is plant-based eating. According to the CDC, only 9% of adults meet the recommendations for daily vegetable servings a day. Also, seven of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are from chronic diseases and eating a diet rich in plant-based foods can help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Plant-based eating, in general, is a very broad term that encompasses vegans, vegetarians, and simply people who focus on consuming more plant-based foods. A plant-based diet is simply a lifestyle that focuses on plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds with less emphasis on animal products. This approach is more flexible than a vegetarian or vegan diet and individuals who follow this diet likely do still consume animal products (amount varies per individual). Not all plant-based eaters are “vegan” or “vegetarian,” but all vegans and vegetarians are plant-based eaters.

All of these diets increase consumption of plant-based foods, which are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can help reduce risk of chronic diseases. However, it is important to note that not one of these diets is better nutritionally than the other. Animal-based products can be nutritious and healthful in moderation and when choosing lean protein choices and healthy cooking methods.

To learn more about plant-based foods and try some tasty recipes, look out for the annual Plant-based Nutrition and Cooking Series to start back up in 2021. Call 208-459-6003 or email [email protected] to get yourself on the email listserv for more information on this program. The program is hosted by University of Idaho Extension — Canyon County and Southwest District Health.