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Plant-Based Diets: Best for 2018

posted Jan 19, 2018, 2:18 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT   [ updated Jan 21, 2018, 6:52 AM ]
By : Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT

If achieving a healthy weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions, then you might want to take a look at US News’ “best diets for 2018”.  Based on the consensus of a panel made up of health experts, including registered dietitians (nutritionists) and researchers, plant-based diets are the champions of health and weight-loss.   According to US News, the panel based their ranking on criteria such as long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety, and nutrition, to name a few.   On the top of the list were the “plant-based” diets and on the bottom was the high-fat and high-protein weight-loss plans.   As a registered, dietitian/nutritionist, I find that more often than not, clients who achieve their health and weight-loss goals add more fruits and vegetables to their daily meals.

In fact, many physicians are supporting the plant-based approach to treat their patients.  This past July, I attended a Physician Committee’s Nutrition in Medicine Conference in D.C., whose theme was “Nutrition over Pills”.   The conference attracted many healthcare attendees, including dietitians, nurses, physicians; all were collectively exploring the science of plant-based nutrition to heal the body.  The conference guest speakers were physicians and specialists from around the world,  advocating for the use of plant-based nutrition instead of prescribing medication to treat many conditions, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity and mood disorders.   This conference’s "nutrition as medicine" message aligns with the nutrition therapy that many Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists have consistently provided to individuals to help manage, prevent, or reverse a variety of chronic health conditions.

To view the detailed listing of the diets that US News reviewed and ranked, click on the above “best diets”.  The top winners were DASH and Mediterranean, both of which are primarily plant-based.  The fact that the DASH and Mediterranean diets are reported to help individuals achieve healthy weight and wellbeing proves that you don't have to go completely vegan or vegetarian. By eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans at each meal, you will have the protective properties to prevent many chronic health conditions as well as achieve a healthy weight. To help you get started with mostly plant-based eating, we came up with 3 main steps.

How to get Started on Mostly Plant-Based Eating:

1) Stock up on fruits and vegetables:  Fresh or frozen are equally as healthy.  For quick accessible home-cooked meals, buy frozen vegetables, tubs with pre-washed leafy greens, and plenty of fruit.  For best prices, purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables at peak season by clicking Maryland Fruit and Vegetables:

2) Bulk Up Meals with Vegetables:  Make it a habit to add your favorite vegetables to your regular dishes.

  • Broccoli, tri-color bell peppers, peas, or any type of vegetable will add flavor and color to pasta and rice dishes. 
  • Add frozen vegetables to ready-made soups or store bought soups.

3) Dining out:  IL Creations' Cafés offers a variety of plant-based foods.  Check out our online menus and you will find a variety of vegetable-based dishes.  Make it your goal to fill your plate with plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains (brown rice).   Use lean meats, poultry, and fish as garnishes.  

4) Plant-based proteins:  Replace meat, fish, or poultry with beans at least once or twice a week.  Beans are high in protein and fiber which promote lean muscle mass, as well as satiety,  leading to a healthy weight.

To find out more on this topic or have one of our IL Creations' Registered Dietitians present to your group, please email us at  or Tracy.Ducker@ilcreations.