How to encourage clients to eat more plants
Plant-based diets offer a plethora of health benefits, yet many people struggle to eat more plants throughout the day. Thankfully, your nutrition clients don’t need to fully ax the meat to eat for health. Here’s how you can help your clients fall in love with plants through gentle wording, using a non-restrictive approach, and creating a well-curated meal plan.
The power of plants is here to stay. Thanks to a plethora of plant-based food offerings, trendy restaurants, and easy-to-follow recipe swaps, many people have turned to plants as a way to cut back on meat and even boost their health.
However, sticking to a specific plant-based diet can be difficult. Completely cutting out animal products may not be sustainable in the long run for some clients. Thankfully, there is more than one way to eat for your health. This is great news for your nutrition clients who aren’t willing to fully cut animal products from their diet.
In this article, we will dive into some helpful tips for how you can help your clients eat more plants. But first, let’s first understand some health and environmental benefits of plant-based eating.
Health benefits of plant-based eating
Plant-based diets have been touted as the creme de la creme when it comes to health benefits. Here are some ways that plants reign supreme.
- Improved cardiovascular health: Due to the high content of saturated fats present in many animal-based products, research indicates that those who eat more plants have a reduced risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems .
- Reduced cancer risk: Plant foods are high in fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals. These have been found to have cancer-protective benefits .
- Weight loss: People who eat more plant-based diets are shown to have a lower BMI compared to people who eat meat . This may be due to the higher amounts of fat and calories present in animal products.
- Decreased risk of diabetes: Research shows that people who eat a plant-based diet tend to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also have lower blood sugar levels than those who don’t eat as many plants .
Eat more plants to help the environment
Plant-based diets are not only health-conscious, but they are also environmentally friendly.
Studies show that animal products are fueling the global climate crisis. It’s estimated that you need 18,000 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. Moreover, industrial animal agriculture produces CO2, N2O, and CH4, which greatly contribute to global warming .
As such, research suggests that those who eat more plants tend to have a smaller environmental footprint. This is due to sustainable eating habits and consuming fewer animal products .
In fact, it’s estimated that eating more plants and reducing meat and dairy consumption could reduce mortality and greenhouse gas by 10% and 70%, respectively, by 2050 . Research also shows that swapping beef for beans could account for 46-74% of the United States’ required greenhouse gas reductions .
Tip: Learn how to help your clients lower their environmental footprint and live a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle.
Not using Nutrium yet?
Work online with the only tool you need in your nutrition business. Enjoy the 14-day trial.
How to encourage clients to eat more plants
Now that we’ve covered some reasons why plant-based diets are beneficial, let’s discuss some ways that you can help your clients eat more plants.
- Make plants fun. A common misconception surrounding plant-based eating is that you only have to have salads. While a big plate of greens can be delicious, it’s not the only way to eat more plants! For instance, roasting vegetables can give a different flavor and texture, while spiralizing zucchini produces a unique shape.
Overall, the goal here is to get your clients thinking about plants in a different light. Once they realize that eating plants isn’t just about the salads, they may be more receptive to trying new options.
- Be conscious of word choices. When starting out with a nutrition client, try to avoid labels (like vegan or vegetarian) to describe plant-based eating. This may come across as being restrictive. Since the goal is to have your clients eat more plants as a lifestyle change, you should use more gentle terms to describe this eating style.
- Use a non-restrictive approach. Eating more plants doesn’t have to be all or nothing, as this mentality can quickly backfire and make a client resistant to plant-based foods. Instead, you can encourage them to add more plant foods into their current diet without cutting animal products.
Wondering how to accomplish this? Here’s how you can use the reducetarianism eating style to help your clients eat more plants and boost their health.
- Have a well-curated meal plan. Eating more plants is shown to have many health benefits. Still your client could still fall short on nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, or zinc. Learn more about these nutrients of concern and how you can address them [6,7].
- Start small. If your client seems overwhelmed by the plant-based world, you can encourage them to slowly incorporate more plant foods into their diet to make it more manageable. After all, this eating approach doesn’t have to be all or nothing!
- Suggest convenient food swaps. Your client doesn’t have to fully go vegan to reap the health benefits, so to help with that, you can encourage them to swap common foods for plant-based options. Does your client want to reduce their egg consumption? Turn to flax or chia seeds. If they’re looking to cut back on fish, add walnuts instead. By making simple changes that are more plant-centric, you can boost the nutritional content of their meals while reducing their carbon footprint.
- Add one meatless meal per week. When creating your client’s meal plan, try to add one meatless meal per week. This could be any meal of the day, but by ditching the meat, you can focus more on plants and get your clients used to not eating as many animal products.
- Keep greens in the kitchen. Greens can be added to almost any dish throughout the day, so encourage your clients to toss a handful of spinach in their tomato sauce, eggs, tacos, smoothies, or wraps.
- Encourage plant-based snacking. Plant-based eating doesn’t just have to take place at meal time! Extend this thought process to snacks by encouraging clients to take advantage of convenient, easy to grab options (like grape tomatoes, baby carrots, apples, bananas, or nuts).
Plant-based diets offer a plethora of health benefits, yet many people struggle to eat more plants throughout the day. While it can be intimidating for your clients to go fully vegan or vegetarian, you can help them navigate the world of plant-based eating.
Try using gentle wording, using a non-restrictive approach, and creating a well-curated meal plan. Not only will this have an impact on their environmental footprint, but it can also reduce the risk of chronic disease and even improve their healthspan.
We are always working toward bringing you the best nutrition content, so we welcome any suggestions or comments you might have! Feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haven't tried Nutrium yet? Now is the time! You can try Nutrium for free for 14 days and test all its features, from appointments, to meal plans, nutritional analysis, videoconference, a website and blog, professional and patient mobile apps, and more! Try it now for free!
- Kim, H., Caulfield, L. E., Garcia-Larsen, V., Steffen, L. M., Coresh, J., & Rebholz, C. M. (2019). Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All-Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle-Aged Adults. Journal of the American Heart Association, 8(16), e012865.
- Dinu, M., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F., Casini, A., & Sofi, F. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 57(17), 3640–3649.
- Turner-McGrievy, G. M., Davidson, C. R., Wingard, E. E., Wilcox, S., & Frongillo, E. A. (2015). Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: a randomized controlled trial of five different diets. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 31(2), 350–358.
- Qian, F., Liu, G., Hu, F. B., Bhupathiraju, S. N., & Sun, Q. (2019). Association Between Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine, 179(10), 1335–1344.
- Aleksandrowicz, L., Green, R., Joy, E. J., Smith, P., & Haines, A. (2016). The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health: A Systematic Review. PloS one, 11(11), e0165797.
- Bailey, R. L., West, K. P., Jr, & Black, R. E. (2015). The epidemiology of global micronutrient deficiencies. Annals of nutrition & metabolism, 66 Suppl 2, 22–33.
- Weikert, C., Trefflich, I., Menzel, J., Obeid, R., Longree, A., Dierkes, J., Meyer, K., Herter-Aeberli, I., Mai, K., Stangl, G. I., Müller, S. M., Schwerdtle, T., Lampen, A., & Abraham, K. (2020). Vitamin and Mineral Status in a Vegan Diet. Deutsches Ärzteblatt international, 117(35-36), 575–582.
- Thompson L. G. (2010). Climate change: the evidence and our options. The Behavior analyst, 33(2), 153–170.
- Vegetarian diets best for the environment and human health. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2022.
- Substituting beans for beef beneficial for environment. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2022.