Adding low-fat whole foods into your diet usually includes adding whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and less processed foods to your diet, according to celebrity chef and nutritionist Serena Poon. That can go hand in hand with a vegan diet, but it’s not always clear what to eat.
To bring the best low-fat vegan foods to your plate, INSIDER spoke to Poon and other experts about the best low-fat vegan options. Below are some fun and flavorful choices definitely worth keeping in mind.
Add some legumes to your diet
“Beans and legumes are an excellent protein source for those following a vegan diet,” said registered dietitian Jenn Fillenworth, MS, RD. They also are an excellent source of iron, have little to no fat, and their high fibre content is great for keeping you full in between meals, she added.
Dark leafy greens are another example of nutrient-dense low-fat vegan foods.
“Dark greens like spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce are all excellent low-fat options,” said Fillenworth.
Dark leafy greens have a high antioxidant content to fight inflammation, she explained, and they are also high in Vitamin K which is crucial for supporting healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis.
Add sweet potatoes to your shopping list.
Cube for a breakfast egg hash, puree into soups, or slice and bake for delicious fries, she recommended.
Nutritional yeast is a great low-fat vegan cheese alternative.
Nutritional yeast is a low-fat option for grated cheese, according to DeLusie, and it can be added to pesto or used as a topping for chicken or pasta.
Mushrooms are another great low-fat vegan food.
“Mushrooms are a dense, meaty vegetable that many vegan recipes use in the place of ground meat,” DeLuise said. And in addition to being a great source of Vitamin D, she added that mushrooms can add umami-like flavour to any dish.
Add whole grains to your diet.
“Whole grains are a good source of folate and B vitamins,” DeLuise explained. Choosing oats and quinoa can provide sources of energy and complex carbohydrates that can lower the risk of heart disease, she added.
Pre-made salsa also counts as a low-fat vegan food.
“Pre-made salsa is a vegetable packed, fat-free condiment that can be eaten as a snack, taco topping, or as a tofu marinade,” DeLuise told INSIDER. “It is just one way to prove vegan food can have wonderful favour,” she added.
You’ll definitely want to add pumpkin puree to your pantry.
“Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and the antioxidant beta-carotene,” said DeLuise. Pumpkin puree can be added instead of oil for baked recipes, she recommended, and can also be added to vegan mac and cheese recipes.
Fermented foods support a healthy digestive system.
“Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut are important for supporting a healthy digestive system and immune function,” said Poon. And since it’s made from vegetables like cabbage, it’s low in fat with only .5 grams per serving.
Try adding seaweed and algae to your diet.
“Seaweed and algae are great sources of antioxidants, minerals, DHA, and excellent sources (especially with spirulina and chlorella) of complete plant proteins,” Poon said.
Sprouted foods boast impressive nutritional value.
“Sprouted foods are important if you are someone that likes grains such as quinoa, legumes or seeds, as the sprouting process enhances the nutritional value of the food, as well as our ability to absorb the nutrients,” Poon said. Plus, one cup of cooked quinoa contains only two and a half grams of fat.
You’ll want to consume fresh and colourful fruits and veggies.
“It’s important to consume fresh, organic colourful fruits and vegetables whenever possible for the best sources of whole food vitamins, minerals, and nutrients,” Poon told INSIDER. “I encourage water-dense choices for fruits and leafy greens and as much as possible for vegetables,” she said.
For example, watermelons are a water-dense fruit with .4 grams of fat per serving.
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