What is a plant-based diet?

Learn about the basics of a plant-based diet, its various definitions, and what foods people eat on a plant-based diet.

Text reading what is a plant based diet with a photo of a loaded potato bowl.
Roasted jalapenos on a wooden cutting board.
Roasted Jalapeños

What does plant-based mean?

What is a plant based diet?

A plant-based diet is one where you prioritize eating plant-based food such as fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes, and limit or avoid animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs.

Sources: Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canada Food Guide, Harvard Medical School, Columbia University.

It’s important to note that the term plant-based can mean different things to different people. It can mean a plant forward diet, a whole foods plants only diet, a vegan diet, or a vegetarian diet depending on who you’re asking.

For myself specifically, a plant-based diet works for me because I both enjoy and thrive on a diet that includes a lot of vegetables and whole grains. I love most vegetables and fruits, beans, and grains. I don’t eat meat, but I do choose fish, eggs, and cheese occasionally. These animal ingredients make up a small and casual part of my diet and my body feels the best when eating this way.

The word diet just describes a ‘way of eating’ and everyone is different, so different diets work for and appeal to different people.

The one thing that stays true for all variations on a plant-based diet, is that plants make up the majority of food consumed.

You will find vegan recipes, vegetarian recipes, and plant-based recipes on my website. I welcome all eaters.

Black beans in a bowl.
Black Beans

What foods are plant-based?

Plant-based foods include fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, oil, whole grains, legumes, and beans. A plan based-diet proportionately chooses more food from plant sources. It doesn’t have to omit meat, dairy, or eggs, but limits them.

The following is a list of some common foods eaten on a plant-based diet. This doesn’t include all foods.

For more details check out my grocery lists and meal plans (coming soon).

A pile of potatoes on a wooden platter.
Yukon Gold potatoes

Fruits + Vegetables

  • Avocado
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Bell peppers
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Grapes
  • Greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini


  • Black Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Pinto Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Peas


  • Amaranth
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (brown rice, wild rice, jasmine, basmati, sushi, arborio, etc)
  • Spelt
  • Wheat (flour, bread, crackers, etc)

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Walnuts

Other foods

Note: I am allergic to soy (through allergy testing) and don’t consume it, so I don’t include any soy products on this website for that reason.

Cashews in a white bowl.
Raw cashews

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet is one where fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains are prioritized and no animal products are ever consumed, including meat, dairy, eggs, stock, or honey.

What is a vegetarian diet?

A vegetarian diet is one where fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains are prioritized, but some animal products like dairy and eggs (but not meat) are consumed.

What is the difference between a vegan diet, vegetarian diet, and a plant-based diet?

Here is a chart I made to visually show the difference between these three diets.

A chart showing the difference between a vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based diet.

What diet is right for you?

Only you can answer this question with guidance from your health care provider, just as only I can answer it for myself. Good luck on your food journey.

Browse my Recipe Index for recipes to fit into your weekly meal plan.

My latest recipes

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Text reading what is a plant based diet with a photo of a loaded potato bowl.

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