What are Whole Foods?

The following is a 1 page poster I wrote up as a handout at a local “Green Expo.”  I thought it was worth sharing as a short primer on whole, plant-based food.  Here it is:

Whole foods are foods that look as close to the way they were grown as possible.  Think potatoes, not potato chips.  Apples, not apple juice.  Olives, not olive oil.

Some examples of whole foods:

No additives or preservatives, just 100% whole grain popcorn!
No additives or preservatives, just 100% whole grain popcorn!

Fruit

Vegetables

Beans

Greens

Grains

Lentils

Potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Brown rice

Carrots

Squash

Why eat whole foods?

Whole plant foods provide protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber along with countless beneficial phytochemicals, all in the perfect amounts and balance. They have none of the cholesterol, added sugars, chemicals or harmful fats found in processed foods.  Because the fiber in whole foods is unaltered, it allows the body to access the needed nutrients at the right pace: that is, not too fast.  Eating whole foods is gentle on the body.

Lentil burgers have all the "burger" AND all of the protein that you need, without added fats and cholesterol!
Lentil burgers have all the “burger” AND all of the protein that you need, without added fats and cholesterol!

What about protein?

You will get enough protein by eating whole plant foods without even trying.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that 5% of calories come from protein (a recommendation that is twice as high as the minimum amount of protein determined to safely meet the needs of children, adults of both sexes, pregnant and lactating women).

Percent of Calories Derived from Protein

Beans (navy) 25 Potato 9
Broccoli 42 Rice (brown) 9
Cauliflower 31 Strawberries 8
Corn 13 Zucchini 17
Orange 9

 

How can I eat more whole foods?

Take small steps to incorporate more whole, plant-based foods into your diet!  Try one (or more) of these easy ideas:

  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast, sweetened with raisins and cinnamon or fresh fruit
  • Switch from white pasta and bread to 100% whole wheat
  • Center dinner around a plant-based dish, and use meat and dairy as a condiment (or not at all)
  • Switch from white rice to brown rice
  • Try “Meatless Monday”
  • Eat a plain baked sweet potato for a mid-morning snack daily

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