5 Simple Plant-Based Swaps for Meat Eaters

It’s never been easier to give plant-based eating a whirl — yes, even if you’re the type that can’t imagine a meal without meat. And that’s a good thing, because plant-based diets come with a host of health benefits.

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or simply trying to cut back on meat, eating more plants may benefit heart health, prevent certain types of cancer, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and slow the rate of cognitive decline, says Kim Rose, RDN, a Lakeland, Florida–based consultant dietitian with food-tracking app Lose It!.

This way of eating can be a boon to the environment, too. A review published November 2019 in Advances in Nutrition found greenhouse gas emissions resulting from vegan and ovolactovegetarian (a person who follows a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy) diets are about 50 percent and 35 percent lower than meat-eating diets, respectively.

“This is a major plus,” Rose says. “This lessened environmental impact preserves natural gases, helping to save the planet we live on.”