Plant-Based Diets for Men: The Ultimate Guide

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

plant based diets for men

Plant-based diets for men are growing in popularity — and for good reason. But should you consider one? If so, which one?

Plant-based foods are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fats, and other essential nutrients that keep energy levels high and your disease risks low.

But if you don't carefully plan your plant-based meals, eliminating animal-based foods increases your risk of nutrient deficiencies.

Learning more about the pros and cons of plant-based diets for men lets you know if this type of diet is right for you.

It's time to dive deep into plant-based diets for men!

Learn the TRUTH about vegan and plant-based diets!

What Are Examples of Plant-Based Foods?

The nutrient-dense foods included in plant-based diets for men are as follows:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • 100% fruit and vegetable juices
  • Whole grains (quinoa, oatmeal, wild rice, popcorn, brown rice, etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.)
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Other types of legumes
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Additional plant-based oils
  • Avocados
  • Hummus
  • Plant milk
  • Plant-based yogurt
  • Plant-based protein powder
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Veggie burgers
  • Other plant-based meat alternatives

Any food that comes from a plant, or contains all plant foods as ingredients, is okay to include in plant-based diets for men.

Remember, variations of plant-based diets exist.

Some vegetarian meal plans include only plant foods, while others add in fish, seafood, eggs, or dairy foods (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, whey protein powder, etc.).

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What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diets?

There are many types of plant-based diets for men to choose from, depending on their preferences and health goals.

Examples of standard vegetarian options include:

Pescetarian Diet

A pescetarian diet is a plant-based diet that includes fish, seafood, and sometimes dairy foods and eggs.

While not a proper plant-based meal plan, pescetarian diets offer numerous health benefits.

They're loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids — especially if you choose fatty fish like salmon or tuna.

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian Diet

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets consist of eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and other dairy foods in addition to plant-based foods.

This specific meal plan excludes meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.

Ovo-Vegetarian Diet

Ovo-vegetarian meal plans consist of plant-based foods plus eggs as a good source of high-quality protein.

However, this type of meal plan excludes red meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and dairy foods.

Lacto-Vegetarian Diet

Lacto-vegetarian diets contain plant-based foods plus milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and other dairy foods.

These diets exclude red meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

When following this diet, dairy foods and some plant foods are your sources of protein.

Vegan Diet

Vegan diets are proper plant-based diets for men, as these diets eliminate all animal-based foods.

Vegan meal plans exclude meats, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, milk, and other dairy products, as well as foods containing ingredients from animal sources (such as gelatin).

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What Are the Perks of Plant-Based Diets for Men?

The many benefits you can expect when choosing plant-based diets for men include:

  • High energy levels
  • Easier weight management
  • Reduced risk of high cholesterol
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure
  • Reduced chronic disease risks
  • Longer life expectancy
  • Leaner body composition
  • Higher fiber intake
  • Improvements in overall health and wellness
  • Reduced body mass index (BMI)

Studies show that plant-based diets are associated with lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than diets containing meats and other animal-based foods.

This means your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases is also lower.

Plant-based diets are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which helps reduce high cholesterol and your risk of a heart attack, stroke, and other serious medical problems.

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What Are Possible Drawbacks of Plant-Based Diets?

While there are numerous advantages associated with choosing plant-based diets for men, possible drawbacks also exist.

Examples include:

Careful Planning Required

When choosing plant-based diets, primarily vegan meal plans, careful planning is vital to reduce your risk of vitamin, mineral, or protein deficiencies.

If your body's nutritional demands aren't met, you run the risk of muscle loss, physical or mental fatigue, hair loss, reduced athletic performance, or other bothersome symptoms.

Protein Concerns

Unless you choose modified plant-based diets that include high-quality proteins from fish, seafood, eggs, or dairy foods, it can be challenging to get the complete proteins (containing all essential amino acids) your body needs daily to function at its best.

While eating a variety of plant foods helps you obtain the essential amino acids your body needs, muscle-building is sometimes more difficult when eating only plant-based foods.

But, with careful planning, you can still achieve the sculpted body you desire!

Soy Food Considerations for Men

Soy foods are loaded with essential nutrients, and soy is considered a complete protein, but research is mixed regarding men and soy products.

Soy contains estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones, and estrogen is a hormone responsible for female traits.

Therefore, some guidelines recommend men limit soy foods.

One study found that consuming soy protein powder decreases testosterone levels in healthy men, while another recent study reported that soy does not affect hormone levels in men.

A good rule of thumb is if you do consume soy products (tofu, soy milk, tempeh, soy protein powder, etc.), do so in moderation when following plant-based diets for men.

May Take Some Getting Used To

Plant-based diets, especially those that are vegan (entirely plant-based meal plans), might take some getting used to if you've never followed this type of eating plan before.

If a plant-foods diet is for you, you may want to ease into it gradually or follow a modified plant-based eating plan.

Try initially cutting out just red meat, mainly highly processed meats like regular bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, or deli meats, as these meats are linked with certain types of cancers.

If you choose NOT to eliminate red or processed meats entirely, simply cut back on these foods.

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Choose the Best Plant-Based Diet for YOU

The best plant-based diets for your personalized needs depend on your health, lifestyle, preferences, and medical history.

You may want to check with your doctor before making dramatic changes to your eating habits, especially if you have a chronic disease.

The keys to staying as healthy as possible when following plant-based diets for men include:

Choose Variety

Choosing a variety of plant-based foods from most food groups is one of the best ways to avoid nutrient deficiencies while following a plant-based meal plan for men.

Pick an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, nut butter, legumes (beans, peas, or lentils), avocados, olive oil, or other plant-based oils.

Alter plant-based menus often to help meet your body's daily nutritional needs.

Focus on Protein

Protein is essential when following plant-based diets for men, as many high-quality protein-rich foods come from animal sources.

Plant foods that contain protein include nuts, seeds, nut butter, quinoa, black beans, peas, lentils, other legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and veggie burgers.

Additional protein-rich plant-food options include plant milk, plant-based yogurt, and plant-based protein powders (pea protein, rice protein, seed proteins, etc.).

You can use plant protein powders to make high-protein, vegan smoothies.

Simply mix protein powder with water or plant milk, plus fruit or nut butter and ice!

If you add fish, seafood, eggs, or dairy foods to a plant-based diet for men, these foods are loaded with high-quality proteins and essential amino acids.

Use the Perfect Plate Method

You can use the Perfect Plate Method when following plant-based diets for men.

Simply replace meat and poultry with setein, tofu, tempeh — or fish, seafood, or eggs if you eat these foods.

Fill one-fourth of your plate with protein-rich foods.

Fill another one-fourth of your plate with fiber-rich starches, such as legumes, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, or other nutritious starches, and fill one-half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables.

Add in heart-healthy fats and consume three servings daily of calcium-rich plant milk, plant-based yogurt, or dairy foods (if you choose a lacto-ovo-vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian meal plan).

Eat about 2-3 servings of fruit daily too!

And don't forget to meet hydration goals for men, which are about 16 cups of fluids daily for many men.

Take Dietary Supplements for Men

Taking dietary supplements for men is vital to staying healthy, especially if you're following a restrictive plant-based diet for men.

To prevent nutrient deficiencies and keep energy levels high, you may consider taking a multivitamin, plant-based omega-3 supplements, probiotics, plant-based protein powder, or other supplements designed with men's needs in mind.

Ask your doctor which supplements are best for you based on your medical history, the type of plant-based diet you're following, and which nutritional deficiencies you might be at risk for.

Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on plant-based diets for men.

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Father Project

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