Why and How to Eat a More Plant-Based Diet

While most consumers say they agree with recommendations in the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans that call for eating a more plant-based diet — rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and other plant-based foods — only a third believe they’re knowledgeable about how to do so.

That’s one key finding in research commissioned by the National Peanut Board (NPB) that led to the creation of skinnyonnuts.com – a new web site focused on helping consumers decipher the recently released dietary guidelines and increasing their consumption of nuts and other plant-based foods.

“Americans have never been more conscious about eating nutritious foods, but they’re saying they need help to turn that desire into action,” explained registered dietitian Deanna Segrave-Daly. 

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Along with information about plant-based diets, skinnyonnuts.com features nutrition and health information, recipes and energy-boosting snack ideas. It also presents tips on eating a gluten-free diet and managing food allergies.

“When you consider that 90 percent of American pantries contain one or more jars of peanut butter, sometimes the challenge is as straightforward as connecting the dots to foods people already enjoy,” said Raffaela Marie Fenn, president and managing director of the National Peanut Board. “That’s precisely why we created this new site.”

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Among the research findings:

  • While 66 percent of respondents believe they are very or generally knowledgeable about nutrition and diet overall, only 33 percent say they are very or generally knowledgeable about plant-based diets.  
  • 67 percent did not know that eating a more plant-based diet could help manage overeating and craving.  
  • 38 percent said they’re mostly or usually eating a plant-based diet today, with 68 percent admitting they definitely or probably should consume more plant-based foods.
  • According to respondents, three challenges in particular make it difficult for them to eat a more plant-based diet: eating out or eating at other peoples’ homes, staying with a plant-based diet and finding tasty, enjoyable foods and recipes.
  • Fewer than half (41 percent) of respondents said they are very or generally knowledgeable about nuts, their nutritional value or the role they play in eating a more plant-based diet

Peanuts have over 30 nutrients and are packed with more protein than any nut —seven grams per ounce. When you combine nutrition and value, peanuts out perform all other nuts.

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They can be a nutrient-rich part of a tasty and healthy eating plan to help meet the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in a variety of ways.

  • Choose a variety of protein-rich foods: With seven grams of protein per serving, peanuts have the most protein of any nut.
  • Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day: Peanuts are naturally low in sodium.
  • Consume less than 20 grams of unsaturated fat and consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol: Peanuts contain two grams of unsaturated fat and peanuts and peanut butter are cholesterol free.

The national opinion survey of 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older was conducted February 2-4, 2011 and drawn from TolunaGreenfield Online’s panel of 3 million Americans. The survey findings were released Wednesday, March 9.

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The National Peanut Board represents all USA peanut farmers and their families. Through research and marketing initiatives the Board is finding new ways to enhance production and increase consumer demand by promoting the taste, nutrition and culinary versatility of USA-grown peanuts.

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