Plant-Forward Eating for Health and Performance

A plant-forward style of eating is an easy and affordable way to promote health, reduce disease risk, and fuel physical and mental performance. Nutrient-rich plant foods can play a key role in any well-balanced eating pattern.

“Plant-forward is a style of cooking and eating that emphasizes plant-based foods but is not strictly limited to them. Meat may be included but it’s usually not the main feature of the meal.”
American Heart Association

If you're dining at a military venue, look for Go for Green® labels to help you choose high-performance, plant-forward menu items.

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Published on: September 15, 2022

Plant-forward eating for health and performance. Is your nutritional fitness at risk? Stay mission-ready! Build your plate with more plant foods to power up on multiple nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.

Many plant foods are also good sources of protein, making it easy to meet your nutritional needs. A plant-forward plate includes the following food groups: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, oils, and herbs and spices.

Build a flavorful plant-forward plate with a variety of nutrient-rich foods that meet your lifestyle and taste preferences. Your plant-forward meal might include meat, fish, or dairy less often or in smaller portions.

Try these fueling tips to get started. Grab fruit to go! Fresh or dried varieties are convenient and tasty. Pair veggies with flavorful dips such as guacamole, hummus, or tzatziki. Try frozen or microwavable whole grains for a quick and convenient side dish. Add hearty beans or lentils to your favorite sandwiches, soups, and salads. Sprinkle nuts and seeds on oatmeal, yogurt, or soup for a crunch. Experiment with herbs and spices for unique flavors.

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American Heart Association. (2022). How does plant-forward (plant-based) eating benefit your health? Retrieved 9 August 2022 from

Culinary Institute of America. (2022). Plant-forward kitchen. Retrieved 9 August 2022 from

The Vegetarian Resource Group. (2022). Vegetarian nutrition. Retrieved 9 August 2022 from