What's a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is a way of eating where the focus is on filling up your plate with plant foods.

Some examples of plant foods include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Legumes (like lentils and chickpeas)
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds.

The closer these foods resemble how they’re found in nature (i.e. the less processing) and the more of them on your plate – the better for your body.

This way of eating isn’t about being restrictive. People who eat a mainly plant-based diet may still choose to eat small amounts of meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy (also known as semi-vegetarian, flexitarian or pescatarian). The beauty is that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach.

What’s the difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet?

Some people eating a plant-based diet may choose not to eat meat and animal products for various reasons. A vegan diet excludes all meat and animal products (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs), whereas a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, fish and seafood. However, there are a few variations of a vegetarian diet that depend on whether you eat or exclude eggs, dairy and fish (see table below).

Different styles of plant-based eating

Name of diet Description
Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian 

includes eggs and dairy

may include small amounts of meat, poultry, fish and seafood


includes eggs, dairy, fish and seafood

excludes meat and poultry


includes eggs

excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy

includes dairy

excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood and eggs


(a.k.a. lacto-ovo vegetarian)

includes eggs and dairy

excludes meat, poultry, fish and seafood


excludes all meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs and dairy