Incorporating More Plants into Your Diet
You may have heard more and more about a “plant-based” diet lately, whether from documentaries, social media, or friends and family. Basically, a plant-based diet emphasizes getting most of your foods from plants (fruits and vegetables), and less of your foods from animal products such as meat, dairy, or eggs.
Sometimes plant-based is used to mean the same thing as vegan, a diet that eliminates all animal products. We aren’t fans of restrictive eating so we like to promote the approach of emphasizing plants but not excluding other food groups that still do contain needed nutrients.
There are numerous benefits to eating more plants, even if you still consume animal products. Food from plants such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are important parts of a healthy diet.
A simple place to start can be to get at least one fruit or vegetable at every eating opportunity (meal or snack). Beyond that, plants can be incorporated into our meals and snacks in all types of ways. Read on for some more ideas!
Pair fruit with nuts, nut butters, or seeds for an easy snack.
Our favorite is apple paired with peanut butter.
Blend your favorite fruits into a smoothie for breakfast, or use it to top oatmeal
Blend 1 cup frozen pitted cherries, ½ cup frozen mango, ½ cup milk of your choice, ½ cup ice, then enjoy!
Veggies with hummus (a dip made from chickpeas).
There are so many different flavors - we like plain hummus with Everything Bagel blended seasoning sprinkled on top!
Try roasting veggies or using the air fryer to switch things up!
Try doing a “Meatless Monday”, or one day per week where you cook a vegetarian dish at dinner instead of meat. For example, chili made with beans only instead of ground beef.
Supplement your meat with beans or veggies.
For example in tacos, use less meat and add in beans, mushrooms, or onions.
Add in more vegetables than the recipe calls for. This is easy to do in soups, stir frys, or even pasta dishes like lasagna or baked ziti.
Don’t forget grains are plants too!
Experiment with whole grains such as quinoa, farro, or brown rice. These versatile grains can be used as a side for a meal or as part of a salad or grain bowl
Try new foods! Staples of the plant based diet such as tofu, edamame, hemp hearts, chia seeds, or nutritional yeast might be new to you. Look up a recipe using a new ingredient and see if you find a new favorite food!
We invite you to try out some of the above suggestions, but our team is also here to support you if you would like more direct support introducing more plants into your diet. You can connect with our team today on our contact page.
Author: Becca Sprague, MS, RD, LD