Are you familiar with the trend happening in the food industry these days around “plant-based” foods? If you’re a tried-and-true meat eater, this may sound like an out of this world concept. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. It can be as simple as starting with one meatless meal a week or adding powerful plant-based foods into your current eating habits. Plant-based isn’t just about tofu, it includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.
I hope you’ve had a chance to read my previous blogs about powerhouse vegetables and fruit. Consider filling half of your dinner plate with a variety of colorful vegetables and fruit. Summertime is garden season in Missouri and fresh vegetables and fruit are plentiful and more flavorful.
I’m nuts about nuts and seeds. Many are a source of healthy fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein. I love ground flax meal added to yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal. Try adding almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to salads, baked goods and more.
Often people fear fat in their food, but it is an essential part of our diets. Fat is involved in many parts of digestion and nutrition and adds flavor to food. Cooking oils are a source of dietary fat. Don’t worry, many oils you may already use or have in your pantry are health promoting and perfect for everyday use. Do you love avocado toast or guacamole? Try avocadoes in its oil form. Avocado oil is composed primarily of oleic acid, an Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid. Olive oil contains the most oleic acid and both oils may provide benefits for heart health.
For most whole grain products, you’ll see the words “whole” or “whole grain” first on the ingredient list. You may already be incorporating whole grains into your eating plan. Consider oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain breads and cereal and one of my favorites, popcorn.
Beans and legumes contain fiber, protein, healthy nutrients, and minerals. They may help reduce cholesterol and increase healthy gut bacteria. A few of my favorites are chickpeas, black beans, and lentils. All of which make excellent additions to hummus, soups, burgers, tacos, and wraps.
Did this information surprise you? Did you learn you’re already on track for consuming more plant-based food? If so, keep up the momentum and share the good news with others. Be more daring and try new market products. To start try this tasty recipe Roasted Beet Hummus with Pine Nut Tabbouleh.