Updated: Jan 18, 2020
Plant-based eating is becoming more common. Even fast food restaurants are expanding their menus. But why is plant-based eating on the rise? Because of how good people feel when they reduce the amount of meat in their lifestyle. Some of the benefits of eating plant-based are:
Lowered Cholesterol Levels
Blood Sugar Regulation
Better Digestive Health
Eating more plant-based meals helps increase daily fiber intake. Fiber is necessary to eliminate toxins and waste from the body. We typically don't eat enough fiber every day, so eating more plants helps our digestive tract be as healthy as it can be. As you increase the amount of fiber in your day, it is very important to drink more water. Drinking more water will help the digestive and elimination process happen, avoiding constipation.
In fact if you have digestive health issues such as bloating, gas, fatigue, moodiness, diarrhea, constipation and/or abdominal pain, moving to a plant-based lifestyle can help relieve these embarrassing symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
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Whether you setting a goal for yourself in 2020 or you are just trying to eat more healthy, adding plant-based meals can be done in 3 easy steps. See below.
STEP 1: PLAN FOR IT
Before you go to the grocery store, look for plant-based recipes on my website or others. If you are using my website, go to the blog page and click on the Recipe button to get a list of posts that contain recipes. Next, make a shopping list of ingredients you need to buy that week to make the recipes. This strategy doesn't have to focus on just one type of meal. A plant-based breakfast, lunch or dinner recipe counts! Here are 3 recipes that may inspire you:
Apple Bread from Well Plated. I enjoy having a baked good for breakfast once a month. I usually eat overnight oatmeal, which is easy and fast to make on the weekend. But when I get the urge to bake, this Apple Bread is delicious. I use unsweetened almond milk and a flax egg to make this recipe vegan. By changing the recipe slightly, it supports my plant-based meal days.
Vegan Mexican Stuffed Peppers by Happy Healthy Mama. This is made in a crock pot and takes 3 hours to cook. I love stuffed peppers because they are a meal that can be made ahead of time and then cooked when you want them. This recipe comes with an avocado drizzle but if you don't have time for that, simply slice the avocado and serve on the side.
Farro, Cannellini Bean, Parsley Pesto Salad by The Viet Vegan. This salad has a parsley pesto for the dressing. Parsley is rich in Vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting. It's also a great source of Vitamin A and C, which are powerful antioxidants to support overall good health. This salad is hearty enough for lunch or dinner.
STEP 2: MAKE SUBSTITUTIONS
Adding plant-based meals doesn't mean you are now a vegetarian or vegan. Plant-based meals are simply healthy options that reduce the amount of meat, chicken or fish that you eat in a day. In fact, you may decide that breakfast and lunch are plant-based but dinners always have a meat option. Or you may decide that the whole day will be plant-based. The best thing about being plant-based is the flexibility it offers. It is not a restriction diet or a specific daily plan to follow.
Here are healthy ways to get more plants into your diet:
Instead of having rice or potatoes as a side dish, have two vegetables. Broccoli and corn go well together. Also, zucchini sauteed with onions pairs nicely with green beans.
Making a stir-fry? Go all veggie instead of adding chicken or beef. Mixing a whole bunch of veggies and cooking in a stir-fry sauce makes an easy, fast & affordable plant-based meal.
Meal prep breakfast, lunch or dinner so you don't have to think about what am I going to eat today. Meal prepping doesn't have to take a lot of time. In a couple of hours over the weekend, I can make 4 breakfasts, lunches and 1 to 2 dinners. That is not a lot of time considering the long-term health benefits you will have from eating more plant-based meals.
Make a dinner salad with lean protein (chicken or salmon) or go meat-less by using chickpeas, quinoa or farro. Chickpeas and quinoa have a lot of protein helping to keep you fuller longer.
Below are a couple of recipes to try:
Spinach & White Bean Panzanella Salad from She Likes Food. This salad is full of healthy fiber and protein. If you have a gluten issue or are just reducing gluten in your life, either omit the croutons or look for gluten-free croutons.
Mediterranean Eggplant & Chickpea Salad from Healthy Seasonal Recipes. This salad is perfect for a meal prep recipe. Plus, when it sits overnight or a couple of days, the flavors from the dressing become that much richer. If you prefer, you can use a healthy flavored olive oil and put it on the salad when you eat it.
STEP 3: RELY ON FROZEN AND CANNED VEGGIES
There are times when fresh produce is either too expensive or you don't have the time to cook a whole butternut squash! That is where frozen and canned veggies can really help out. If you have a favorite canned or frozen veggie, stock up when they are on sale. That way you always have it on hand and can use it later.
Some of my favorite frozen veggies are cauliflower rice, broccoli florets, chopped spinach and cubed butternut squash. But make sure you look for veggies that are low sodium and not prepackaged in sauces. The sauced veggies are full of sodium and really unhealthy for you!
Try this Frozen Vegetable Stir-Fry recipe from Nibbles and Feasts for inspiration!
I hope this blog post taught you easy ways to incorporate more plant-based meals into your routine. If you try any of the tips or recipes, please let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below! Follow my blog on Bloglovin.