‘Plant-based eating’ is a term that is becoming more mainstream. Whether used in relation to health or sustainability, many of us are now thinking more deeply about the types of food we put into our bodies. It is simple to start incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet, so, here are my Top 10 tips to help you on your way!
Step number one is simple. Build your meals around plant ingredients! A side of vegetables with your meal can often be an afterthought. However, train yourself to focus on vegetables and grains at the start of each meal prep. I find an easy way to get more fruit and veg into my diet is with a smoothie in the morning. I always add in a scoop of Vega® Essentials to increase my fibre, vitamin and mineral content too. A perfect way to get the nutritional building blocks to start my day strong!
There’s lots of tasty ways to combat cravings in between meal times, helping to keep the hunger at bay and on track.
I’m talking about carrot sticks and hummus, roasted nuts and seeds or even something as simple as an apple or orange. One of my favourite afternoon nibbles is a date dunked in a little bit of peanut butter. Haven’t tried it? I highly recommend!
Love your freezer
I know that feeling when we find our fruit and veg has gone off... such a pain! That’s why I’m a big fan of stocking up my freezer. Each morning I can grab a handful of frozen fruit to whizz up a delish breakfast smoothie, and in the evening, I can use my frozen veggies to throw in a stir fry or make a batch of chunky soup to last a week!
Pre-plan what you are going to eat during the week. It will take away the stress of late-night rummaging for dinner inspiration, and you’ll also use up exactly what you’ve purchased - saving you time and money! A personal favourite is using leftover butternut squash to make a risotto for my weekday lunch. That way I’m sorted with a delicious midday meal, Monday – Friday.
Nowadays there are so many plant-based alternatives; making simple dietary swaps easy. Instead of using milk in your porridge , why not stir in a plant-based alternative like almond or rice. Or, try topping your pancakes with a dollop of coconut yoghurt.
Savoury dishes can still be delicious without meat too – next time you’re making spaghetti bolognese, swap mince for lentils and aubergine, for a comfort classic that will help keep you full. And, if you are feeling super adventurous, I dare you to switch butter for an avocado.
Add, don’t subtract
Small sustainable changes can become part of your everyday lifestyle. Start by adding one new plant-based food or meal to your daily routine. For example, add an extra side of veg to your evening meal or make a complete veggie chilli (packed with chickpeas and butternut squash!). Give ‘Meat Free Mondays’ a go, and if you like, increase to Tasty Veg Tuesdays too! There is no rush, go at your own pace and make your own plant-based goals.
Complete Multisource Plant-based Protein
A common worry is that you cannot get all of your protein needs from a plant-based diet. However, simply by including a variety of veggies, beans, nuts, seeds and wholegrains in your diet you can get all your essential protein building blocks.
If you want a convenient source of plant-based protein, incorporating a protein shake into your diet can make things quick and easy.
Eat Rainbow Food!
Think Instagram worthy bowls! Layer up with piles of different coloured fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans and wholegrains. Not only will this look like a piece of art, it will help to keep you fuller for longer with the variety of plant-based foods on your plate which all have different proportions of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Get your friends and family involved. Invite them round for a chickpea curry, cook up a new dish you have seen on Pinterest, or head out to the new pop-up plant-based restaurant. Share your plant-based experiences with friends and family, (or win them over with your home-made goodies like these sweet potato brownies!)
Follow plant-based bloggers, subscribe to a plant-based magazine or treat yourself to a brand new cook book. Whatever works for you, there’s a huge variety of plant-based recipes that will inspire you to get in the kitchen and make them from scratch. Build up your own collection of plant-based meals you want to try!
By Bethan Hamilton, National Educator and Nutritionist - Vega
*At Vega®, clean* means: non-GMO, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, gluten-free, non-dairy ingredients. A varied balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is recommended for good health