There is a lot of talk, curiosity and interest around plant-based diets these days. While eating meat is certainly not a complete no-no for good nutrition, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is never a bad thing. Reducing meat consumption, even one day a week, can have a significant positive impact on your health and the environment. Plus, it helps us focus on getting more fruits and veggies in our diet and opens our eyes to all the vegetarian options out there that can give us the benefits and nutrition we usually get from meat. One protein-source alternative is plant protein brands, such as gardein, which provide all the protein of meat with less fat, less calories and no cholesterol. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Plant proteins are also lighter on the environment. You can also get protein from other non-meat options such as ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut.
In addition to replacing traditional proteins with plant-based ones, we can also do the same with refined carbs. Craving pasta today? Swap spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for regular pasta for an easy, gluten-free and vegan option that is also a great source of dietary fiber and vitamins B and C. Top your veggie noodles with any of your favorite pasta sauces for all the taste and less of the carbs of refined-pasta.
Other plant-based foods with a high level of nutrients include:
You don't have to become a full-time vegetarian or vegan to reap the benefits of eating plant-based foods, but focusing on tasty alternatives to meat and varying the colors on your plate, can help us get all the nutrients natural foods have to offer.