“But what will I eat without meat?”
Eating Mostly Plant-Based
Out of all the nutrition advice circling around out there, eating mostly plant-based – or enjoying a variety of food that isn't from an animal – can be worth exploring because plants are packed with nourishing nutrients. I say “mostly” plant-based because everyone’s needs are unique and a balanced diet includes a variety of foods from kale to cupcakes. When discussing nutrition shifts, it’s so important to always listen to your greatest teacher – your body.
The most trusted guide on your health journey is and should always be your body. Meaning, the “life-changing” diet that you overhear your colleagues discussing at the water cooler will not necessarily work wonders for you. By tuning in to your body’s messages – you get to decide what the healthiest option is.
So, if the idea of eating more plant-based foods (think: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes & grains) is resonating with you right now, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Take your time: keeping with the theme that everyone is unique and that cold turkey (or lack thereof) will work for some, a slow transition for most is recommended for sustainable change.
Take action: introducing Meatless Mondays is a great place to start. Meatlessmonday.com and Minimalistbaker.com are great recipe resources if you’re thinking: “But what will I eat without meat?”
Aim for satisfaction: reflect on your favourite meals – pizza, pasta, chili, casserole. Guess what? These dishes can easily be made vegetarian. Simply look up grilled vegetable pizza, pasta with tempeh Bolognese, hearty bean chili and vegetarian casseroles and you’ll be amazed at the creative options out there!
Plan to add, not subtract: Make a list of the plant-based foods you already love and plan on adding more of those, without changing anything else in your diet. Here are a few ways you can pump up the plants throughout your day:
Smoothie popsicle – blend a handful of spinach into a fruit smoothie, pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze. Enjoy on a hot summer’s day.
Omelet – add diced tomatoes, spinach
Snacks – apple slices + nut butter/ veggie sticks + hummus
Salad – bulk it up with avocado + chickpeas
Baked potato – top with beans, salsa and broccoli
Side – prepare a big bean salad over the weekend and enjoy as a side throughout the week
Wrap it up – tortilla, fresh spinach, avocado, tomatoes, hummus
A final reminder: as with all dietary experiments, listening to your body is vital and keeping the big picture in mind is important: “Wholesome eating doesn’t require that you become a vegetarian or vegan. Moderation regarding animal foods, not avoidance is key.” – Linda Bacon, Health at Every Size
Claire LeGresley is here to help you rediscover your relationship with food. No experience required, we start where you are. For more information, please visit www.clairelegresleyrhn.com