Eating plant-based meals is generally recognized as a good part of healthier lifestyles. But where do you start?
For myself, I simply ate less meat each week. By introducing meat-free meals. Also, by replacing some meat content of recipes with beans, lentils, and peas etc. Often, I’d add mushrooms. But maybe replacing dairy butter with peanut butter in everything was a step too far?
Anyway, the most important points are:
- Set realistic goals.
- Change gradually.
- Do it your way.
I found the hardest part of better eating habits was doing without convenience foods. But I found it easier when I got into the habit of reading food labels. Because I do not want to eat butylated hydroxytoluene, high fructose corn syrup, or any number of preservatives and other chemicals.
Later, I’ll provide some recipes for good alternatives to common convenience foods. Do you rely on processed foods? Is there a convenience food you just cannot live without? Please share them on the Feedback Form below and I’ll find better choices for you.
Switching from meaty meals requires commitment and planning. Which starts at the grocery store. Because you can only eat healthy if you shop healthy. But also, it’s about education.
Now I don’t want to bore you with lots of facts and figures about food. But a few helpful principles will help you. So here’s a list from Katherine McManus at Harvard…
- 1. Vegetables
- Simply eat more veg – that’s more in quantity and variety. So make half your lunch and dinner plate vegetables of different colors. Also, try vegetable snacks like guacamole, hummus, or salsa.
- 2. Meat
- Simply eat less meat – that’s smaller servings and fewer of them. So make meat a garnish not a centerpiece.
- 3. Fats
- Switch your fats and oils from highly processed products. So buy olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados instead.
- 4. Meals
- Set aside at least one night a week for a vegetarian meal. Look for recipes based on beans, whole grains, and vegetables. But if you’re struggling to make this change, think about meat as a flavoring. Leftovers are ideal here – so ask me for my beans, kale, and ham recipe.
- 5. Breakfast
- Your first meal of the day is the easiest start to plant-based eating. Whole grain cereals with added fruit make a great choice. But be sure to check the ingredients of packaged breakfast cereals. If in doubt, make your own – and again, ask me for recipe ideas.
- 6. Greens
- I can’t remember my last meal without spinach. But as with the first point – variety is good. So buy a variety of fresh leafy greens. Also keep freshly-frozen greens handy in your freezer.
- 7. Salad
- Salads make a tasty lunch. So make sure you have a salad at least once a week. Enjoy your salad days!
- 8. Fruit
- As well as fruity snacks, bring fruit into your meals as a dessert.
She ends the list with recipe ideas. So I’ll provide some meal suggestions separately to help you eat food, especially plants.
Eat Food Especially Plants References
- D. McManus, K., 2018. What Is A Plant-Based Diet And Why Should You Try It?. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20200410231312/health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-a-plant-based-diet-and-why-should-you-try-it-2018092614760 [Archived 10 April 2020].