As a mother of two, and vegetarian for more than 20 years, I never imagined a time when there would be so much interest in plant-based eating. The easiest way to start is to fill half of your plate with vegetables at each meal.
Fruits and vegetables contain fiber to help foster a healthy community of gut bacteria and prevent constipation. They’re also packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that fight inflammation. Include at least two vegetables at each meal, which helps you fill up without eating more calories than you need. For many recipes, simply double the amount of vegetables to pack in more nutrition.
Protein & plants
Beans and tofu are protein-rich options that help you replace animal proteins. Three-quarters of a cup of cooked lentils contain 13 grams of protein, along with plenty of iron. Beans are so affordable and easy to use, and lentils make a great stand-in for ground beef in spaghetti or tacos. Add chickpeas to soups and salads or mash them and use in place of higher-mercury tuna in sandwiches.
Super-powered with seeds
Many women snack on nuts or spread nut butters on toast, but seeds don’t often get enough love. Hemp, chia and flax contain valuable omega 3 fatty acids and just one tablespoon of ground flax is an affordable way to get all of the omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid you need in a day.
Sprinkle omega 3-rich seeds on smoothies, cereals or yogurt, or stir into soups just before eating. Hemp bakes well into muffins and quick breads, where you can easily substitute one half cup of the recommended flour with hemp seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are a great snack high in protein – 11 grams per half cup – and they contain essential fatty acids and zinc, which are critical for supporting your immune system. I carry pumpkin seeds and dried cherries in my bag, so I always have an emergency snack when the hangries hit!
A Full Day of Plant-Based Proteins
You can get all of the protein you need each day from plants; this daily plan includes 77 grams of plant-based proteins:
- Breakfast: 1 cup cooked oatmeal with 3 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 cup fruit and 1 cup soymilk: 23g
- Lunch: Kale salad with 1 cup lentils: 19g
- Snack: One–quarter cup almonds with sliced apple: 8g
- Dinner: One–quarter of a 350g package of tofu served with stir-fried vegetables and 1 cup of cooked wheat berries: 23g
- Dessert: Hot cocoa made with 1 cup oat milk: 4g