You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to fall in love with the power of a plant-based diet this summer. Today’s amazing abundance of plant foods at the grocery store has made it easier (and more delicious!) than ever for you feel good about what you put into your body. Whether you’re just getting started on a plant-based lifestyle or are looking for fresh ideas to inspire you on your journey, here are 5 no-fuss ways to deliciously add more plants to your day.
(Full disclosure: I have teamed up with the folks at SILK this summer to help people #DoPlants, and this is a sponsored post).
Plant-Based Diet Tips
- Build a breakfast brimming with plant goodness. Start your day strong by building a tasty, plant-based breakfast you love. Try topping cooked quinoa or kamut with 1 oz. hemp, flax or sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup summer farmers’ market fruit (such as in-season berries or apricots). Top it with your favorite plant milk for dairy-free enjoyment! I personally love Silk , as almost all Silk plant milks are fortified to provide 50% more calcium than cow’s milk, are an excellent source of vitamin D, and are cholesterol-free and lactose-free. Many varieties also have less than 100 calories per serving.
2. Nosh on nuts and produce for nutritious energy. Whether you’re craving a mid-afternoon boost, getting ready to hit the road, or just looking for something to help stave off hunger until your next meal, 1 ounce of almonds, peanuts or walnuts are great choices. Nuts provide a deliciously crunchy, satisfying snack that delivers plant protein, heart-healthy fats and fiber. And, nuts are also associated with better long term weight control. Crave something more? Give your snack a boost with a piece of fresh fruit or ½ cup chopped snap peas, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or other portable veggie. You could even turn up the flavor if you’d like by dusting it with your favorite spice blend, such as Dukkah or cumin. Wash your plant-based snack down with 8 oz. of water from a BPA-free water bottle or a chilled glass of freshly brewed green tea for refreshment and hydration that will help you sail through whatever life throws your way.
3. Swap that sandwich for a high-performance salad filled with incredible flavor. Salads are an easy way to instantly boost the amount of plants in your diet, especially when swapped for lunchtime staples such as a sandwich, burger or slice of pizza. You’re no longer limited to bland iceberg lettuce swimming in Ranch dressing. Actually, it’s never been easier to build a nutrient-powered salad brimming with plants. Start with a nourishing base of dark leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, baby kale or mixed greens. Next, add a pop of 2-3 veggies or fruits of contrasting colors for added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Experiment with chopped red peppers, shaved raw Brussels sprouts, avocado slices or shredded purple cabbage. Then, add one of these go-to toppers for protein: ½ cup beans (such as chickpea, kidney, black or navy bean) or lentils, ½ cup cubed sautéed tofu, or 1 tablespoon toasted chopped nuts or seeds. For added staying power, toss in ½ cup cooked whole grains such as farro, amaranth, quinoa or brown rice. And, swap out dairy-based dressings for a creamy plant-based tahini dressing or an olive oil vinaigrette using apple cider vinegar for an extra pop of flavor.
4. Refresh and rehydrate with smoothie and popsicle recipes you love. Whether after a workout or as a quick on-the-go breakfast, smoothies can deliver nutrient-rich hydration in a quick and delicious beverage that’s easy to grab and go. And Silk’s wide range of great-tasting, nutty and creamy plant milks make it easy and delicious to stick to your plant-based goals. For a source of plant protein, try Silk Original Soymilk, which provides a good source of heart-healthy soy protein and 50% more calcium than dairy milk and is fortified with calcium and vitamins A, D, riboflavin and B12. Keep things fresh by finding additional inspiration on your favorite plant-based social media recipe boards or websites. Try this unbelievably refreshing Blueberry Lemon Thyme Smoothie, which is one of my favorites and packs a zing of lemon zest and a hint of thyme. And, here’s a tip: pour extra smoothie into your favorite popsicle mold for a craveable, nutrient-packed, planet-based frozen treat that’s dairy-free.
5. Go meatless at least 1 day a week. Going meatless at least 1 day a week is one of the simplest steps you can take to add more plants to your diet. Plants can be good sources of nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, good fats, antioxidants and even more. Going meatless more often is a vital part of creating a more resilient food system and helping reduce our environmental impact on the planet. So, savor more meals that build around the power of plants. Include ancient and whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, plenty of vegetables and fruits, foods with plant-based fats such as olives, avocados, olive and peanut oils, and dairy-free plant milks fortified with calcium and vitamin D. That, in a nutshell, is a winning recipe to help you nourish your body and a better world in every delicious bite.