A plant-based diet, otherwise known as plant-forward eating, can make you healthier by lowering your risk for obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Plant-forward eating is also good for the planet, since raising plant crops requires fewer carbon emissions and less water consumption than raising animals.
If you’d like to reap some of the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, you may not need to go cold turkey on your meat! Here are a few tips:
- Eat lots of vegetables. Fill half your plate with vegetables at lunch and dinner. Make sure you include plenty of colors in choosing your vegetables. Enjoy vegetables as a snack with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.
- Change the way you think about meat. Have smaller amounts. Use it as a garnish instead of a centerpiece.
- Choose good heart-healthy fats. Fats in olive oil, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados are particularly healthy choices.
- Cook a vegetarian meal at least one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Include whole grains for breakfast. Start with oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley. Then add some nuts or seeds along with fresh fruit.
- Go for greens. Try a variety of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, and other greens each day. Steam, grill, braise, or stir-fry to preserve their flavor and nutrients.
- Build a meal around a salad bowl. Fill a bowl with salad greens such as romaine, spinach, bibb, or red leafy greens. Add an assortment of other vegetables along with fresh herbs, beans, peas, or tofu.
- Eat fruit for dessert. A ripe, juicy peach, a refreshing slice of watermelon, grilled pineapple or a crisp apple will satisfy your craving for a sweet bite after a meal.
Check out the great list of Co-op CLC classes to move plant-forward!
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