Each month, Flourish Events aims to empower women by connecting them with experts and health professionals in the industry and bringing them credible advice and tips for living a healthy, happy & sustainable lifestyle. In our third guest blog, Sophie Bertrand, Registered Associate Nutritionist, shares some easy ways that you can incorporate more plants into your diet. Whether you’re taking part in Veganuary, interested in adopting a vegan lifestyle or simply trying to reduce your meat intake, we hope that you find this article useful!
A plant-based diet may mean something slightly different to certain people but it is typically described as a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.
Eating more plants does not mean you have to cut out meat or dairy, but it is a great way to add more fruit/veg and plant protein to your diet, which we know can have a positive impact on the environment (by lessening meat consumption) and may also increase the variety in your diet. Research suggests that consuming a variety of different foods can help maintain a healthy gut, because your gut thrives on diversity!
So how might we go about adding more plants to our diet… You might be a fussy eater, or you might be a creature of habit – either way, if you would like to add more plant based foods to your diet, I have a few suggestions that may be helpful!
Try different plant proteins with your meat proteins
If you are someone who loves your meaty dishes, how about having half mince meat, and half Quorn mince, or even adding some lentils! Recent statistics have predicted that we’d see a 22% decrease in regards to carbon footprint if total meat daily intake reduced to 50-99g per person.
Spice up your veggies
A lot of people think they don’t like the taste of certain vegetables but often they have not experimented with alternative ways of how to cook them. For example, roasted veggies are so much tastier than boiled! Things like broccoli, carrot, parsnips and peppers, taste absolutely delicious when roasted in some olive oil and seasoning – it transforms them completely!
Make a smoothie
If you feel like you haven’t had enough of your fruits and veg some days, blitzing them up in a smoothie can make a great snack! You can also keep foods like berries and spinach in the freezer which makes it more cost effective.
Beans and pulses are your friends
As a country, we are lacking fibre, and plant based foods are a great source of fibre! Things like beans and pulses, taste great in a curry or a stew, so why not play around with some new recipes and add a few more plant based ingredients!
Add something to your shopping list that you wouldn’t normally add
Creatures of habit – I can relate! It is easy to do the same weekly shop and go in to auto pilot and order the same foods as you did last week. Try and challenge yourself to add 1 or 2 new foods to your basket that you wouldn’t typically order. It could be a random fruit or vegetable, a different grain or perhaps some mixed nuts and seeds to add to your breakfast bowl!
Try ‘meat free Mondays’
This will encourage you to think outside the box a little and think about what plant based foods can make up a tasty balanced meal. Try some new plant proteins such as tofu, chickpeas, beans or tempeh.
As individuals, we are all entitled to eat in our weird and wonderful ways, but research suggests that adding more plant foods to your diet may be really beneficial. So try and mix it up when you can and get creative with new flavours too - you might discover your new favourite meal!