5 Simple Ways To Incorporate Plant-Based Habits
Growing up, plant-based eating was never really in my vernacular. 95% of our dinners had meat in them, potatoes and canned corn were our vegetables of choice and “clean eating” meant you didn’t spill on your shirt during the meal.
As I became an adult, did my research on food, and had children of my own, eating healthier became a priority. I fully understand the benefits of eating whole foods, consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and minimizing processed foods for myself and my family.
Here are some of the simple swaps and changes we’ve made as we moved toward more plant-based habits.
Meat-free dinners: Once or twice a week, I plan a plant-based dinner. It’s really easy to find delicious vegan meals that are quick, inexpensive and make the kids happy. Some of our favorites are: Coconut Lentil Curry | Chickpea + Potato Curry | Spicy Thai Noodle Bowls (omit the honey). I always try to make dishes that will yield leftovers so I can take them to work for lunch, which means I’m eating even more plant-based goodness throughout the week.
Milk swap: I’ve never been a big fan of cow’s milk, so making the switch to plant-based milk was a no-brainer for me. My favorite is unsweetened cashew milk for making oatmeal or adding to coffee, but there are at least a dozen options for dairy-free milk these days!
Speaking of oatmeal: Oatmeal and overnight oats are a great plant-based breakfast that is filling and flavorful! Once you have the base of the oats -- oatmeal + plant-based milk or water -- the flavor combinations are endless. My personal favorite is peanut butter, a couple of vegan chocolate chips and some chopped apple.
Make veggies the star: Obviously, vegetables are a mainstay in a plant-based lifestyle. Even if you aren’t vegan, vegetables should be the star of many of your meals! Our favorite way to consume veggies is by roasting them with avocado oil, salt and pepper. Name a veggie, and it’s good roasted (my favorites are broccoli and cabbage)! I aim for 50% of my plate to be plant-based as much as possible.
Learn good substitutes: There’s likely a vegan or plant-based substitute for an ingredient, and Google is your friend if you don’t know what it is! For example, did you know mashed bananas can be used in place of an egg in baking? Banana ice cream is amazingly similar in texture to soft serve ice cream. Maple syrup can replace the sweetness of honey. Olive or avocado oil can replace butter. The more substitutes you can incorporate, the more you can reap the benefits of plant-based eating.
As you get the hang of some of these swaps, you will realize how it’s relatively easy to incorporate plant-based practices into your daily life.