Even though I do not exclude myself from eating meat when I feel like my body needs it, my meals are generally plant-based. And what does that mean?
You certainly don’t have to be vegan to have a plant-based diet either. It just means that your meals are based around foods that nature so generously feeds us and are therefore rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals perfectly designed to fit our body’s needs. You could certainly have your plant-based diet in combination with meats or dairy products, just make sure to incorporate as many as possible of the following into your diet, too.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to easily plan your meals around plants. The following foods might not be widely in use but are easy to prepare and substitute for some of the more traditional and not so healthy foods.
1. One of the simple nutritionally rich foods might be beans.
First and foremost – they are light on your budget. You can add them to salads or make spreads like hummus. I even love a bowl of good bean soup. Not to mention a hot chili dish to warm me up during long winters.
They consist of much protein and fiber. Beans will keep you full for a while after meals. As well as they are light on digestion.
2. Another food that is also a complete protein is quinoa.
It can moreover serve as a healthy substitute for your carbohydrates. Quinoa is perfect as a side dish to either fish or addition to salads, adding them more crunch. It is also a great morning food paired with fresh fruit. Yet, it is super simple to make. It tastes buttery, so the only ingredient you’ll sometimes need to add to it is a pinch of salt.
3. Nuts and seeds will keep you full for a while as their super power is balancing out blood sugar levels.
Plus, they are easy to incorporate into meals or enjoyed on the side. One of my must-haves, for example, are chia seeds as they have more antioxidants than blueberries, more Omega 3s than salmon, more calcium than milk (though I cut milk out of my diet a long time ago and don’t seem to miss it any bit, except for all the plant-based milk, of course). Here is a quick fix ready for breakfast or snack – mix one-half cup of non-dairy milk of your choice with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 1 tablespoon of sweetener of your choice in a mason jar and cool for about an hour before enjoying.
4. One that might not be as widely known but is, therefore, no less nutritional is nutritional yeast.
Much like brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast is a byproduct of beer. It boasts vitamins, minerals, and protein that compromise with pretty much any diet. As it tastes similar to cheese, it is most widely used as its substitute. But once accustomed to its tangy flavor, you can as well incorporate it into smoothies, salads, or mix into soups.
It is a superfood and a complete protein while its fiber composition is responsible for keeping you full long after meals. Among the 18 amino acids, it contains, nine are essential to your body as it can’t produce them on its own. It moreover contains high amounts of folic acid and Vitamin B which promotes the production of more energy.
5. Another category of foods that are not used to their full potential might be spices, of which turmeric is “the king.”
It is a warm spice and so, a great “pick me up” when you’re feeling run down or starting a cold. Make turmeric milk with some non-dairy milk and a little bit of coconut oil. It can moreover serve as a great addition to risottos, salad dressings, or smoothies.
6. Best comes last, just like a dessert after a meal, one of all time favorites just might be cacao.
The main ingredient in chocolate is basically chocolate. It not only tastes delicious, but it also boasts many health benefits – from improving memory to keeping elasticity to your skin. It also improves insulin sensitivity and in turn keeps your blood sugar levels in check. To expand your knowledge of chemistry, cacao contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that makes you fall in love. If being in love is not a good enough reason to indulge in some…