6 Tips for easy plant-based mealsCSA
Making Plant Based Meals Easy
Plant based eating is growing in popularity as more and more people become aware of the impact that eating a meat heavy diet has on both the enivroment and our health. But changing our eating habits is no small task! If you are interested in including more plant based meals in your diet but are struggling to figure out where to start, I can help! Here are six tips to getting started on your plant based journey.
Start With Veggies
Instead of building a meal around an animal protein, start with a favorite vegetable and build a meal around that. Are you a huge fan of cabbage? Make cabbage pie. Love carrots? Make a hearty curried carrot soup with toast. Love cauliflower? Make a spicy cauliflower curry. There is also no shame in just roasting, steaming or sauteeing your fave veggies and adding them to your favorite comforting dish that is already part of your repertoire (pasta dish, chili recipe, tacos, stir fry, casserole).
Beans & Rice
The combination of legumes and grains is a staple around the world. From dal and rice in India to arroz con habichuelas and rice and peas in the Carribbean to red beans and rice in the Southern US to couscous and chickpeas in the middle east. Most regions of the world have a dish that combines rice or another local grain with legumes. And it’s no wonder why. This combo is nutritious, nourishing, hearty and economical. Add a pile of roasted or sauteed seasonal veggies on top and you have yourself a satisfying and delicious plant based meal that comes together in a jiffy. Added bonus? They can be purchased in bulk, package free and stored in your pantry so you can always have a meal ready to go in a pinch.
Nuts & Seeds
Throwing a few of these on veggie dishes or in salads adds healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and protein as well as richness which makes your plant based meal satisfying. Nuts and seeds can also be used to make delicious meat and dairy substitutes such as walnut ground meat, cashew cream, almond milk and more.
Throw an Avocado in it
I do not believe in super foods. There is no one food item that is going to solve all your health and dietary issues. That’s not how life works. However, avocados are a great way to get some plant based healthy fats and richness in your foods. If you are disgusted by avocados there’s not much I can do for you there but if you are a fan, then think about making your own avocado toast at home, or slathering some guacamole on a veggie sandwich or adding it to your salads or smoothies.
I hate salads. There, I said it. On very rare occasions I catch an acute jones for a leafy salad but 90% of the time I steer very clear of anything salad related. However, not all salads are created equal and because I love to eat veggies I’ve learned that “salad” doesn’t always have to be some giant pile of chewing intensive leafy business. There are corn and bean salads, pasta salads, potato salads, and so much more. Of course, on the days when you’re craving something leafy and green there are lots of salads for that too. But thinking outside of the box when it comes to salads can make the idea of having “salad for dinner” much more appealing. And please don’t forget that what makes a salad go from a pile of leaves to memory making is that bomb-ass dressing.
Avoid Processed Vegan Food
A lot of people complain that a vegan or plant based diet is expensive. It is if you insist on replacing your animal based products one for one with vegan versions. A lot of vegan “replacement” items like fake meats, fake dairy, processed desserts, snacks, etc. are more expensive than their non-vegan counterparts and they are just as filled with chemicals, dyes and other problematic additives. So they are not even healthier! Not saying you should never eat this stuff but if you tried to subsist solely on processed vegan food you might find yourself malnourished. That’s why I prefer to say Plant Based because the emphasis is on whole, plant based ingredients (like actual plants) being the cornerstone of the diet. These items are way cheaper and better for you than a bunch of processed food, vegan or not.
The most important thing is to take it one step at a time and don’t beat yourself up for not getting it “right”. It took me years to get into a rhythm of cooking without animal products and avoiding single use items (not the subject of this article but you can read more about that here). If you want to make lasting changes then start making changes in manageable pieces that work for you. Before you know it, you’ll be inventing your own plant based recipes, tips and tricks to share with your friends and family!