Plant-Based Diet Tips for Eating Green this Spring
Many of us have been busy discovering and indulging our inner chefs while social distancing. We’ve been cooking up impressive – and often improvisational – dishes with whatever we happen to have on hand. It’s been one of several silver linings during a frustrating and challenging experience.
But, now, as the country takes steps to gradually reopen for business, the call of takeout from a beloved restaurant may be stronger than ever. There’s no question we’ve hungered for that sense of normalcy and those familiar flavors and favorites. But even as these comforts make themselves available to us once again, there is also no doubt that those nutritious home-cooked meals will remain important. Meals heavy on fruits and vegetables, in particular, are a significant part of a balanced diet.
In fact, now may be the perfect time to try a plant-based diet. While the term immediately conjures an image of a life without meat, it is actually quite different. A plant-based diet simply places emphasis on meals centered around the following foods:
- Whole Grains
For those who cringe at the thought of never having a hamburger and a shake, again, it is important to note that adopting a plant-based diet does not have to mean that you are following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. It’s all about selecting more foods from plant-based sources than from others, and minimizing processed and refined foods.
The science behind plant-based benefits stems from evidence surrounding Mediterranean diets, which place emphasis on weekly fruits and vegetables, while also allowing for fish, poultry, and dairy on a more limited basis, and beef and pork-based proteins and desert items somewhat more sporadically.
As anyone who has adopted a Mediterranean diet may tell you, studies have shown that this way of thinking – and eating – has been shown to reduce the risk of various diseases and disorders, including:
- Heart disease
- Colon, prostate, and breast cancers (among others)
- And more
Plant-based diets are also suggested to boost mental and physical acuity, while diminishing frailty as we age. They are also believed to greatly facilitate weight loss.
So why not give it a try?
Here are some simple tips to incorporating a plant-based diet into your lifestyle:
- More veggies, less everything else: When possible, during lunch and dinner, make sure at least half of your plate is used as real estate for vegetables. And not just leafy greens – although they’re a must – but produce from all colors of the rainbow. Don’t deny yourself meat if you have a craving, but don’t make it the star of the attraction – or even a guest star – either (consider it more as an extra).
- Find the fat that works for you: Nuts, nut butters, avocados (yes!), and olive oil are all sumptuous sources of healthy fat. Dive in.
- Slip a vegetarian meal into the weekly rotation: Don’t mention it to the kids beforehand. Just spring some spring greens on them. They’ll thank you for it later.
- Start with salad: Don’t worry about what you’re having for lunch today. Let the answer be salad on the regular. Kick things off with romaine lettuce or spinach, and pile on assorted, exciting vegetables, topping it off with beans or tofu. Get creative. Every day is a new opportunity for a colorful creation.
- An apple (not apple pie) for dessert: Fruit is naturally sweet and filling and able to scratch that itch you may have for a more fattening after-dinner treat.
Of course, a plant-based diet is only one component of a healthier lifestyle. Regular exercise is the other critical component. Fitness Together Ellicott City can help you maintain a balance between both. While our studio remains closed temporarily, our certified personal trainers continue to offer 1:1 virtual training sessions. Enjoy a customized workout program that fit your needs and goals from the comfort and privacy of your own home. No training equipment necessary. Just an Internet connection, a laptop, tablet, or similar device, and an eager attitude. We’ll take care of the rest. Contact us today to learn more and get started!