Did you know that eating more plant-based food, not only help your healthy, but also help the health of our environment?
Adapting a plant-forward lifestyle means focusing on plant-derived, whole foods that are unrefined and minimally processed. Think foods like fresh fruit, nuts, seasonal vegetables, seeds and whole grains. Following a plant-forward lifestyle does not mean you can never eat meat again, but rather for you to eat more plants and plant-based foods.
Nutritionally, eating more unsaturated fats (in plant-based proteins) than saturated fats (in animal proteins) can lower the risk of heart disease and improve healthy (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Plus, plant-based protein normally content prebiotic fibre, which helps digestion and weight management. The fibre stimulates the growth and/or activity of certain 'good' bacteria in the large intestine, which considered to be good for your gut.
A diet higher in plant-based foods than animals foods is linked to less environmental impact, including greenhouse gas emissions, energy, land and water use. The good news is that going plant-forward does not mean excluding any food groups or losing balance and pleasure in eating, because small changes can make a big difference.
Here are some simple shifts you can make it your everyday life to move in the plant-forward direction, to benefit you, your family and the environment:
- Eat your veggies. Non-starchy veggies should ideally make up half of your meal plate. If you are currently falling short, work towards this overarching goal by adding a variety of colourful veggies to stir-fries, pastas, salads, soups, and grain-based side dishes.
- Legumes/alternative protein. Legumes include peanuts, beans, fresh peas, lentils, and soybeans, and so many more. Try adding any form in salads or soups, adding a half a cup white beans or fresh peas in your favorited pasta dish, or utilizing a combination of tofu, non-starchy veggies, nuts in a meatless stir-fry.
- Wholegrain is better. There’s so many choices out there! Add oats or millet to a granola recipe, prepare a roasted veggie and whole grain salad with quinoa, barley, or bulgur, or substitute refined breads, pastas, or cereals with whole grain varieties.
- Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds fit in at every meal with minimal effort. Add them as a topper to oatmeal, yogurt, or cereal at breakfast. Pair with dried fruit or cheese for a portable snack. Add a sprinkle on salads, pastas, or your Buddha bowl at lunch or dinner. The healthy oils in nuts and seeds are good for your heart and brain.
- Start with one day a week or one meal a day. If you are a meat-lover, don’t worry, just pick one day a week or one meal a day to start with. Replace meat with Tofu, legume, or plant-based meat alternative, this is a very easy way to get you started the journey to the plant-forward lifestyle.