Thinking of eating less meat? You’re in good company. A 2018 survey conducted by Dalhousie University found that 51 percent of Canadians are thinking about reducing their meat consumption, showing that the hunger for plant-based foods is real. Try these six strategies for adding more greens to your meals.
1. Eat plenty
Think that plants don’t pack the same punch as a carb- or meat-based meal? It’s all part of reimagining what goes on your plate. “The great thing about fruits and vegetables is that they allow to you pack more healthy items into your meals. So, if you’re new to a plant-based diet, make sure to keep your portions large,” says the Whole Foods Market Culinary Team, the brain trust crafting new recipes for the grocery chain.
Try: Nutrient-dense options like seeded crackers and foods full of healthy fats, including avocados, chickpeas, peanut and almond butter.
2. Don’t quit on burgers
Who says a plant-based diet doesn’t include burgers? Veggie burgers have never been more popular. Besides a flavour that has leveled up from the vegetarian recipes of yore, they have fewer calories and less fat than their meatier counterparts.
Try: At South St. Burger, the soy-based, vegan-friendly Veggie Burger patty weighs in at 190 calories and 10 grams of fat per patty, compared with 340 calories and 27 grams of fat in the six-ounce burger patty.
3. Use fruit for flavour
When whipping up plant-based meals, grabbing a fistful of greens might be your first instinct, but don’t forget about fruit. It’s a great way to sweeten a salad. In fact, Restaurant Business magazine reported in 2018 that Granny Smith apples were the fastest-growing fruit to be used as a salad garnish, spiking by 40% year over year.
Try: Freshii’s Market Salad comes garnished with green apples in addition to carrots, dried cranberries, beet slaw, avocado, and feta cheese on a bed of field greens and spinach, drizzled with honey Dijon dressing.
4. Count on celery
Celery juice has become so popular, ELXR Juice Lab in Yorkville has started a daily Celery Juice Club. “Celery aids with digestion, inflammation, healthy gut promotion as well as overall detoxification,” says CEO Dan Gelshteyn. “Members are drinking a bottle of pure, 100% organic celery on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.”
Try: Not ready to go full celery? ELXR’s Third Base blends celery juice with cucumber, spinach, parsley, basil and dandelion leaf.
5. Sneak in a sweet snack
Fruits are packed with enough natural sugars to tame any sweet tooth. Keep in-season fruit and fruit-based snacks within arm’s reach to ward off a snack attack or stock up on fruit-and-nut-based nibbles.
Try: Palm Lane’s energy bites pack cashews, dates, agave, coconut, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and hemp seeds into a nutrition-packed ball. Bonus points: they’re also vegan.
6. Grill ’em
“Grilled fruit and vegetables are easy and filling,” says the Whole Foods Market Culinary Team. End your meal on a sweet note with a sizzled fruit dessert. “The heat from the grill adds a caramelized flavour,” adds the team.
Try: Due to their high water content, peaches and pineapple are ready on the grill in a snap.