Plants and You: Fuel for the Future
National Nutrition Month: Plants, You, and the Future
Happy National Nutrition Month! This month is a wonderful time, as we celebrate nourishing our bodies through in the best way: healthful eating. Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics announces a “theme” to promote an aspect of healthy eating. This year, the theme for the month is “Fuel for the Future”, which means eating with sustainability in mind. Consuming meats regularly use up much more resources than eating a salad: 6 oz. of steak uses 674 gallons of water to produce while a salad only uses 21 gallons of water1. What does this mean? Try and go plant -based in your meal choices for a healthier you and planet!
Why go plant-based?
The research is overwhelming. It has been proven through numerous studies that adding plants and fiber in your diet promotes overall health. First, fruits and vegetables carry fiber. Fiber is linked to lower incidences of obesity and cardiovascular incidence 2. Fruits and vegetables also have chemical compounds called phytonutrients (AKA vitamins and minerals) that help to protect the cells of our bodies against chronic diseases 3. But you don’t have to only eat vegetables and fruits and their benefits! Here are some ways to get started with adding them to your diet below.
What are 5 ways you can get started?
1. Meatless Mondays. One day of the week with only plants during the day is a great way to start. If you’re not able to do the whole day at first, try only during dinner when you have extra time to prepare your meals.
2. Add to your meals. Rather than taking away food items that you love, try adding a little bit of fresh or frozen fruits and veggies to each meal. Eating oatmeal in the morning for breakfast? Throw in some frozen blueberries before it hits the microwave!
3. Packing your lunch for the week at work? Try meal prepping ahead for the week and make a giant salad before your work week starts, including cooking any protein! This way, lunch is an easy grab on the go when you pack a serving from the day. Just add your dressing before bringing it to lunch and it will stay well-preserved in the fridge all week long!
4. Sharpen up your snacks! Any dip that you might enjoy regularly with a crunchy, salty carb can be swapped out for a vegetable. Love French Onion Dip? Try pre-portioning a serving size out for a snack a dipping some baby carrots in it! The fiber from the veggies or fruits make you feel fuller longer, making your snacks more satisfying in between meals.
5. Camouflage them. Whether it’s you or someone else you are cooking for, there is always someone that dislikes veggies. A lot of veggies can be hidden in popular recipes without anyone noticing- you don’t have to tell! For example, steamed cauliflower can be blended and swirled into cheese sauce when making mac n cheese. Throw an extra package of frozen vegetables into your soups when heating. Or, throw some spinach in that AM smoothie-it’s a powerhouse and the taste is easily covered up by a little bit of sweetness!
The Bottom Line
If you are looking to make a simple change to improve your diet, look no further! Fruits and veggies will give your diet the healthy boost that it needs.
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