there’s no doubt about it, our vegan friends have some incredibly healthy habits that can easily be incorporated into the average meat eater’s diet. you may not be ready to rid your kitchen of meat, dairy, eggs and animal-based products and sweeteners, but you can think like a vegan when piling up your dinner plate. we took a close look at the top health practices most commonly incorporated in the meat-free world and found five ways to add in nutrient dense, delicious eating habits that give your body more of what it needs while giving your system a larger variety of substantial protein and plant-based goodness.
while a big steak may be your ideal protein dinner, there are great ways to supplement your dinner plate with protein packed plant foods. there are several tasty grains that pack in this muscle building macro; take a look at quinoa, wild rice or get adventurous with buckwheat or teff. try cutting the beef in half for your next pot of chili and supplement with teff for fullness, flavor and protein. grains are a great substitute for nitrate packed breakfast meats, they make denser, more filling sandwich breads and round out a dinner plate.
there are also many vegetables that add significant protein to your meal. we’re all familiar with beans being a solid source, but many greens like broccoli, spinach and peas also play a protein role. this is why we’ve chosen pea protein, along with brown rice and black beans, for iwon organics protein chips and crackers. this doesn’t mean we skipped on flavor! grab a pack of ranch and the creamy flavor of buttermilk blends with the zing of fresh herbs. or try the cheddar cheese protein puffs for a healthy blend of veggie protein and sharp cheddar.
so many amazing vegan meals are created with the prolific and innovative use of spices and herbs. if your flavor profile stops at salt and pepper, it’s time for a lesson in savory, spicy and fresh. visit all your ethnic markets and find an assortment of mexican chilies, indian curries, italian blends, asian saffron and turmeric, lemon grass and all the strange colors, smells, pastes and powders that take ordinary to phenomenal. don’t be timid when it comes to experimenting with new herbs and spices. you can always set a small amount of your dish aside to see how it tastes. remember some spices are better cooked, while many herbs are more robust added fresh at the end.
so many of us don’t eat enough plant-based foods because we only know how to cook them one or two ways. we boil them or steam them, roast them or sauté them and get stuck in ruts preparing the same three vegetables the same way for every meal. we don’t make grilled chicken every night, so why do we steam broccoli every time?
grab your favorite veg and start playing in the kitchen. try cutting it differently, in cubes, sticks, slivers, rough chunks, shredded, diced or cut into your favorite shapes. the choice is yours, but vegetables cook differently and depending on what you put with them, can actually taste differently when cut varied sizes. then experiment with cooking methods, fried, broiled, charred over an open flame. have you tried it raw? salads don’t have to be lettuce and tomato. redefine your plant food boundaries!
of plants that is. you may still have a ham sandwich for lunch, but how many plant-based foods have made it into your day. hopefully, you grabbed a bag of iwon organics with that sandwich and loaded it with tasty extras like sprouts, tomatoes, bell peppers and purple onion. don’t forget the large variety of fruits, nuts and seeds that all pack serious nutrition and many have high quantities of protein to fuel you through the day. the next time you want a little extra substance on your salad, top it with lightly salted nuts and seeds.
when you portion your dinner plate, try making meat your side dish and vegetables your main. when veggies are combined with a grain, like stir-fry over brown rice, your meal will not feel incomplete. as you make that morning omelet, add in some spinach, mushrooms and top it with avocado.
when a vegan goes out to eat, they are highly restricted on restaurant menu choices. if you’re at a restaurant that is not vegan/vegetarian friendly, think through your appetizers and sides and see what plant-based, healthy options may be chosen or substituted. when heading out for bbq, you don’t want the veggie platter, but starting your meal with a large salad or choosing to eat your baked potato first can help curb your carnivore appetite. if you’re out for a light lunch, ask your server for meat free menu suggestions.
delicious vegan food is often made at home or found at vegan specific restaurants, but this doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some of the tips and tricks of an animal free lifestyle alongside your swordfish filet.