Why are plant-based diets so popular? February 17, 2020

by Anna Eat

Here at HelloFresh, we love veggie recipes – in particular, the health benefits that come with eating more plant-based foods.

Vegetables, grains, legumes, lentils and beans are all good sources of protein, and the fibre found in veggies, grains and legumes can help to reduce your not so good cholesterol. Nuts and seeds are great for snacking, as they’re high in healthy fats which help to maintain and boost your healthy cholesterol levels.

If that wasn’t enough, research has shown that a plant-based diet (even if just once a week) can help to reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer and obesity. 

So, if all of this has you considering changing things up, potentially having the odd Meat-Free-Monday, switching to a flexitarian diet, or even going vegetarian, here’s a couple of things to remember.

Avoid the total elimination of a whole food group

This is a key part of any positive diet change, and it’s why flexitarianism is one of our favourite ways to start eating more plant-based. This diet focuses on adding new foods to your diet without completely eliminating others. What’s not to love!?

Always include some plant-based foods at each meal

Whether it be fruit or veggies, grains, cereals, legumes, beans, nuts or seeds, there is a heap of ways to incorporate them into your breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks! 

Try alternative sources of protein (if not meat)

Meat provides essential amino acids that our body doesn’t make, so we must get them from the food we eat. Good vegetarian sources of protein include tofu, lentils, beans, eggs, nuts and dairy products – just like in our Peanut Tofu and Sesame Rice dish. 

Chickpeas are also a super delicious, nutritious and high protein meat substitute. We use them in lots of our veggie dishes, including these Mexican Smashed Chickpea Tacos, and in our customer-favourite Creamy Chickpea Stew.

Minimise your risk of deficiency in important nutrients

If you’re really cutting down on animal based protein, make sure you’re still getting enough calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12 and zinc.

When you do choose to eat meat, opt for good quality lean meat

We think meat with the fat trimmed off is best. Lean cuts of pork, chicken and beef are all good options, while it’s best to avoid too much processed meat like bacon, sausages and salami which are high in saturated fats and salt.

If you’d love to try eating more veggie meals but are a bit stuck with what to cook and how to ensure a healthy balance, why not check out our Veggie Plan? It’s packed full of delicious and inspiring recipes with everything from crumbed haloumi burgers to coconut dhals!

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