Plant Forward is defined as the movement towards including more plant-based foods and fewer animal ones in your everyday eating. For some that may mean going 100% plant-based with no animal products and for others it could be simply incorporating more plant foods like vegetables or whole grains at every meal.
Why should you go to “Plant Forward”? Nutrition and health are closely related. About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity. These include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and poor bone health.
There are plenty of ways of eating plant-forward which include the following:
Plant-Based/ Vegan Diet: Consumes no animal products including dairy, meat, chicken, fish, and eggs
Lacto-Vegetarian: Consumes dairy and avoids fish, eggs, and meat
Ovo-Vegetarian: Consumes eggs and avoids dairy, fish, and meat
Pescatarian: Consumes fish and seafood and sometimes includes eggs and dairy as well but avoids meat
Semi-vegetarian/ Flexitarian: Prioritizes on vegetable-based foods but still consumes meat in moderation
Transition in a way that will create lasting habits. This may mean for some take baby steps and for others going all in. When eating out, international restaurants usually have more vegetarian meal options than your classic American spots. Try to incorporate Meatless Mondays (or any day of the week) or one meal a day that is meatless. You can also try looking at what you currently eat week to week and create a “plant slant”.
Plant Slant: Step 1
Think of vegetarian meals you already enjoy. This can include salads, a burrito with beans, rice, and peppers, pasta with tomato sauce, cereal with fruit, and vegetable stir fry. Those would be meals that you can keep on your plant slant menu.
Plant Slant: Step 2
Think of meals that you prepare regularly that you can be adapted onto a vegetarian menu. Examples include replacing the meat in chili with beans, trying hummus wraps instead of deli meat sandwiches, swapping meat marinara with lentils, or even try bean burgers.
Plant Slant: Step 3
Check out some cookbooks at the store or websites and get creative. You do not have to be a culinary wiz to whip up a good dish. Some food vegetarian cookbooks include Forks Over Knives, Oh She Glows, Plant Pure Nation, or How Not to Die Cookbook.
In conclusion, a plant-forward diet can help with longevity and living a long, healthy life. It is never an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to eating healthier. Even the smallest changes are steps in the right direction in creating a long-lasting, healthy lifestyle.
As most of our advice on Nutrition, balance is key. Getting a whole wide range of nutrients and energy from whole food sources is the secret to maintaining a good balance in terms of hormones. For more advice, or to speak with a registered dietitian at Home Base please visit www.homebase.org/nutrition or call our clinic at 617-724-5202.