BY JESSE HAAS, LICENSED FUNCTIONAL NUTRITIONIST AND CO-FOUNDER OF WELLNESS MINNEAPOLIS.
Instead of venturing into a meal plan or plant-based diet, I work with my clients to find ways to work vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds into the meals and snacks they’re already preparing for themselves and their families. Grab one or two of these suggestions to play with for a few weeks and see how you can work more plants into your diet without much added effort. Reflect on how you feel—body, mind and heart—to encourage you to make this change one that lasts.
1. PUT A VEG ON IT. Add veggies to literally every dish you make. Making mac and cheese? Add some broccoli florets or sautéed mushrooms. Spaghetti on the menu? Thicken the marinara with kale, artichoke hearts and mushrooms (recipe below).
2. MAKE VEGGIE SWAPS FOR GRAIN PRODUCTS. Swap vegetables for 50 percent (or more!) of the rice, pasta or other grain in a recipe. Look for riced cauliflower and noodles made from zucchini, sweet potatoes, or beets.
3. GET SNEAKY! Pureed veggies can be mixed into dishes to enhance the flavor, nutrition and texture of the dish. Cooked and pureed cauliflower can replace cream in a creamy soup base. Pureed kale or spinach can be mixed with ground meat for meatballs, burgers or meatloaves. You can even blend some butternut squash into that mac and cheese!
4. NEVER SHY AWAY FROM A SIDE SALAD. All you need is a good mix of lettuce and a delicious salad dressing, and you’ve got yourself a side dish. It really is that easy!