Benefits of a Plant-Forward Diet
Nutrition research touting the health benefits of a plant-forward diet are numerous. In fact, the plant-forward Mediterranean diet has long been considered the gold standard for nutrition, disease prevention, wellness, and longevity. This is based on its health benefits and sustainability. Multiple studies have shown this eating pattern to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, while also promoting better mental and physical function. The diet has an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, beans, and healthy oils like olive oil. Foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy are not excluded, just eaten in moderation.
Following a plant-forward eating pattern is worth striving for but it does not have to be expensive or difficult. Many convenient, naturally plant-based foods, like Michigan Apples, canned beans, pasta and nuts for example, are all easily found in your local supermarket. Including more of these delicious, budget-friendly options in your meals is a great place to begin a healthy plant-forward dietary journey.
Here are some additional tips to get you started:
- Include fruits and/or veggies at every meal. Try to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and vary the colors to get a healthy variety of nutrients. For instance, add Michigan Apple slices on the plate with your sandwich; top your hot cereal with a chopped apple and a dash of cinnamon; add frozen veggies to canned or homemade soup; snack on apples with nut butter, or raw veggies with hummus, salsa, or guacamole.
- Don’t make meat the focus. Have smaller amounts of meat at meals and don’t feel like it has to be the centerpiece of the plate. Try a large salad with chopped apples, nuts and a sprinkle of cheese; a veggie stir-fry on brown rice with some shrimp or chicken; or a bean-based soup with whole grain bread.
- Select healthier fats. Stock your pantry with olive and vegetable oils, olives, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocados which are all examples of “good fats.”
Try a meatless meal one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Add fruit for breakfast and dessert. Make sure your morning meal includes a serving of fruit and look for options to add the natural sweetness of fruit to desserts. For instance, a baked Michigan Apple with cinnamon
- Build a plant-forward bowl. It’s easy to find delicious recipes that combine many nutrient-rich plants into a tasty bowl. For example, build a meal around a salad by starting with leafy greens and adding an assortment of other vegetables and fruits. Get creative with a buddha bowl or find ways to pump up the plants in your morning bowl of hot or cold cereal.
With a little practice, you’ll find it easy to transition to a more plant-forward eating pattern. Here is a bit of inspiration that includes the tasty nutrition of naturally plant-based Michigan Apples:
- Oatmeal topped with walnuts, chopped Michigan Apple, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Breakfast wrap: Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with peanut butter, thin slices of Michigan Apple and a sprinkle of granola.
- Make this easy overnight Apple Breakfast Cobbler.
- Mix up this Apple Grain Salad: A tasty blend of whole grain farro, walnuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries and Michigan Apples.
- Cook a batch of Michigan Apple & Butternut Squash Soup. Serve with whole-grain crackers, and a green side salad.
- Pump up the plants by adding Michigan Apple slices and spinach to your turkey sandwich.
- Serve Apple Ginger Fish with a side of asparagus or broccoli.
- Make your own plant-based burgers like these amazing Apple Pecan Burgers. Serve with raw veggies.
- Pick up some whole grain rolls to enjoy with this Apple Tortellini Salad.
For more Michigan Apple recipe inspiration and meal ideas click here.