Anyone trying to improve their health knows the importance of diet and making the right food choices. Switching over to grass-fed beef, organic chicken and healthier seafood such as wild caught salmon that is void of chemical hormones, preservatives and nauseating additives found in typical packaged meats in supermarkets helps in that equation. But you can also enhance those efforts by adding plant based protein foods to your diet for healthy recipe substitutions. Here are tips and tricks that can gradually ease your transition from regular animal protein to more plant based protein foods.
You can exchange beans and legumes for plant based protein without feeling deprived with all the ways you can prepare them while benefitting your gut health and digestion to lowering your cholesterol, obesity, IBD, and colorectal cancer. For these reasons, they are a rich source of protein, minerals, fiber, and prebiotics also referred to as galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). At the same time, these plant based protein foods don’t have the saturated fat in comparison to animal protein for healthy recipe substitutions.
Something I like to do is mash beans like black beans for delicious black bean patties topped with spaghetti sauce, a slice of cheese and a dollop of sour cream. However, you also can make my same bean patties recipe and eat it on a bun like a hamburger. Mashing black beans is just one idea. You can also mash chickpeas and white beans for a creamy salad dressing, sandwich spread, dip, or for a velvety pasta sauce to velvety, creamy soups.
Speaking of beans and legumes, you can also use them as a meat replacement in casseroles if they also have rice in the recipe to form a complete protein to lasagna, fillings for tortilla wraps, enchiladas to tasty side dishes with tomato, basil and chewy celery and onion with a vinaigrette dressing. Beans also can boost the nutritional content of homemade soup whether you leave them whole or mash them.
Using nuts and seeds are another way to increase protein in your recipes as well as providing healthy mono- and polyunsaturated plant oils as well as vitamins and minerals. In fact, you need five ounces of nuts, beans, seeds, beans, peas, and lentils a day to get enough protein according to the American Heart Association. Some suggestions are adding some nuts to stir-fry dishes or yogurt to sprinkling on seeds to your salads can make a difference.
How much is considered one ounce that can satisfy that daily protein requirement? Well, you need one-fourth cup of cooked beans, tofu, peas or lentils per person can do the trick. As far as nuts or seeds go, one half ounces is enough or one tablespoon of peanut butter can meet that protein demand.
On a serious note, I don’t serve much meat to my family unless it is grass-fed beef, organic chicken to seafood. Several days a week I cook meatless options and gradually are incorporating more plant based protein foods for cooking healthier meals.
These are just a few ideas about plant based protein food options that can help. Honestly, changing your diet may sound hard, but the end result is worth it for the welfare of you and family.