It’s a New Year and with that comes some New Year’s Resolutions. More and more people are trying to go meatless or at least cut down on the amount of meat they are eating. Eating more plants is a great move for most people, however just cutting meat out of your diet might not be that healthy. If your resolution is to cut back on meat here are some mistakes to avoid.
Not replacing meat with another protein:
When you take meat out of your diet, you are removing your main source of protein. You are also removing other nutrients such as iron and B vitamins. Make sure to replace these lost nutrients by adding foods such as beans and lentils, nuts and/or nut butters, seeds and/or seed butter, and whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and sprouted grain breads.
Too many processed faux meats:
With so many choices for meat replacements it seems like an easy switch to a meatless meal. Unfortunately these faux meats tend to be highly processed and include ingredients that offer zero nutritional value such as binders, preservatives, and colouring.
Too much cheese:
Cheese is an easy and delicious way to get protein. Sadly too much will result in eating too much saturated animal fat. Aim to get most of your protein from plant-based sources and just use a small amount of cheese to add flavour.
Too many “beige carbs”:
Beige carbs include pasta, bread, and wraps. Make sure your meals include plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables. The more colour, the more photochemicals or protective plant compounds you are eating.
Not enough vegetables:
The point of cutting back on meat and eating more plant-based food, is just that, to eat more plants. However cutting meat out of your diet doesn’t always result in increased consumption of fruits and vegetable. Focus on creating a green base for your meals (throw a handful of greens on your plate first). When you eat pasta or rice do a 50% vegetable pasta/rice and 50% regular pasta/rice. Buy a pre-made coleslaw mix and throw a bit into a salad, stir-fry, wrap, etc. to get an extra shot of vegetables.