Most people know there are many benefits associated with eating whole plant based foods. But so many have a hard time including more fruits and vegetables in their diet. But fear not, today I will share easy ways to add more healthy plants to your diet.
A whole food plant based diet is a bit different than the vegan diet. It includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It does not include salt, sugar, oils, and all the packaged foods like candy, cereal, most bread, fast food, and more.
The endless benefits of the plant based diet reach from reversal of heart disease and improving diabetes to increased energy levels, reduced risk of cancer, a boosted immune system, weight loss, and more.
Whenever we eat lots of foods that are rich in salt, sugar, and fat, our taste gets trained to only want these strong flavored foods. No wonder the flavors of a simple fruit or vegetable taste boring. However, if you work on reducing salts, sugars, and fats while including more whole plants, your taste will adjust over time.
While you work toward adjusting your taste, there are sneaky ways to include more healthy plant based foods into your diet.
Hacks to include more plants in your diet
Try some of the following hacks and let me know which tip works best for you in the comments below!
Hack #1: Include riced cauliflower
Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts contain important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Not everyone loves to eat cauliflower but luckily a new trend is to use riced cauliflower. Try adding these to your meals. You can mix them with any rice dish or add them to pasta sauces, Sloppy Joe’s, soups, and stews.
Hack #2: Hide Tofu in a Sauce Recipe
Tofu is a great plant based protein source and a source of calcium, iron, and zinc. It is cholesterol free and low in fat. Tofu also contains flavonoids in the form of phyto-estrogen. Some people are worried about the use of soy products due to their estrogenic effects. But phyto-estrogens in soy based food actually dock onto the estrogen receptors while prohibiting the actual estrogen from getting in. Therefore, these phyto-estrogens might help prevent breast cancer (source).
The only problem is that tofu can taste pretty gross. UNLESS you blend it into a sauce. You can blend it with a marinara sauce or any other cream sauce. You won’t taste the tofu but at the same time you’ll enjoy the health benefits of this incredible plant food. Check out a creamy spaghetti recipe with hidden tofu HERE>>
Hack #3: Use Cashews for Cheesy Sauce
Cashews have a cheesy flavor and if you soak them in water for a while they can be blended into a cheesy sauce. Cashews are rich in zinc which is a great mineral to boost your immune system. Compared to cheese, cashews contain three times less saturated fat and no cholesterol. You can blend them with many ingredients. My favorite meal with cashew sauce is this vegan stroganoff recipe, but you can also try this Alfredo recipe and this Caesar salad dressing.
Hack #4: Make Healthy Veggie Chips
A great tool to turn vegetables into a crunchy healthy snack is the Air Fryer. Many air fryers require little to no oil. You do have to experiment a while to get the right time and temperature for your favorite vegetable, but the benefits are outstanding. Making your own vegetable chips can cut out the added oil and salt, so these chips are a healthier snack choice. Here is a recipe to try. You can also try making them in the oven.
Hack #5: Puree your Beans
I always suggest eating beans at least once a day. You’ll do even better by adding them to your lunch and dinner. You can even add them to smoothies. Beans also come with proven health benefits. As this study shows, increasing bean intake by 70 g a day cuts back pre-cancer clusters (for colon cancer) by up to 65 percent, a pretty significant number by simply switching your meat with beans.
However, not everyone likes beans. So my hack to include beans without tasting them is to add them to your pasta sauce. Simple add the marinara and beans into a blender. Then add the mix to a pot and heat. Cover your pasta with the sauce and enjoy!
Hack #6: Make a Sauce with Veggies
Just as you can blend beans into a sauce, you can do so with veggies! In this coconut potato stew recipe I blend bell peppers with water and use it as the sauce base. Bell peppers are high in vitamin C and a great food to boost your immune system. My toddler does not like to eat bell peppers but he does like this recipe. Sneaky, sneaky, haha.
Hack #7: Drink Green Smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to increase fruit and vegetable intake. You can create smoothies that taste like a dessert while also including veggies. Most often, spinach is added to the smoothie to make it a green smoothie. Spinach contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals, but also has phytochemicals like carotenoids. Carotenoids are anti-oxidants with the power to decrease risk of cancers and eye disease (source). Blending spinach can also boost the bioavailability of the phytochemical which means it can more easily be absorbed by your body.
If you are not a fan of spinach but want to include it in your diet, simply add it to your smoothie. As long as you add bananas or a citrus fruit you won’t taste the spinach. For smoothie beginners I always suggest trying my black forest cake smoothie. It doesn’t contain any added sugar and is sweetened by fruits alone. It tastes like a dessert but contains fruits AND vegetables!
Get the free 3-day meal plan filled with healthy plant based food below: