Plant based foods are trending in the world of health and nutrition, and for good reason! By aiming to incorporate more plant-based foods in your meals and snacks, you’ll increase your serving of fruits and vegetables, vary your protein sources and boost your fiber intake. All can aid in digestive health, weight management, and overall health.
Choosing more plant-based foods doesn’t mean throwing out all your meat and poultry options. It simply means adding more variety to your food choices to jazz up your meals and snacks! You’re likely eating some plant-based foods as part of your daily routine already. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are all examples. With spring upon us, it’s a great time to be thinking about potentially having a vegetable garden or having some tomatoes or green peppers in potted plants on your deck. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to have more produce on hand.
As a registered dietitian, I want to be clear that eating meat and poultry is not bad and can still provide great nutrition! However, sometimes we are repetitive with our shopping list and food choices. (I’m guilty of this as well!) There are so many plant-based foods that can help us achieve our protein and fiber needs throughout the day. For example, beans, quinoa, brown rice and lentils all provide protein and fiber!
Inside our guts we have a microbiome that is made up of mostly bacteria (don’t fret – we need these bacteria!!) Our gut plays a huge role in our overall health and you’ll feel much better if your microbiome is well balanced! We can help balance our microbiome by having good nutrition and feeding it pre and pro biotics.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
People often think of these two as the same, but they are in fact very different! Prebiotics act as food for the current bacteria that’s in our gut and helps it to grow. On the other hand, probiotics are the new bacteria that we add to our current microbiome. They are both essential for a healthy gut!
Prebiotics can be found in many of the foods that we consume (or should consume) daily. That’s why there is more of an emphasis on probiotics in the media. Foods that have prebiotics include fruits, vegetables and other complex carbs including fiber. So, plant based foods can offer great benefits towards our gut health!
Probiotics contain live organisms, which is good! Yogurt is a perfect example of a common food that contains probiotics. Now if you look on the shelf at the store, you’ll see other items such as kombucha and sauerkraut that have probiotics. Then again, you can find supplement forms of both pre and probiotics. Food is the best source for pre and probiotics, as they offer so many other nutrients beneficial to our health.
Find what works for a healthier YOU!
As always, our goal as Registered Dietitians is to help you feel your best! We’d challenge you to tie in more plant-based foods into your day-to-day life and see how you can boost your intake of fruits and vegetables as well as provide protein, fiber, pre and pro biotics into your routine. If you have any questions, please reach out to us through our Dietitian’s Corner page!
Check out these plant-based recipes!
- BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with Avocado Slaw
- Quinoa Salad with Apples, Baby Spinach and Chick Peas
- Lentil Soup
- The BLEND Classic California Burger! *This is for those who have good intentions of eating a plant- based burger, but still need their beef! It’s a perfect blend of mushrooms and beef to add great flavor to a juicy burger!
Amy, RD, LD
Mayo Clinic. (2018, March 06). Prebiotics, probiotics and your health. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/prebiotics-probiotics-and-your-health/art-20390058