Wellness Club — Why be Plant-Forward?

Wellness Club — Why be Plant-Forward?
Abingdon, VA. - Thursday, Apr 1, 2021.

Written by: Elizabeth Hall, MS, RDN, LDN

Being plant-forward is on trend in today’s society for health and sustainability reasons. Going plant-based just means that you are focusing on an eating pattern based primarily on plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. Being plant-forward doesn’t necessarily mean you are a vegetarian or vegan or that you never eat meat or dairy. Plant-based doesn’t have to mean plants-only! Here are 8 tips to help you be more plant-forward.


1. Make half of your plate vegetables or fruits. This is a good rule of thumb to ensure you are getting lots of nutrients and antioxidants, but also fiber that will keep you fuller longer.


2. Change how you think about meat. Instead of planning the whole meal around meat as an entrée, start thinking about in-season produce and plan your meal around that. Then add animal protein for additional protein and flavor; more as a garnish than the main course. 


3. Choose plant-based fats. Choosing nuts, seeds, and oils provides your body with more unsaturated fats which are typically anti-inflammatory and less harmful for heart health.


4. Go meat-less one day per week. It’s ok to not give up meat! Meat is nutrient- and protein-rich, but plants can be too! Make a plan to go meat-less for at least one day each week and experiment with different plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, or quinoa.


5. Make half your grains whole grains. When choosing a grain, try to choose whole grain options for more nutrients and fiber.


6. Go green with leafy greens. Incorporating a variety of leafy greens whether eaten cooked or raw can provide important nutrients but also add bulk to a meal by adding fiber. And you guessed it! Fiber has digestive and heart health benefits, but also keeps you full and satisfied.


7. Use fresh herbs. Incorporate plants through flavor as well and utilize fresh herbs to season your recipes


8. Add fruit to your dessert. Craving something sweet? Fruit is a great alternative or can be used to add freshness to a decadent dessert.