This post was written by Heinen’s own Registered Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
There are many styles of eating as there are stars in the sky. From Paleo to Vegan, one thing is for certain: no matter which camp you belong, we can all agree that eating more plants is a good idea.
The beauty of the plant-based movement is wherever you fall on your journey to better your health, you will benefit in profound ways by making simple swaps in your food choices.
So, what does plant-based mean?
A plant-based eating style emphasizes the consumption of whole plant foods while reducing your intake of animal foods like dairy, eggs, meat and foods containing animal products.
Following a well-balanced plant-based diet over time can support:
- A healthy body weight
- Balanced blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Optimal digestion
- Vibrant energy levels
It’s important to emphasize that you will receive the most benefit by choosing plant foods in their whole, unprocessed form. This includes eating a variety of:
- Vegetables and leafy greens
- Nuts and seeds
- Fresh herbs and spices
- Whole, unprocessed grains like wild rice and quinoa
How has plant-based evolved?
No longer are plant-based diets reserved only for vegetarians and vegans.
If you’re a meat-eater and aren’t willing to give it up, guess what? Because of the flexibility of the plant-based diet, you don’t have to!
The first step is to expand the amount of plants on your plate, while decreasing the amount of animal products. For example, rather than an 8 oz portion of meat, choose a 3-4 oz portion and load the rest of your plate with a variety of vegetables such as a leafy green salad with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.
Another way to get started is to plan one meatless meal per week and then gradually increase to two meals per week. Even better, how about choosing a meatless lunch or dinner every day?
Where can you find plant-based items at Heinen’s?
More options exist at Heinen’s than ever before to help you easily incorporate more plants into your meals without sacrificing taste. Take a look at what our following departments have to offer:
The birthplace of plant-based diets, you’ll want to spend the bulk of your time in Heinen’s Produce Department. Be sure to shop the rainbow and choose from a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits. Check out the convenience of spiralized sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash and beets; they make a great substitute for pasta! Look for riced cauliflower and broccoli, both can be easily swapped for white rice.
Unsweetened plant-based milks like coconut, almond, cashew and flax milk can replace cow’s milk. Traditional yogurt can be traded for coconut and almond milk-based yogurts.
Load your cart with frozen fruit for smoothies and frozen vegetables for stews, soups and side dishes. Watching your blood sugar? Mashed cauliflower is the perfect substitute for potatoes! Sprouted breads and plant-based burgers can also be found here.
Yes, you can now find plant-based meal options behind the glass case in the Meat Department. Try our Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash or Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. In addition, meat alternatives such as tofu, seitan and tempeh are housed in the Meat Department.
Deli & Prepared Foods:
In our Deli Department, you will find unique varieties of hummus, fermented vegetables and cashew-based cheeses. Don’t forget to check out the gourmet case for ready-to-eat plant-based meal solutions!
Despite what you may have heard, the inner aisles also offer a wealth of plant-based meal solutions. Look for wild and brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, beans, lentils, and bean-based pasta. Want to upgrade your snacking? Reach for baked kale chips or roasted chickpeas and lentils.
Top off your plant-based shopping trip in Heinen’s Wellness Department. Here you’ll find antioxidant-rich matcha tea, a variety of plant-based nutrition bars, sprouted nuts and seeds, as well as chia, flax, and hemp seeds.
There’s no wrong way to adopt a plant-based diet. As long as you are deliberately and consistently adding more plants to your meals while decreasing the amount of animal products you consume, you’re doing it right!
Want to learn more about plant-based diets? Stop by your local Heinen’s. One of our Wellness Consultants would be happy to assist you!