When you walk through the Dairy or Frozen aisle at Heinen’s you can’t miss the variety of plant-based food options. It’s hard to think back to a time when these items weren’t on our grocery lists. From almond milks to veggie burgers, it seems that there is a plant-based alternative for most everything, but that was not always the case.
Just 20 years ago, following a plant-based diet meant giving up many everyday foods. Veggie burgers and tofu existed as a replacement for meat, but the few plant-based dairy alternatives meant saying goodbye to milks, yogurts, cheeses and ice cream. Luckily, we don’t have that issue today as the plant-based food market is booming.
So, what are plant-based foods and how have they gone from an alternative diet solution to a mainstream must-have? Andrea, Heinen’s Dairy and Frozen Food Lead, has all the answers.
While traditional milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream is made with cow’s milk, plant-based or non-dairy alternatives are made using nuts and vegetables like coconut, almonds and peas. The same goes for meat alternatives. Rather than using beef for a burger, black beans, quinoa and vegetables make up the patty.
To see just how far plant-based foods have come, simply look at all of the options. From soy to almond to cashew to coconut, the variety is huge, which means there’s something for everyone.
Allergic to nuts? No problem! Pea-based dairy products are allergy-friendly.
Lactose intolerant? There’s a solution for that! Plant-based dairy products are lactose free.
Over the last five years, the demand for plant-based products has skyrocketed. Growing research in the mainstream medical field plays a big role, but everyday people are interested in plant-based food, too, especially with the vegan, vegetarian and healthy-living documentaries available today. Regardless of the cause, the plant-based food market is expanding into every grocery store department and changing the way we shop.
If you simply can’t do without cow’s milk, don’t worry. Many companies and dairy farmers are finding ways to remove the lactose from traditional milk to make it dairy-free while also creating their own organic and nut milks.
How do you choose from all of the varieties? Take Andrea’s advice: Heinen’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream and Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers are her plant-based favorites from the Frozen aisle. She also recommends thinking about your own preferences and nutritional needs when choosing a plant-based solution because the health benefits and taste profiles are all a bit different depending on the brand and ingredients. For example, if you’re looking for protein, opt for pea-based milk over almond milk. No matter what you choose, it’s really about finding what works best for you.
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant or simply looking to make a few healthy lifestyle changes, plant-based foods are a great solution and Heinen’s can help you get started. Try a few options this summer by tossing a veggie burger on the grill at a cookout or by adding non-dairy ice cream to your summer desert menu. The plant-based opportunities are endlessly delicious.