I love Michael Pollan’s advice: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Want some easy ways to put this into practice? Here are 12 tips for eating more plants and less refined foods:
- Try replacing coffee with green or herbal tea. Green tea is full of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and herbal tea counts towards your water intake for the day! If you are going to drink coffee, be sure it is organic, limit it to one cup a day (or even just to the weekends) and do not add any sugar.
- Reduce chips or crackers and replace them with almonds or walnuts for an afternoon snack (about ¼ cup) or veggie sticks with hummus.
- Add spinach to your meal—it is easy to get organic prewashed baby spinach in most grocery stores. Chop it up, sauté it and add it to almost any meal!
- If you are going to add a salad to your meal, be sure to choose the darker leafy greens and be mindful with the amount of salad dressing and what’s in it—better yet, make your own! Also, add beans or nuts/seeds to a salad for added fiber and protein.
- Avoid products with added sugar or hydrogenated oils—read the ingredients label! You would be surprised where added sugar shows up.
- Choose healthy fats—coconut oil is very good for sautéing, olive oil is good for salads, dressings and lower heats, and flaxseed is great to add to smoothies or take straight (but should always be refrigerated and never heated). Nuts, seeds, olives and avocados are also good sources of healthy fats.
- Buy organic when possible and see the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen to make the best choices if buying conventional (you can also read more HERE from my previous blog post on why it makes sense to buy organic).
- Smoothies are a great meal or snack: choose a quality protein powder and add berries, greens, and chia or flax seeds. See my blog post HERE on quality protein powders and a smoothie recipe!
- Think portions: Remember that a serving of whole grains or pasta is ½ cup, a serving of nuts is ¼ cup, and serving of vegetables is usually 1 cup. It is best to make half your plate vegetables!
- Try cooking a bigger healthy meal on Sunday so that you have leftovers for the week for either lunch or dinner. Soups and stews are great options (like this recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup with Kale)
- If you are going to eat soy, only sparingly eat the processed soy products like soy sausages and burgers as well as soy milk. Instead, opt for tempeh or miso. Tofu can also be eaten in moderation for some people. Always select organic soy products since most conventional soy is genetically-modified and high in pesticides. My absolute favorite tempeh can be found HERE. New to tempeh? Check out the Post-Punk Kitchen’s great recipes HERE.
- Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day! Variety is really good for our bodies and the rainbow of colors in foods contain powerful phytonutrients to give us optimum health. For example, in a stir fry add red bell pepper, carrots, yellow squash, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, purple cabbage, garlic and onions.