People tend to think that being vegan means a lifetime of problematic and painstaking food preparation. But it really shouldn’t be difficult. When choosing what to eat every day, 50-year-old Tracy and her mom follow a few simple nutritional principles.
Remember a healthy base
Every day, Tracy and her mom eat the main types of plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Creating dishes from these products gives you unlimited opportunities to enjoy healthy and tasty dishes that meet all nutritional needs.
Here’s how it looks:
One cup may refer to one whole fruit, such as a banana, orange, apple, grapefruit, or pear. Also, one cup is a cup of cherries, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, or a cup of crushed fruit. Women consume dried fruits in the amount of ½ cup per day.
One cup is ten broccoli florets, 2 medium carrots, one large sweet potato, chopped beets, zucchini, cucumbers. 2 cups of dark leafy greens is the equivalent of 1 cup of vegetables.
It’s pretty easy to eat one and a half cups of oatmeal, black rice, quinoa, millet, or whole grain pasta every day. One slice of whole grain bread or one whole grain tortilla is the equivalent of ½ cup of whole grains. So if you eat a sandwich with two slices of bread, you cover 2/3 of your daily recommended intake of whole grains.
One and a half cups of legumes – this can be a bowl of soup made from lentils, red beans or split peas. Almonds, walnuts, or cashews can be thrown into your morning smoothie.
Keep a balance
It is important to create well-balanced meals. Whether it’s a breakfast smoothie, lunch salad, or stir-fry, be sure to eat protein (from legumes or nuts), healthy fats (from nuts), and complex carbs (from whole grains, vegetables, and fruits).
What does it look like in practice? A standard plate should be filled halfway with fruits and vegetables, ¼ with legumes, and the remaining ¼ with whole grains. Remember that even fresh vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can be added to a burrito or soup.
Health in flowers
Dishes should reflect the rainbow colors of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. The colors and pigments in plant foods come from phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are protective compounds that provide numerous health benefits by helping to prevent and reverse major chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, boosting the immune system and aiding digestion. Thus, health in colors – the darker and brighter the color, the greater the health benefits.
How it works? You probably already eat at least a few colorful foods every day. Yellow peppers, red tomatoes, orange carrots. Start playing the game by including at least 2-3 colorful foods in every meal.
Tracy and her mom eat dark leafy greens 2-3 times a day as they ensure all the nutrients are absorbed. According to women, greens are one of the keys to health and longevity.
Try to eat 4 cups of greens every day. It’s not as difficult as it seems.
Add 1-2 cups of fresh or frozen spinach to your morning smoothie.
Make a salad with 2 cups of kale, arugula, or any combination of leafy greens.
add thinly sliced chard as a side dish to other vegetables.
Measure is everything
Mom and daughter divide the daily amount of food into four or three small meals, not three large ones. They found that it helped them keep their energy levels up. Their diet looks something like this:
oatmeal with nuts and fruits
soup and salad
hummus with avocado and whole grain croutons
vegetable roll or vegan pizza