Food for thought: include more plant-based meals

This monthly article was written by Kaitlin Poillon, Practice Director of Nutrition Science Services, and Nyree Dardarian, Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of the Nutrition and Performance Center of Drexel’s Nutrition Consulting Service and Department Nutrition Services from the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Have you ever wanted to try adding a “Meatless Monday” to your weekly meal rotation, but didn’t know where to start? Well, take that as a sign! This month, make it a goal to include one to two plant-based meals per week. Meatless alternatives such as beans, legumes, lentils, tofu, nuts, nut butters and seeds are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein while they are limited in saturated fat. Incorporate a fresh bean salad, lentil pasta dish, falafel bowl, or black bean veggie burger into your diet for adequate protein intake as well as plenty of fiber and complex carbohydrate sources at mealtimes. .

Nervous about sticking to that goal on vacation? Check out our tips on how to pack plant-based snacks for a day at the beach.

Plant-based packaging for a day at the beach

  • Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, nut butters, and hummus are all easily portable snacks for a long day at the beach. Pack a cooler full of cherries, grapes and watermelon (or whatever fruit you prefer) along with fresh cut cucumber, carrots, peppers and celery.
  • Add a packet or two of mixed nuts or hummus to accompany mixed fruits and vegetables.
  • Grab a box of your favorite whole grain crackers or popcorn for a little extra crunch.
  • Include Lara Bars, CLIF Mini Bars, and KIND Mini Bars for extra energy sources or to satisfy a sweet tooth.
  • Make sandwiches? Spread your favorite type of hummus on two slices of whole grain bread. Add lettuce, tomato, onions and cucumber (or any vegetable of your choice), and voila! For more protein, grab a handful of nuts or include an apple with peanut butter on the side.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate! Lemon or lime water, seltzer water or coconut water will quench your thirst and prevent dehydration in the bright rays.

Want more? Make an appointment with a Drexel University dietitian for more plant-based meal recipes and tips today at [email protected]! It’s free for Drexel employees!

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