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Ease Into Plant-Based Eating

There are as 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 health, you will benefit in profound ways by making simple swaps in your food choices.

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 Fx-approved plant foods in their whole, unprocessed form. This includes eating a variety of:

  • Vegetables and leafy greens
  • Fruits
  • Legumes
  • 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-ounce portion of meat, choose a 3-4 ounce portion and load the rest of your plate with a variety of vegetables, such as a leafy green salad and 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 you can find plant-based protein at Heinen’s?

More options exist at Heinen’s than ever before to help you easily incorporate more plant-based protein into your meals without sacrificing taste. Take a look at what the following departments have to offer:

Meat Department:

Yes, you can now find plant-based protein behind the glass case in the meat department! Choose from ready-to-cook stuffed acorn squash, Portabella mushrooms or peppers. Feel like a burger? Try a black bean or Santa Fe chickpea veggie burger topped with sliced avocado and served on a sprouted bun!

Meat alternatives such as tofu, seiten, and tempeh are also housed in the meat department.

Tofu is made from soy milk and is one of the most versatile plant-based proteins! It comes in a range of textures and takes on most flavors. It’s equally delicious in sweet and savory recipes.

Seitan is a popular plant-based protein made of pure gluten, the main protein found in wheat. It’s a great plant-based protein option for anyone with soy allergies!

Tempeh is the superstar of plant-based protein. Made from fermented soybeans, it’s a great source of friendly bacteria to support gut health. It’s chewier and nuttier than tofu, making it an ideal meat substitute. Tempeh is a complete plant-based protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. You can even find tempeh “bacon” in the meat department—a smoky go-to bacon alternative packed with protein and fiber! Check out this week’s feature recipe for Easy “Meaty” Marinara Sauce. It uses tempeh in place of ground beef. 

Grocery Department:

Despite what you may have heard, the inner aisles offer a wealth of plant-based protein solutions. Look for quinoa, beans, lentils, and bean-based pasta.

Deli Department:

Here you will find many different varieties of hummus—a delicious dip made from chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon, and spices. It’s commonly eaten in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

Frozen Department:

Frozen quinoa and plant-based burgers are convenient, pre-cooked protein options to round out your meal. 

Wellness Department:

Top off your plant-based shopping trip in Heinen’s wellness department. Here you’ll find plant-based protein powders that can be blended into smoothies or stirred into pancake mixes and oatmeal.

Food for thought …

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!

Resources:

By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD
Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. She graduated cum laude from the University of Akron, earning a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and has over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking. As a published author of three books and registered dietitian for Heinen’s Grocery Store, Melanie offers programs, services, and tools to help Heinen’s customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in…without giving up their favorite foods.

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