The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
A plant-based eating style emphasizes eating whole plant foods while reducing your intake of animal foods like dairy, eggs, meat and foods containing animal products.
For the record, the end goal of a plant-based diet does not necessarily require you to eliminate animal products altogether. It is perfectly customizable to your unique health goals, and that’s what makes it so appealing!
More and more people are adopting a plant-based diet because research shows such a plan can help support:
- Healthy body weight
- Balanced blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Optimal digestion
- Lower risk of cancer
For the best results, aim for plant-based foods in their whole, unprocessed form. This includes eating a variety of vegetables, leafy greens, fruit, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds and whole grains like quinoa, wild rice and oats.
But what if you have a craving for a burger or can’t enjoy a glass of wine without cheese? No worries! I’ve got you covered with the best tasting plant-based alternatives available at your local Heinen’s.
The Best Veggie Burger
My number one rule when choosing a plant-based burger is that it must be made with whole food ingredients. If I’m not able to look at the ingredients and actually find them on the shelves at Heinen’s, it doesn’t make the cut.
I am so grateful for companies like Actual Veggies, who prioritize health and quality above all else. They’ve created an incredibly wholesome veggie burger available in three delicious varieties: Green, Black and Orange.
Take a look at the ingredients in their green burger, which happens to be my personal favorite: Broccoli, Kale, Yellow Onion, White Bean, Parsnip, Oat, Pea, Chickpea Flour, Cannellini Bean, Zucchini, White Quinoa, Hemp Seed, Lemon, Spinach, Spirulina and Spice Blend.
Twice a week I enjoy an Actual Veggies burger on my dinner-size salad. It’s ready in ten minutes when cooked in a heated skillet sprayed with Heinen’s avocado oil spray. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, this is one burger you’ll want to stock up on for your plant-based journey!
Look for Actual Veggies burgers in Heinen’s Meat Department.
Cheese That Tastes Like the Real Thing
I was raised on cheese! Layered on sandwiches, melted on veggies, eaten by the cube or grated over my mom’s homemade spaghetti, I love it all. So, when I decided to adopt a plant-based diet, I feared I’d never be able to live without it. I discovered that, when made with the right ingredients, plant-based cheeses take on the texture and flavor of the real thing! Here are three of my go-to plant-based cheeses:
- RIND Cambleu Mini Wheel Cheese: Using a proprietary blend of plant-based ingredients like cashews, tofu, coconut oil and nutritional yeast, combined with cultures and old world methods, RIND’s products are both delicious and conscientious. Spread it on crackers or enjoy a wedge with a glass of wine!
- Violife Shreds come in cheddar and mozzarella. I like to sprinkle them over salads and homemade pizza. Unlike some plant-based cheeses, Violife actually melts because it’s made from coconut oil. But don’t worry, it mimics the flavor of real cheese, not coconut.
- Bragg Nutritional Yeast is a fermented, inactive yeast with a cheesy taste. A great plant-based source of protein and B-vitamins, it’s the perfect seasoning for any dish needing an extra punch of cheesy flavor. Sprinkle on popcorn, veggies, pasta and rice!
Remember my rule for veggie burgers? It also applies to dairy-free milk! Elmhurst nut milks contain no added sugar with only two ingredients: filtered water and nuts. This is how plant-based milk should be made!
Forager Project Organic Cashewmilk Yogurt contains live active cultures just like cow’s milk yogurt, so you’ll still get a nice dose of friendly bacteria to support your gut health. Choose unsweetened plain or unsweetened vanilla bean to avoid unnecessary sugar.
To make my daily smoothie extra creamy, I like to add a few spoonfuls of Forager along with a handful of other plant-based ingredients like kale, berries, lemon and avocado!
There’s no wrong way to adopt a plant-based diet. The key is finding ways to add more plants to your plate while keeping your portions of animal products small and less frequent. Need a little inspiration to get you started? Check out the growing library of simple and delicious plant-based recipes on www.heinensclubfx.com.