When you think of "vegging out" you might think about laying around like broccoli, or being still like a potato... but you can probably guess that's not what we're talking about here. Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge recently released a statement saying "research consistently shows that decreasing the amount of meat and increasing the amount of plant foods we eat leads to better health outcomes, including lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes." We've seen plant-based options surge in recent years due to studies like these.
School cafeterias across the nation have also begun to adopt plant-based options, after an initiative by the USDA to introduce meat alternates in Child Nutrition Programs, including the National School Breakfast & Lunch programs, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (after school meal program). The USDA now recognizes eggs, cheese, beans, tofu, nuts, tempeh, and yogurt as adequate sources of protein. Some schools even offer taste tests to expose students to unfamiliar foods that they might otherwise disregard.
Implementing a plant-based approach at home does not have to an extreme feat. Striving for healthier outcomes through plant-based eating does not even have to mean eliminating meat from your diet. There are several other options to work more plants into your meal. One method that's become popular in recent years is "Meatless Monday". If you search #meatlessmonday on Instagram, you'll find that folks all over the world enjoy one plant-based meal per week to decrease meat consumption. Hearty vegetable soup, black bean quesadillas, buffalo cauliflower tacos, stir fry, and so many other delicious meals can spice up your weekly repertoire, and contribute to your health! If you're less interested in giving up meat completely for a meal, you can substitute half of the meat in your regular recipes for a meat alternate. For example, on burger night, combine half of the beef you typically use, with black beans and sauteed onions as the other half of your burger mixture. Cutting your meat consumption can be that simple!
Implementing more plants into your diet, whether at school or at home, does not have to be a complete lifestyle change. We hope these simple suggestions help you get started! Comment below to share your favorite plant-based recipe, or tell us the first one you plan to try!