There is more and more discussion of the need for us all to eat a sustainable diet and many people are adopting plant-based diets for a variety of reasons, including health, ethical and environmental reasons.
In general, a sustainable diet is one that includes more plant-based foods and fewer animal-sourced foods, such as meat and dairy foods. It is not necessary to exclude any food groups to have a sustainable diet.
Plant-based meals can be delicious and filling. In addition plant-based meals are often less expensive than meat-based meals. A plant-based meal could contain vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and fruits.
Examples of simple plant-based meals
- Muesli or porridge with fruit and/or nuts
- Toast with bananas, peanut butter or avocado
- Oatcakes with homous
- Butternut squash soup
- Black bean chilli with rice
- Risotto with mushrooms
- Pasta with pesto, olives or sun-dried tomatoes
Plant food groups have been found to be the most protective against diet-related chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. To optimize health it is important to eat a wide variety of plant foods in order to obtain sufficient vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-chemicals (plant nutrients).
A plant-based diet need not result in nutritional deficiencies. The nutrients most likely to be lacking from a plant-based diet are iron, vitamin B12 and calcium, but we don’t need to eat a lot of meat and dairy foods to obtain these nutrients. For example, eating meat just three times a week, along with a good variety of grains, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables, enables us to avoid iron deficiency.
Plant-based eating is easy and inexpensive. Choose simple, everyday foods and make just a few changes to your favourite recipes – for example, try quorn mince in your spaghetti bolognaise sauce (my husband has never noticed that I changed to quorn mince…shhh!).
Enjoy Good Food for Good Health