January can be a good time for many to make healthy lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise – and now that Canada’s Food Guide has been updated, it’s an ideal time to incorporate more plant-based foods !
Tori Wesszer, a registered dietitian and lifestyle blogger, knows a couple things about plant-based cooking, and also that many can be intimidated with making the switch from meat to plant-based foods. “A lot of people see the plant-based movement as an all or nothing kind of thing – they think they have to go all plant-based or not at all.”
“I hope that people are starting to see it as more of a scale where they start to edge into eating more plant-based [foods], and there are so many different ways that you can go about doing that.”
For those wanting to increase plant-based protein in their diet, Wesszer recommends a good way to start is by swapping out familiar ingredients like ground beef or pork for their plant-based counterparts. Products like Alternative Kitchen’s Meatless Burger offer similar tastes and textures to ground meat, as well as a similar nutritional profile, making it a great choice for ‘traditional’ favourite recipes. “It’s such a great way for us to feel good about the meals that we were eating,” she says.
“Let’s feel good about the meals that we’re eating”
In need of a little kitchen inspiration? Wesszer’s blog Fraiche Living has lots of tasty recipes that incorporate many of the things we know and like about cooking with meat, but with a focus on plant-based ingredients instead.
Her recipes for everyone’s favourites like shepherd’s pie and hamburger soup are delicious and meat-free. Not only that, they’re also kid-tested and approved!
Since she’s a mother of two young boys, Wesszer knows full well some of the challenges with getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, and she’s created recipes like the Sneaky Mommy Muffins, which incorporate grated veggies alongside nuts and fruits in the batter. Mmmm!
For really picky little eaters, she advises getting creative at meal times to ensure kids meet their daily servings of fruits and veggies. A favourite way is by adding things like shredded carrots and zucchini to pasta sauces, taco fillings and baked goods, to easily increase nutritional values without altering taste. Smart and simple!
Getting kids involved in meal preparation is also a very good way to perk their interest in trying new foods.
“Begin with the trips to the supermarket. Get your kids to help with picking out a new fruit or vegetable or new ingredient, and then have them help you prepare and cook it. Get them excited to taste.” she explains. “Encourage kids to be in the kitchen. It’s messy, but it’s so worth it.”
“Encourage kids to be in the kitchen”