Nutritionist-approved tips for getting more plant-based foods in your diet

Kate Mendonca
Shopping Editor
Image via Fracihe Living.

For many people, January is the perfect time to make healthy lifestyle changes, including to their diet and exercise routines.

It’s also an ideal time to incorporate more plant-based foods into our lives, now that Canada’s Food Guide has been updated.

Tori Wesszer is a registered dietitian, lifestyle blogger and author of the bestselling cookbook Fraiche Food, Full Hearts (written with her cousin, “Bachelor” alum Jillian Harris) who knows a thing or two about plant-based cooking. She’s also aware that many are intimidated with making the switch.

“A lot of people see the whole plant-based movement as an all or nothing kind of thing - they think they have to go all plant-based or not at all,” she shared in a recent chat with Yahoo Canada. 

“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.”

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For those looking to include more plant-based protein in their diet, Wesszer recommends getting started by swapping out familiar ingredients like ground beef or pork for their plant-based counterparts.

Products like Beyond Beef offer a similar taste and texture to ground meat, as well as a similar nutritional profile, making it a natural choice for your favourite recipes.  

If you’re in need of a little kitchen inspiration, Wesszer’s blog Fraiche Living is also filled with nourishing recipes that incorporate all the aspects we’ve come to know and love about cooking with meat, but with a focus on plant-based protein. 

Her recipes for comfort food staples like shepherd’s pie and hamburger soup are not only delicious and meat-free, but also kid-tested and approved. 

“It was such a great way for us to feel good about the meals that we were eating. [They’re] completely plant-based, but you couldn’t tell,” she admitted.  

Wesszer, a mother to two young boys, is well aware of the challenges that come with getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. As an answer to this issue, she’s created recipes like the Sneaky Mommy Muffins, which incorporate grated veggies along with nuts and fruits into the batter. 

For extra-picky eaters, Wesszer recommends getting creative in the kitchen to make sure that kids are meeting their daily servings of fruits and veggies. One of her favourite ways to do so is by adding things like shredded carrots and zucchini to pasta sauces, taco fillings and baked goods, to easily up their nutritional value without altering the taste. 

Ultimately, getting kids involved in meal preparation from start to finish is the best way to get them interested in trying new foods. 

“Start at the grocery store. Get their help picking out a new fruit or vegetable or new ingredient, and get them to help you cook it. Get them to taste it,” she shared. 

“Encourage [your] kids to be in the kitchen. It’s messy, I won’t lie, but it is so worth it.”

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