Inside Scoop: It’s easy to eat more vegetables with these delicious plant-based meals.
This post was submitted by Rebecca Smith, calisthenics instructor and Countingsheep.net editor.
Many people think that eating veggies takes so much effort. While it’s true that it might be easier to grab a burger or a donut to satiate your hunger, the benefits of adding fresh colorful produce in your diet is worth every effort. If you’re finding it difficult to incorporate veggies in your everyday meals, learning these simple and tasty plant-based recipes will help!
Plant-based meals are prepared without animal products, instead, they are made with vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. And while many people don’t get excited when they hear the term “plant-based”, in reality, these veggie-packed meals can be as appetizing as dishes prepared with animal products, not to mention that they also pack a lot of health benefits.
BENEFITS OF A PLANT-BASED DIET
A plant-based diet can help you lose weight
People who focus on a diet high in whole plant-based foods could easily manage their weight because the fiber found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grain is a natural appetite suppressant and blood sugar regulator. Plant-based products like vegetables are also lower in calories, and they can fill you up.
According to a study published in 2017, a plant-based diet appears to be effective for weight loss and can be a viable option for overweight and obese individuals. This doesn’t have to mean going vegan or vegetarian, but simply focusing on filling half your plate with veggies at every meal.
Plant-based meals are nutrient-dense and can help fight diseases
Dishes made purely of plant products are very nutrient dense. Even if you are not entirely following a 100% plant-based diet, eating these meals can complement your current lifestyle. For example, athletes who are following a calisthenics meal plan that highlights whole foods would benefit from adding more nutritious plant-based meals.
Numerous studies have shown that eating a plant-based diet is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Eating plant-based meals can help the planet
Because of globalization, more people are becoming less interested in farming and opting for convenience instead. It’s also much easier and cheaper to mass produce food, but it hasn’t been healthier for us or the planet. If the demand for plant-based products and sustainable farming practices continues to increase, that means that the shift towards better agricultural practices can help the environment with things like preventing soil erosion, cleaning the air, and providing sustainable jobs to people. In fact, a study published in the Nature journal suggests that a plant-based diet can help mitigate climate change. So, eat more vegetables to help save the planet!
EAT MORE VEGETABLES WITH THESE NO-SWEAT PLANT-BASED MEALS
It is somehow easy to just steam a chicken breast or pan fry a slab of salmon, but preparing plant-based meals is usually a challenge for many. A lot of people are afraid to try cooking plant-based meals because they think these dishes do not taste great, it is hard to do or it takes time to prepare. However, cooking plant-based meals does not need to be complicated!
To prove them wrong, here are some sample recipes you could try preparing even if you have a busy schedule that will help you eat more vegetables in the process.
These delicious 1 bowl zucchini breakfast cookies are the perfect treat for when you want breakfast, veggies and something quick and on-the-go all at once. Make ahead and you can literally run out the door with a breakfast cookie in the morning.
Zucchini Bread Breakfast Cookies
- 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 banana medium
- 1 free range egg or flax egg*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.25 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup zucchini shredded; dried in a towel to remove excess water
- 2 Tbsp flax seeds or chia seeds
- 1/4 cup add ins: dark choc chips or chunks; coconut, goji berries
- Preheat oven 350F.
- Mix the first 5 ingredients (nut butter, sweetener, banana, egg, vanilla extract) in a bowl vigorously so it makes a creamy buttery texture.
- Add in the next 5 ingredients (oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt) and mix.
- Fold in zucchini and chia or flax seeds, mix.
- Then fold in add ins.
- Form into balls and then press them down, so they are flat like the picture. You can make small or large sized cookies depending on your preference.
- Spread the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake 15-18 minutes.
*To make a flax egg mix 1 Tbsp milled flaxseeds with 3 Tbsp water, whisk and let it sit for 15 minutes in the fridge to thicken.
You’re going to love how light and cooling this raw vegan Pad Thai is. Take fresh, raw ingredients and to create a deliciously colourful masterpiece from them, that leaves you feeling incredibly healthy and satisfied.
Raw Vegan Pad Thai Drizzled With Peanut Sauce
- 1 zucchini large spiraled or julienned*
- 1 carrot large, shaved or julienned
- 1/2 head purple cabbage shredded
- 1/2 cup edamame organic
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 3 Tbsp chives diced (about a small bunch)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds unhulled
- 2 tsp hemp hearts
- Because of the water content of zucchini, it may be wise to use paper towel to absorb some of the excess water. You don't want soggy Pad Thai!
- In a large bowl, combine spiraled zucchini, carrot, cabbage, edamame and bean sprouts. Sprinkle with chives, sesame seeds and hemp hearts.
- In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut soy sauce, ginger and lime. Stir together. Gradually add water until desired texture is achieved (you don't want it too thick or too thin - happy medium).
- Drizzle peanut sauce over vegetable base and toss. Serve immediately.
Not a fan of tomato based pasta? This is a great recipe to make if you have leftover hummus in the fridge.
Creamy Hummus Pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic diced
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup hummus
- 1 cup pasta water
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 8 oz. dry pasta spaghetti or linguine
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
In a large pot, sauté on medium heat the sun-dried tomatoes, oil and garlic for 2 minutes.
Then add hummus and cooked pasta and stir to combine.
Slowly pour in the pasta water used to cook the pasta until the sauce reaches to desired consistency.
Finally, add spinach until it is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pear Canapés Snack
If you’re craving for something sweet and satisfying, you don’t need to resort to a candy bar to get your fix. This dessert is so indulgent even if it’s perfectly healthy! Depending on your toppings, this dessert can give you the perfect balance of sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy all at the same time.
- Peanut or almond butter
- Rock salt
- Optional toppings: almonds, walnuts, hemp hearts, coconut flakes
Thinly slice the pears without the core, spread one side with peanut butter and top with rock salt. Add toppings if you desire such as almonds, walnuts, hemp hearts or coconut flakes then serve! You could also be creative by adding other toppings like flaxseed, cinnamon, and dates.
Rebecca Smith started calisthenics at age 26 as a means to lose weight and tone her body. After completing her first successful muscle up, the amazing feeling inspired her to train further and become a calisthenics instructor. Rebecca also holds a Management Degree and a Diploma in Nutrition. She is also an editor at Countingsheep.net, and loves writing articles related to leading a healthy lifestyle.