The health benefits of eating a plant-based diet of grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and modest amounts of lean meat, fish and poultry are plentiful, so it’s no surprise that more Americans are going meatless a few times per week. Whether you are fully on-board with a vegetarian diet or prepare a meatless main dish once a week, use nutritious staples like these to make meals balanced and satisfying.
Fruits and Vegetables
Make fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables the foundation of a healthful meatless meal. When there’s no time for washing, slicing and dicing before use, take a shortcut with Del Monte® Vegetables. Simply open the can and add to recipes or heat and serve for an instant veggie side dish. All of their Tomatoes, Green Beans, Corn, and Peas are picked at their peak and packed the same day, locking in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential nutrients, along with ripe, juicy flavors. Select varieties of their Diced and Petite Cut Tomatoes are pre-seasoned with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, Garlic & Oil or Zesty Chili seasonings for added convenience.
Beans, legumes, soy, nuts and lentils are among the best sources of plant-based protein. They are cholesterol free, rich in fiber and supply iron and zinc—nutrients found in meat. Beans also add a pleasing ‘meaty’ texture to meatless meals. Just one-half cup of Bush’s® Best Beans supplies six to eight grams of protein and at least five grams of fiber. Use beans to stand in for meat in quesadillas and tacos, or puree them to use as a creamy dip or spread. If you’re watching your sodium intake, drain and rinse beans before use and look for Bush’s® Best Reduced Sodium Beans that contain up to 50 percent less sodium per serving.
Give whole grains the starring role in meatless meals and more. Compared to refined grains that contain less fiber, vitamins and minerals, whole grains are nutrient dense and may also supply higher amounts of protein, especially quinoa. All-natural Full Circle® Red Quinoa & Bulgur cooks on the stove in just 10 minutes and supplies four grams of protein per serving. If you are new to red quinoa, expect a crunchier texture and grains that don’t stick together as much as fluffier white quinoa. Both red quinoa and bulgur have a slightly nutty flavor and are a delicious match to the Mediterranean accents in our Greek-Style Red Quinoa and Bulgur.
Don’t overlook dairy foods as a way to boost protein in meatless meals. Stonyfield® Organic Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt supplies twice the protein of other yogurts with 23 grams of protein per one-cup serving and just 130 calories. In the kitchen, its thick and creamy texture and tangy flavor shines in savory recipes like dips, salad dressings, soups, egg-based dishes and casseroles. When making sweet-tasting recipes like smoothies, fruit parfaits, quick breads and cakes, try the Vanilla flavor. Check out the handy yogurt substitution guide on their website and learn how to replace butter, heavy cream, mayonnaise and more with yogurt.
Well-balanced plant-based diets are often lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats from oils, nuts, avocados, soy and seeds. These good-for-you fats are essential in a plant-based diet as they aid the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and also promote satiety. Make mild-tasting Bertolli® Classico Olive Oil your go-to oil for meatless recipes like roasted and grilled vegetables, sautés, soups, hummus and more. When a rich, full-bodied flavor is desired for marinades, salad dressings, dips or pasta, use their Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
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