Top foods to keep up the “Be healthy new year resolution”
As we enter 2021, all those who have resolved to stay fit, lose weight or pay more attention to their health, would have surely realised that eating right is one of the most important aspects towards this resolution. Along with enough exercise, a well-planned, nutrient-rich diet is essential to healthy living. This is where a plant-based diet is extremely helpful. Not only is it nutritious but you get the added satisfaction of having done your bit for the environment and stayed away from animal cruelty.
Here are the top foods to help you follow through with the “Be Healthy New Year Resolution.”
Avoiding all forms of animal slaughter, a plant-based diet steers clear of animal-based protein sources such as meat, dairy, etc. The best alternatives to ensuring adequate protein intake in the absence of animal products are legumes such as beans, lentils and peas. One cup of cooked legumes contains approximately 10–20 g of protein, which is equivalent to the protein content of more than 2 eggs or 1 chicken drumstick. Legumes also contain fibre and essential minerals such as iron and zinc.
2. Whole-grain cereals and Pseudo-cereals
Whoel-grain cereals are highly nutritious and replete with healthy carbohydrates, fibre, and various vitamins and minerals. Rice, wheat, oats, barley and maize are some traditionally used whole-grains. Interestingly, pseudo-cereals, which are actually seeds, such as amaranth and quinoa are extremely nutritious as well whilst being gluten-free, and high-protein containing up to 9 g protein per cup when cooked.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a perfectly healthy snack with one handful of nuts (1 ounce) containing 5–12 g of protein, along with antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They are also a versatile alternative to animal-based proteins, as nuts and seeds can be converted to milk, butters, snacks and desserts. Nut butters are a nutritious substitute for oils that may be heavily processed.
4. Meat Substitutes
Containing approximately 8–16 g protein per 85 g, soy products such as tofu and tempeh are popular meat substitutes and sources of minerals such as iron and calcium. These products can be grilled, braised, scrambled and eaten just like meat and eggs. Furthermore, jackfruit and seitan are also good meat alternatives providing the perfect texture and nutrients.
5. Plant Milks and Yogurts
Instead of using animal milk that contains harmful pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, calcium and vitamin D fortified plant milks and yogurts are a healthier alternative. For high protein intake, soy or hemp milk are suggested because they have similar protein content as full-fat milk. Coconut, nut (almond), rice and oat milks provide a slightly lower protein intake but are rich in various other micronutrients.
6. Fermented Plant Foods
Fermented plant foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and kombucha, are excellent sources of probiotic bacteria that can help boost immune function and enhance digestive health. They are also an excellent source of vitamin K2, which helps maintain body function and prevent diseases like cancer.
7. Choline-Rich Plant Foods
Choline is an important nutrient that maintains body and brain function. Foods such as soymilk, peanut butter, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli and quinoa contain high amounts of choline to help strengthen the body and maintain good health. About half a cup of broccoli contains 31 mg and 1 cup of soymilk contains about 57 mg of choline.
8. Fruits and Vegetables
The best sources for dietary nutrients are fruits and vegetables, which can easily replace all other foods in terms of high vitamin and mineral content. They can also easily be used as alternatives for animal products, for example banana can replace eggs in cakes and bread, mushroom or jackfruit can be used instead of meat, and cauliflower can be used as a versatile ingredient for making a pizza crust.