The rise in vegan and vegetarian communities has crowned ‘plant-based’ as one of the hottest food trends of 2018. Growing up, the majority of us were taught that carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three key nutrients needed in a balanced diet, in which proteins are most often associated with meat like chicken, pork or beef. However, as the world changes due to new scientific discoveries and creative innovations, the food that we eat is also changing.
Meat is no longer a necessity in our daily meals. Healthy eaters are now swapping meat out for other protein-rich alternatives for various reasons – to lose weight, to improve health, or for the environment. For beginners, it can be difficult switching to a meatless and completely plant-based diet. Here are three simple steps to get you started:
- Increase your fruits and vegetables intake
- Find alternatives. Substitute sugar for medjool dates, chocolates for carob, cheese for nutritional yeast, etc.
- Start by going meatless 1-2 days per week. How about a #MeatlessMonday?
Once you have nailed these three steps, you should be ready to take on more challenges. If you enjoy cooking and creating fun recipes, veggie burgers might be your next experiment. The equation is very simple, with almost an infinite number of outcomes. All you need is a type of vegetable, paired with a whole grain or legume, and seasonings of your own. If you don’t know where to start, here are some meatless patty ideas to get you inspired!
Quinoa is the Supergrain of the future. It is high in protein and rich in iron, making it one of the best alternatives for meat. Pairing it with beets will not only give the patty a nice shade of red, but will also magnify its nutritious qualities as beets carry numerous amounts of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to human health. This includes lowering blood pressure, fighting inflammation and boosting your stamina!
Lentils have become a popular addition to vegetarian dishes as they are tasty, healthy and easy to cook. The high levels of soluble and insoluble fibre in lentils serve various purposes – in lowering cholesterol, promoting heart health, preventing constipation, and aiding in weight loss. In this Indian-inspired burger recipe, red lentils are mixed with cumin and cayenne – both frequently-used spices in South Asian cuisines to spice things up!
Chickpeas, despite being an incomplete protein, are wonderful sources of protein, fibre, iron, zinc, and more. With so many nutrients, they also bring a number of health benefits from improving digestion, boosting the immune system, to regulating blood sugar and building muscles. When making vegan burgers, chickpeas are commonly paired with a complete protein like carrots to fulfill all nine of the essential amino acid contents that our bodies need!
On top of all the mentioned health benefits above, black beans also make a perfect addition to your anti-aging diets as they are rich in an antioxidant called Anthocyanin that helps prevent premature aging. Since black beans generally have no flavour, people love cooking it with sweet potatoes just to give it a taste of sweetness. Little do you know, sweet potatoes are very rich in Vitamin C, which plays an important role not only in fighting cold and flus, but also in improving skin complexion. If you are a skincare enthusiast, you must give this burger a try!
Falafel is a traditional food from the Middle East, but is now gaining popularity in many countries especially among vegan and vegetarian communities. Falafel is a small fried patty or ball made from ground garbanzo beans, flavoured with garlic, salt, onion and spices. At Westpoint, we have created a powdered Falafel mix made from the exact ingredients for easy-use and cooking! Check out the recipe below on how it’s made.
Thank you Alexa for the amazing photo! Check out her Instagram here!