The rise in vegan and vegetarian communities has crowned ‘plant-based’ as one of the hottest food trends of the year. Growing up, the majority of us have been taught that carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three key nutrients needed in a balanced diet. In most cases, protein is often associated with meat like chicken, pork and 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, we some meatless burger ideas for your inspiration!
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. Beets in general carry numerous amounts of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to human health!
Lentils have become a popular addition to vegetarian dishes because they are tasty, healthy and easy to cook. The high levels of soluble and insoluble fibre in lentils serve various purposes. For instance, it can help promote heart health, prevent constipation, and aid in weight loss. In this Indian-inspired burger recipe, red lentils are mixed with cumin and cayenne for a spicier variation!
Chickpeas might be an incomplete protein. However, they are wonderful sources of protein, fibre, iron, zinc, and more. When making vegan burgers, people like to pair chickpeas with a complete protein such as carrots, in order to fulfill all nine essential amino acids our body needs!
Black beans make a perfect addition to your anti-aging diets. 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 in protetcing against the oxidative effects of free radicals. Free radicals can damage skin and speed skin aging. If you are a skincare enthusiast, you must give this burger a try!
Lastly, we have falafel. This traditional food from the Middle East is now gaining popularity in many countries especially among vegan and vegetarian communities. It 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! Try our recipe below!
Thank you Alexa for the amazing photo! Check out her Instagram here!