- By Deanna Segrave-Daly
- In 2018
- April 4, 2018
My Happy Plates—3 Easy Ways to Go Plant-Based
by Beth Stark, RDN, LDN
There are more reasons to adopt a plant-based way of eating than simply staying on top of one of the
hottest food trends of the year. This eating approach is also linked to a bounty of health benefits
including a lower risk for some types of cancer and diabetes, a healthier heart and slimmer waistline and
better digestion, to name a few.
Let’s first clarify what plant-based eating is not. Contrary to what many believe—it’s not
necessarily vegetarian or vegan. Yes, those are plant-based eating styles, but it’s not quite as cut and
dried. While plant-based eating includes beans and legumes, fruits, veggies, whole grains, soy, nuts,
seeds and oils at the core; it also includes sensible amounts of lean meats, poultry, seafood and dairy on
What I personally love about this approach is that, unlike so many stringent nutrition recommendations
out there, this one is far more flexible. And hey, it allows highly nutritious plant foods to peacefully
coincide with a burger here and there.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are three super-easy ways to transform your plate the plant-
Select one meal per day to go heavy on the plant foods. And be more adventurous than simply
defaulting to a salad. Swap one of these ideas in the place you would typically have a meat-containing
- Breakfast– overnight oats made with soy, almond or coconut milk, chia seeds and fruit.
- Lunch– roasted or grilled vegetable tacos with chopped, toasted walnuts, spicy black beans, fresh salsa
- Dinner– whole-wheat pasta primavera with fresh lemon and garbanzo or cannellini beans.
In between meals, nosh on veggies and hummus, roasted almonds or seasoned pumpkin seeds.
Reduce the amount of meat, poultry and fish in your go-to recipes and replace it with beans, lentils,
cooked quinoa or diced, finely chopped mushrooms. I have found that this technique works seamlessly
in tacos, casseroles, soups and chili. In addition to enhancing the nutrient content of the dish, these
plant-based ingredients add a hearty texture and flavor and may also stretch your food dollar.
Experiment with New Flavors
Seek inspiration. If going plant-based takes you out of your comfort zone, tap into a new cookbook,
website, blog, etc. for fresh and creative ideas. After a little time and experimentation with unfamiliar
ingredients, textures and flavors, you’ll gain the confidence you need to create taste-bud pleasing plant-
based dishes with ease and your body will thank you.
Beth Stark, RDN, LDN is the Manager of Lifestyle Initiatives at Weis Markets, a family-owned and -operated supermarket chain with 204 stores in the mid-Atlantic region. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.