It’s the dog days of summer and the grillin’s easy, and believe it or not, so is swapping your favorite meat for some plant-based grill-ables. Before you balk at the idea, consider the benefits of a plant-based diet. In a recent Aspen Valley Hospital Dietitian Demo, Kristy Bates, RDN and Lauren Mitchell, MS, RDN, talk more about what a plant-based diet means and how it can greatly contribute to your overall health.
Plant-based – What It Means
So, what is a plant-based diet? Lauren chimes in, “A plant-based diet means most of the food you consume is beans, legumes, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. It also means you limit your consumption of processed foods and red meat, fish, poultry and alcohol.” To some, this might be an unappetizing idea, but the health benefits and endless creativity of plant-based cooking sweeten the concept.
Benefits of a Plant-based Diet
Whether you’re a new mom focused on healthy eating for baby, an athlete fueling up for your next trail run, or a sage grill master cooking for the entire family reunion, substituting plant-based alternatives for red meat, fish and chicken offers a variety of long-lasting health benefits. A plant-based diet lowers risk of chronic disease which can help people feel better, and it contributes to maintaining a healthy body weight. Additional positives include:
- Improvement in heart disease
- Lower overall cholesterol
- Diabetes prevention
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved heart function
- Increased fiber intake
- Reduction in certain cancers and cancer risk
Creative Grilling Ideas for Summer Plant-based Eating
Instead of beef burgers or brats, experiment with some of these fun, flavorful plant-based grill-ables:
- Veggie Patties – Buy them pre made or make your own!
- Black Bean Burgers – Rinse and mash a can of black beans with a fork, add your favorite seasonings and a dash of flour, then form into patties and pan fry in some vegetable oil or place on a hot skillet on the grill.
- Plant-based Meat – Give it a try! Plant-based meat alternatives can pleasantly surprise even the most passionate meat lovers.
- Watermelon – That’s right, a quick session on the grill turns everyone’s favorite summer BBQ sidekick into a savory treat.
- Peppers – Place fresh green, red or yellow peppers rubbed in olive oil directly on the grill until charred. Slice and serve!
If you’re intrigued by the idea of transitioning to more of a plant-based diet but don’t know where to start, chat with your primary care provider for some ideas on how to ease into it, or consult with one of Aspen Valley Hospital’s registered dietitians to learn more about plant-based eating, recipes and the many health benefits that come along with it.