Whether you’re a vegan, a vegetarian or an occasional plant-based diet devotee, variety is the spice of life. Beans plus brown rice, tofu sautéed with veggies and eggplant casseroles are tasty, but eating them too regularly can lead to boredom. The result: You get tempted to jazz up your diet with treats such as high sugar, high fat soy ice cream or sugary, starchy cookies that contain only empty calories.
When it’s time to vary up your usual meals and snacks, we have a cornucopia of plant-based suggestions that will make your tummy and taste buds happy:
What’s for breakfast? An assortment of fruit topped with soy yogurt can provide variety. Make it special by sprinkling different types of dried fruit over that yogurt, such as Bob’s Red Mill Date Crumbles.
For an alternate kick-start to the day, vegan granola can boost your energize while providing you with fabulous flavor. Favorites include Bear Naked All Natural Granola, Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Fig Granola, and Enjoy Life Gluten-Free Granola.
Plant-based snacks don’t have to take a long time in the kitchen. We love spreading pear slices with Woodstock Farms Raw Almond Butter, for example. On the go? Take a vegan energy bar with you, such as Rise Foods Energy Plus PranaBars or ProBar Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
Veggie soup is great for lunch, filling you up, not out, for even the busiest afternoon. Make that lunch special by making your own vegan bread with Orgran Gluten Free Wholemeal Bread Mix. When it comes to soup, seek a type that includes beans or legumes to boost your protein intake. Good examples include Dr. McDougall’s Big Cup Soup Black Bean and Lime, Muir Glen Organic Southwest Black Bean Organic Soup and Amy’s Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup.
Make a dinner a winner with a salad for part of your meal. Assorted greens, tomatoes, different types of beans such as Tree of Life Dark Red Kidney Beans or Eden Foods Organic Pinto Beans, purple onion and mushrooms make it magical. For a vegan salad dressing, try Organicville Organic Salad Dressing in flavors like French. Choose a complementary whole grains dish such as brown rice like Lundberg Organic Long Grain Brown Rice or Eden Foods SOBA Wheat and Buckwheat Pasta topped with melted soy cheese.
And for dessert, try Mori Nu pudding mix made with tofu.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.