Written by Frankie Reinbolt
Frankie Reinbolt is a Vancouver-based Registered Dietitian that focuses on plant-centered nutrition, women’s health, weight management and cardiovascular health. Today, she is sharing her favourite ways to boost plant-based diversity in the diet to improve your health. You can learn more by following Frankie on Instagram @frankiereinboltrd or visiting her website at frankiereinbolt.com
Plants are jam-packed with fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. They help prevent chronic disease, reduce inflammation and provide the fuel we need to sustain and energize us throughout the day. Still not sold? Well they also keep the trillions of good bacteria in our gut fed and balanced. In fact, Dr. Rob Knight, the guru of gut health, states that the greatest predictor of a healthy gut microbiome is the diversity of plants in our diet. Because plants are so beneficial for our health, I believe we should all strive to get more of these nutrition super stars on our plate. And you might be surprised to learn how easy it can be to do so. Working with clients to increase intake and diversity, I have witnessed the immediate and long-term benefits this has on their overall health, energy and mood – which is by far the most rewarding aspect of my practice.
Here are 6 hacks to help bump up the diversity of plants in your diet:
1. Handful Of Greens
Just toss in a handful! I’m talking spinach, kale, collard greens, etc. Like smoothies? Add a handful of raw spinach (you’ll barley notice). Because greens wilt so well when cooked, I like to add a handful (or three) to soups, stir fries and sauces. Wilted greens also go great in omelettes and tofu scrambles.
2. Veg Pasta
Vegetables are incredibly versatile and can make a great replacement for pasta (I promise). Spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini or sweet potatoes all make fabulous subs. Not sure where to begin? There are a ton of recipes online to help get your veggie pasta journey started!
3. Revamp Your Oatmeal
Oatmeal - the original performance breakfast and my personal favorite way to get plant-diversity. Once cooked, top with your favorite fruit – I love the combo of chopped banana and berries. Next – add nuts and seeds, which provide protein and heart healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. I love topping mine with hemp seeds and walnuts! The options are endless but there are few better meals to fuel up for a hectic day at the office or a half-marathon.
4. Sweet Potato Avo Toast
I love a good avo toast, and while I’m a big fan of the toast part, substituting it for a slice of baked yam can be a delicious alternative. It provides a nice sweetness plus an additional boost of vitamin A and gut friendly fibre!
5. Fresh Herbs
Another easy way to add plant diversity to your diet is to sprinkle on some fresh herbs. They provide a boost of nutrition and add a delicious flavor hit to your meals. Making curry? Garnish it off with some fresh cilantro. Whipping up spaghetti squash bolognese pasta? Top it off with fresh basil (chef kiss! 👩🍳).
6. Beans, Nuts, and Seeds Snacks
Veggies & hummus are a match made in heaven and an easy way to add vegetables, beans and seeds to your diet. Not only do you get tons of fibre but you also get some protein, vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, B vitamins and iron! Snacking on your favorite nuts and seeds, roasted chickpeas or lentils – can also be an easy way to bump up your intake.
What’s your favourite way to get plants in the diet? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram.