My new friend Melissa (personal trainer in training) works with people to get fit and live a healthy life. However she admitted that she struggles to eat healthy. She’s Hispanic, and grew up on meat, beans and rice. Similar to how I grew up eating a carb-filled, fat-filled, sugar-crazed, low-veggie diet!
Melissa wanted some tips on how to change her diet and eat more veggies so that she can be the best she can be for herself AND for her clients, so...
Here are the top 5 small hinge changes for Melissa to have a Plant-based meal plan!
1) Starch – oh rice. You are delicious. You are binding and turn into sugar… Yes you are gluten free, but sometimes and organic whole grain sprouted wheat can be better for me than you! I hate to say it, but we need to take a break. Instead I'm going to shift to quinoa, oats, whole grain rye, and spelt...
Melissa - if you make a big batch of organic quinoa, you can use it in a roasted veggie bowl, use it to stuff mushrooms (with kale, red onion and parmesan cheese - YUM), and can even make a cake to top with spinach & eggs for a delicious high fiber & protein breakfast!
Also, get some organic rye bread and make 1/2 sandwiches with roasted veggies, almond butter, avocado, etc. Rye fills you up faster and is very high in fiber.
Lastly, make overnight oats and top with lots of berries, nuts and pumpkin seeds!
2) Potatoes - a potato farmer once told me that he does not eat the potatoes he sells to markets because they are NOT organic. He has a separate, organic, section of his farm where he grows the food he eats! He said "I don't want to eat pesticides and fungicides!". If you're going to eat a white potato please make sure it's organic. Also, organic sweet potatoes and yams are a rich source of fiber as well as containing an array of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, selenium, and they're a good source of most of our B vitamins and vitamin C.
Melissa - roast up apples and sweet potatoes (cut up in small pieces) for an amazing topper to salad with walnuts/pecans and a homemade dressing. You can also grill sweet potatoes & mangoes and toss with chipotle peppers in sauce and cooked kale or spinach to put over quinoa for a spicy and nutrient-rich lunch.
3) Avocados - you're so extra! You are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. Whoa! That's a lot, eh?
Melissa - make guacamole and eat it with organic corn chips. Put slices of avocado on a brown rice cake and squeeze lime and sprinkle with salt for a healthy snack! You can STUFF avocados with tomatoes, feta, red onion and cilantro for a real fancy treat! Make an avocado smoothie or use it to make green goddess dressing. You can also replace mayo in egg salad with avocado! Lastly, and certainly not least, you can make desert - check out these delish Chocolate Avocado Popsicles (not just for kids)!
4) Raw & Roasted Veggies - Girl, I mentioned roasted veggies a couple of times above in other recipes, but they can also be amazing AND filling on their own! Roasting veggies helps to bring out natural flavors while preserving the nutritional integrity, and they can be used in quinoa bowls all week for lunch! Or you could just eat raw fruits and veggies - like carrots, celery & hummus, or apples w/ almond butter!
Melissa - I love to roast cauliflower in ghee, cumin, coriander, chili powder, turmeric and pink salt then toss with sliced almonds and arugula for an easy, nutrient rich and delicious meal! You can also roast up beets, fennel, apples, zucchini, and sweet potatoes with avocado oil, salt & pepper for a real sweet and savory side dish!
5) PASTA!!! - You know I'm Italian and LOVE my pasta. I get the organic Tinkyada brown rice pasta and toss in mushrooms, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, arugula, spinach, kale, onions, garlic, etc. If you want to go grain free, make Zoodles or organic potato noodles with a spirulizer (they are like $15 and the best tool you'll have in your kitchen!)...then you can toss with sautéed kale, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms... and double down on your veggies!
Melissa - make veggie-based pastas for dinner every night, and eat 3 hours before you go to bed. Drink lots of water (with cucumber, lemon and mint in it) to help ease digestion.
Okay let's recap our Meal Plan Options for Meatless Mondays (and any other day!):
Breakfast - put fruits veggies into smoothies, like avocado, spinach, pineapple, kale, etc. Make organic oats and top with lots of berries, nuts, pumpkin seeds and local honey. And my weekend fave: put a poached egg and sautéed spinach over quinoa or lentils!
Lunch - Quinoa bowls, roasted veggies and veggies sandwiches & avocado toast on organic whole grain rye bread to fill you up and fuel your body! Don't forget filling salads with roasted sweet potatoes & apples!
Snack - Avocado on a rice cake, carrots/celery & hummus, stuffed avocados, roasted veggies, or apples with cinnamon & almond butter.
Dinner - Veggie pastas and large side-dishes of roasted veggies for the win, with at least 8oz of cucumber, lemon, mint water for ultimate end of the day detoxification and restful sleep!
My new friend, I wish you luck in your new career and lots of LOVE & YUM!