February is American Heart Month, a great time to explore new eating styles with added health benefits. Consuming more plant-based foods and reducing animal-derived foods may lower your risk of coronary heart disease. Think beyond vegetarian as you explore new tips and trends for plant-based eating styles.
Now Trending: Plant-Based Foods
Maybe you’ve heard about a growing wellness trend called plant-based eating. It generally consists of whole, unprocessed foods—mainly vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Plant-based diets may have great benefits for heart health and can help you shift toward better eating patterns.
Though vegetarian and vegan styles of eating may be front of mind when you think about plant-based diets, there are options to suit most any need and preference—even for those who want to continue enjoying meat, fish, or other foods.
Defining Plant-Based Eating Styles1
Perks of Plants
Heart Benefits. Research shows plant-based diets are linked with lower cholesterol and lower risk of coronary heart disease.2 But you don’t have to give up all meat—just eat more plant-based than animal foods.
Environmental Benefits. By eating less meat, you’re reducing your carbon footprint.3 According to the 6th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition 2013, compared to non-vegetarians, the carbon footprint is lower by 20% for semi-vegetarians, 24% for pescetarians, 28% for lacto-ovo vegetarians, and 42% for vegans.
Greater Availability. More meat alternatives are now available to consumers than ever before.4 With growing trends in plant-based foods, you’ll find a variety of options at your neighborhood Publix.
Keep It Interesting!
Go beyond the basics of whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Here are some ways to add variety to your plant-based menu:
- Enjoy unsweetened plant-based milks such as soy, almond, hazelnut, and cashew.
- The Publix Deli offers new hummus flavors that are savory, colorful, and spicy. Change it up with lentil or vegetable hummus.
- Choose drinks, protein powders, and nutrition bars that have pea and vegetable proteins. Replace whey with plant-based protein powders (located near our supplements) in your favorite smoothie.
- In the Produce department, discover expanding meat alternatives including tofu, tempeh, and seitan.
- You’ll also find plenty of plant-based meals and veggie burgers in the frozen section.
Be sure to look for the green Better Choice shelf tags to select products with less saturated fat, added sodium, or added sugar.
As plant-based foods shift toward the center of the plate, some vegetables are gaining star status.
- Growing in popularity, riced cauliflower makes a great alternative to rice, potatoes, and pasta. It’s available in our Produce department and frozen section.
- Spiralized vegetables, including zucchini, beets, and sweet potatoes, work well in many recipes. Find them in our Produce department.
- Pulses and legumes are practically everywhere—even in chips, dried snacks, and pasta.
Steps to Plant-Based Success
If you’re looking for ways to get more vegetables and other plant-based foods into your diet, set some simple goals:
- Build breakfasts around oatmeal or whole grain cereal. Toast a slice of whole grain bread and top it with avocado or nut butter. Include fresh fruit.
- Prepare a vegetarian recipe one night a week. Lentil Bolognese over Zoodles is a hearty dish that’s sure to please.
- Fill at least half of your dinner plate with salad greens and cooked or raw vegetables.5
- Incorporate unsaturated fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, or olive oil.
- Snack on Avocado Hummus with baby carrots and whole grain crackers.
- Serve a plant-based appetizer, such as Fall Root Vegetable Stacks.
- The Mediterranean diet is ideal for plant-based eating.
As you continue your wellness journey, explore new paths to plant-based eating with our recipes, products, and tips.
1 “What Are the Different Types of Vegetarians?” The Vegetarian Resource Group. Accessed November 7, 2017.
2 Satija, Ambika, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, et al. “Healthful and Unhealthful Plant-Based Diets and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in U.S. Adults.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology. July 2017.
3 Watson, Elaine. “Environmental Footprint of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets 30% Lower Than Non-Vegetarian Diets, Say Researchers.” Food Navigator USA. March 1, 2013.
4 “Plant-Based Proteins Are Gaining Dollar Share Among North Americans.” Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight. September 22, 2017.
5 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). “MyPlate.” ChooseMyPlate.gov. April 19, 2017.