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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

How To Eat More Plants

There is no way around it. If you want to improve your gut health, if you want to expand your lifespan and healthspan, if you want to sleep better, feel better, achieve peak performance at work and be the best version of yourself, you'll be looking at eating more plants. The research is undeniable. Centennials figured it out. The world's healthiest eating patterns are all high in fibre and colour from plant foods fuelling our gut microbes.




Plant Dominant Eating – Where’s the protein?


It’s a fair question if you’ve lived most of your life consuming animal proteins. However, all 9 essential amino acids - the building blocks of protein - are plentiful in plants. Eating a wide range of plants throughout the course of the day or week will ensure you get all 9 essential amino acids.


The plant based richest sources of amino acids, and therefore proteins, come from legume and grain families! These include: lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans, black beans, soy beans, tofu, soy milk/yogurt, tempeh, legume pasta, wholegrains, oats, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat and wholewheat.


I want to highlight, plant dominant does not have to mean plant based. If you want to go all out, that’s fine! I’m here to support you make that change. However, personally I don’t find cold turkey necessary. In fact, the Mediterranean Diet is a plant dominant way of eating. Read more about it here.


I often remind my clients rice, potatoes, wholegrain bread, wraps and pasta all deliver protein. If you’re wanting to build muscle to improve your metabolism and physique, yes you need protein but carbohydrates are equally (I personally believe more) important. When you eat the above mentioned carbohydrates in larger quantities (a caloric surplus) to build muscle… lo and behold you will also be getting your required protein. Two birds with one plant.



How do I get my meat-loving family to enjoy eating more plant foods?


Instead of removing meat altogether, here are some simple additions to the usual meat-based family favourites:


  • Spaghetti Bolognese: 1/2 the amount of mince meat and add 2-3 cans of lentils

  • Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce: look for 'Hidden Vegetables' pasta sauces or blend in your own extra vegetables

  • Taco night: 1/2 the amount of mince meat and add 2 cans black beans or red kidney beans

  • Curry: Add chickpeas, use a mix of rice rather than just 1 type of rice, swap rice with quinoa or serve with rice and quinoa

  • Stir fry: Add small amounts of tofu as well as usual chicken strips

  • Pad Thai: Add more vegetables, as the meal is all grains and protein! Replace some noodles or simply add 2 more colourful vegetables to your pan 5 minutes before cooking any animal foods: capsicum, onion, bok choy, spinach, carrots, zucchini.

  • Mashed potato: add sweet potato or pumpkin


Legumes are a good source of plant protein, fibre and nutrients, and they can be a really cost effective way to help stretch your meals further.



Some other ideas you can adopt within the family to add more plant foods and variety to your week:

  • Meatless Mondays – if you’re not used to plant based eating, planning a meat-free meal at the start of the week can make it easier to stick to your healthier eating goals, especially before the week gets too crazy. Once you've nailed "Meatless Mondays" add in 1 more meatless day. Often for religious reasons Friday is a meatless day. Create your own traditions be it for religious, spiritual or overall wellness reasons.

  • Make veggies the star – Try my personal favourite  Mingle Spices and/or Cobram Estate flavour infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil including lemon, garlic, roast onion, truffle, chilli

  • Make your own lentil and rice patties (and freeze them) or try Syndian frozen patties ready after 2min of microwaving

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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. Promoting consciousness in food choices helping people heal. Dietitian & Wellness Coach, Health Presenter, Gut Health Specialist - Kathy Ozakovic.

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KEYWORDS: Mediterranean, Diet, Lifestyle, Traditional, Plants, Plant Dominant, Rainbow, Colour, Color, EVOO, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Eat, Eating, Health, Longevity, Healthy, Healthiest, Best, Dietary, Pattern.

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