Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

June 14, 2018 Eat clean this summer: 5 plant-based hacks from a registered dietitian
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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

(BPT) - Jessica Cording, RD Shares Her Tips to Shape Up For Summer

With warmer months and beach days on the horizon, many people are looking to eat clean and shape up for summer. However, a summer bod isn’t the only reason to clean your diet. A new study from Harvard found that incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet can lower the risk of developing heart disease and other major illnesses. It appears eating more plant-based foods may just add years to your life … can you say endless summer? We tapped into leading registered dietitian, Jessica Cording, to share her top tips on how to eat more plant-based foods this season:

1. Slow and steady wins the race

Photo courtesy of Daiya Foods

If you’re new to plant-based foods or just beginning your journey towards healthier eating, making the transition a gradual one will help establish long-lasting habits and set you up for success. “If you’re someone who eats meat daily, incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet can be intimidating. In fact, introducing too many new flavors, textures and food types can sometimes be off-putting for those who don’t regularly eat plant-based foods,” says Cording. To help ease the transition, Cording advises her clients to use familiar garnishes, condiments and spices on plant-based foods. “When you pair plant-based proteins, like tempeh or lentil burgers, with familiar flavor profiles, like dairy-free ranch dressing or plant-based cheddar cheese, you’re more likely to stick to the plan in the long run,” adds Cording, who often swaps out dairy-based products with tasty plant-based alternatives from Daiya.

2. A balanced plate is a happy plate

Photo courtesy of Daiya Foods

“One of the biggest challenges my clients struggle with when beginning their plant-based journey is feeling satisfied with meatless meals,” says Cording, who recommends having a good balance of protein, fiber and fat in each meal. “When you’re incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet, fiber and fat go a long way in aiding with digestion and helping you feel satiated.” Cording’s rule of thumb is to dedicate half your plate to non-starchy vegetables (think Swiss chard, leafy kale, or bok choy), a fourth of the plate to plant-based proteins, and the remaining portion to complex carbs, like brown rice or whole grain pasta. Balance out the meal with monounsaturated fat by adding a third of an avocado, using tahini (toasted sesame seed paste) as a dressing, or sprinkling pumpkin seeds on top of her entrée. Looking for recipe inspiration? These recipes for Kale and Mushroom Crepes and Quinoa Bowls are delicious, balanced and easy to make.

3. Limit your dairy intake

Photo courtesy of Daiya Foods

While dairy can be a good source of calcium, it can often lead to bloating and gas, especially in those with a dairy sensitivity. Over 65 percent of the population experiences a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, so if you’re experiencing unexplained bloating after consuming meals, it’s possible that dairy could be the culprit. “If you’re looking to slim down during the summer months, limiting your dairy intake may help reduce bloating and gas, especially on beach days,” says Cording. Still craving ice cream during the summer months? Opt for alternatives made from coconut cream, which Cording says provides a satisfying creamy texture without the dairy. “The fat in coconut also helps with the digestive process,” adds Cording.

4. Don’t let vacation plans set you back

Photo courtesy of Daiya Foods

Summertime means fun road trips or weekend getaways, which can often wreak havoc on your diet. “There are a lot of opportunities for indulgence on vacation, which can be tempting even to those with the best intentions,” says Cording, who advises her clients to be selective about what they choose to indulge in. “You shouldn’t let your diet get in the way of enjoying your vacation, but I find that being intentional about what you eat — and choosing to only say ‘yes’ to the stuff you’re really excited about — helps to set some guardrails to keep you on track. If you’re big on sweets, splurge on dessert but lay off on fried foods or salty snacks during the day. If pasta is your weakness, forgo other carbs throughout the day and fill up on fiber and protein instead.” In the event you do overindulge, don’t beat yourself about it. “It’s more productive to ask yourself why those guardrails didn’t work so you can make better changes in the future,” advises Cording.

5. Stock up on smart options

Photo courtesy of Daiya Foods

Because life and responsibilities can often get in the way of healthy eating, Cording recommends stocking up on healthy options and alternatives at home. “If you’re somebody that struggles with cravings, having better-for-you options in your freezer can make it easier to stick to a plan,” says Cording. That could mean stocking up on plant-based versions of your favorite comfort foods, like plant-based pizza, dairy-free mac ‘n cheese, vegan cheesecake, etc., for days you need a treat but don’t want to feel bad about what you’re eating.

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