Many adults are interested in plant-based diets because of the health benefits and positive impact on the environment. However, there’s one thing holding them back. They don’t like the taste.
In a recent poll of Americans who tried giving up meat but were unable to continue, 28% blamed the lack of flavor, and 23% said they needed more options. Overall, the average experiment with vegetarianism or veganism lasts only 3 months.
On the bright side, the same poll found that three in five respondents would eat a plant-based diet if it was more appetizing. If that sounds like you, try these tips.
Dining In on a Plant Based Diet:
1. Add healthy fats. A lot of recipes will turn out bland if you just leave the meat out. You need to do something to replace the flavor you get from cooking skin and bones. Olive oil will give you more mouthfeel and taste. Other smart choices include sunflower, avocado, and coconut.
2. Use seasonings. Spices and herbs help too. To avoid too much salt, be creative. Experiment with garam masala and sumac, along with the usual garlic and parsley.
3. Consider the texture. Burgers might seem mushy without the muscle tissue that makes them meaty. You can experience chewiness and crunchiness with ingredients like toasted nuts, roasted beans, croutons, and breadcrumbs.
4. Adapt your favorites. Satisfy your cravings and invent substitutes for the dishes you usually make. Switch from pulled pork sandwiches to jackfruit versions. Prepare your next lasagna with spinach, carrots, and cauliflower in place of ground beef.
5. Upgrade your skills. If you read labels carefully, you can probably find nutritious and appealing products in the freezer section at your supermarket. However, you’ll save a lot of money and enjoy fresher food if you do your own cooking.
6. Buy a subscription. What if you prefer to minimize your time in the kitchen? Meal kit plans will do most of the work for you. You can find meatless delivery services at companies like Sun Basket, Green Chef, Purple Carrot, and Daily Harvest.
7. Be patient. Your taste buds may need time to adjust to any new way of eating. That’s especially true if you’re cutting down on ultra-processed products and eating more natural foods with subtle flavors.
Dining Out on a Plant Based Diet:
1. Plan ahead. It’s easy to check what a restaurant serves before you make reservations. Look up the menu online and read customer reviews.
2. Sample different cuisines. Some parts of the world have been vegetarian-friendly for centuries. Enjoy yourself at restaurants that serve food from India, Thailand, Mexico, Ethiopia, and the MIddle East.
3. Make special requests. The hotel and restaurant industries have been working hard to accommodate a wide range of dietary restrictions. Call ahead or discuss your needs with your server. They may be able to recommend popular dishes or create something special for you.
4. Bring supplies. What if you’re stuck on a road trip with no quinoa or dairy-free cheese in sight? You might be able to make your order more enticing with a little nutritional yeast or sriracha sauce.
5. Check sourcing. Delicious dishes depend on fresh ingredients. Check the website to see if they get their food from local organic farms or even grow some of their own produce.
6. Support local businesses. Keeping your local vegetarian restaurant in business preserves your options and makes your neighborhood more interesting. Visit them often and post positive reviews.
A plant-based diet may reduce your risk of heart disease and dementia, along with your carbon footprint. Make it taste delicious, so you can stick with eating vegan or just cut back on meat.