In the age of being bombarded by information every half-second, it’s easy to get confused as to what “eating healthy” truly means. At VENN Food + Nutrition  our aim is to build your confidence around food and nutrition while making it simple for you to enjoy your meals. In short, we meet you where you are and help you make small changes because, little by little, you will be able to make sustainable lifestyle changes that will become your new “normal.” 

We follow A LOT of food,health and wellness bloggers and accounts. While there is some good messaging out there, we find that so much of it is both confusing, vague and at times it does not consider cultural foodways. This can often create a feeling of guilt and bewilderment.  That’s why we teach and inspire from the perspective of “eat more of THIS” as opposed to “don’t eat THAT!”  What is THIS?  THIS is “Foods With Fiber” aka “Plants”, meaning vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and whole grains. THAT is anything that you love and already consume; we bristle when we hear someone say “Don’t eat that” (unless there is a medical reason not to do so—please check with your doctor if you need clarification).

Why more plants?

  • Plant foods help to strengthen immunity.  Plants have phytonutrients that work together to fight off illness and keep you healthy
  • Including lots of plant foods in your diet can also help prevent or manage diet-related chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  
  • And a plant-based dietary pattern (not necessarily vegetarian or vegan) may help with weight goals as well as gut health and brain health.

Go for a variety of plants because vitamins and minerals work in synergy.  For example, vitamin D helps with Calcium absorption, which is good for bone health and osteoporosis risk reduction.  Citrus fruits (or other foods containing vitamin C) paired with whole foods containing iron such as green leafy vegetables helps with iron absorption. 

How to add more of THIS (Plants)? 

  1. Think all colors. A chicken salad normally made with mayonnaise and maybe a tiny bit of chopped celery becomes a colorful, fiber filled meal with the addition of grated carrot, sliced green onions, grated lemon zest, shaved red cabbage, chopped herbs and a crunchy sprinkle of nuts or seeds on top.
  1. Up Level your pasta with red sauce or any soup or stew by adding in 2 handfuls of spinach and some chopped herbs to the heated sauce. The heat will soften the spinach and it will integrate beautifully.  Here are a few more example of how you can up level your meals:
  • Add an extra chopped vegetable, and handful of seeds/nuts and maybe some sprouts to the salad you already love.
  • If you like chips and salsa like us, try adding some black beans to your favorite salsa. 
  • Quinoa cooks the same as white rice so next time you make white rice try using ¾ white rice and ¼ quinoa. 
  • Sprinkle nutritional yeast (a good source of fiber and protein) on popcorn or soup.
  • Add a handful of spinach into your eggs, soups, sandwiches, salads (pretty much anything!)
  1. Build that Sandwich, Taco, Wrap or Roll. If it’s a turkey and cheese sandwich, think adding some lettuce, sliced tomato, avocado and/or red onion.  Bean and cheese burritos get a lift from a generous spoonful or three of salsa and/or guacamole. 
  1. Take “Smart Shortcuts” (without the guilt or shame). If purchasing pre-cooked beans or lentils is a faster and easier way to create a base for a meal, then DO THAT!  Look for that convenience food, such as pre-chopped garlic, onions and vegetables so that you can make the soup that you’ve always wanted to make but felt pressed for time. 
  1. Keep the staples in your refrigerator and pantry. We always have a head of cabbage, a bag of carrots, a bag/box of baby spinach, an onion or two, a bunch of green onions or cilantro, lemons, a variety of nuts and seeds, canned beans, whole grains (e.g., brown rice and quinoa), frozen edamame, spices and your favorite condiments stocked in the kitchen. That way, it’s so easy to up level almost any meal with more plants. 

How do you add more plants into your meals and snacks? 

Disclaimer: All information is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. We cannot and do not give medical advice.