With vegan and vegetarian diets on the rise, companies are looking for ways to up their plant-based options, and it seems everyone is trying to eat more veggies, sneaking them in as many aspects of meals as possible.
Sneaking more veggies into pasta and pizza crusts sounds like a great idea, but are these trendy ways to eat more vegetables really healthy for you?
Maybe not! Some plant-based replacements and products with vegan claims are actually highly processed. Certain veggie replacements have even been shown to be worse for you than their original whole-foods counterparts.
Oh no! How do you make sure that you’re really getting healthy products for your plant-based diet and lifestyle? Don’t worry, we gathered up some tips to ensure that your healthy diet really is good for you.
Learn to Spot the Fakes
There are plenty of food products that claim to be healthy, even though they’re not. Some of these faux healthy foods include:
Protein and Snack Bars
These bars often claim to be good options for breakfasts and workout supplements. However, they’re actually highly processed. Some even contain more sugars and calories than a candy bar!
Cauliflower Pizza Crusts
“Healthy” pizza crusts are a popular option in grocery stores, but these veggie replacements aren’t always the best way to get a healthier pizza. For the cauliflower crust to taste like traditional pizza, producers load them up with gluten-free ingredients that have a lot of fats and calories. Certain brands even have 5 times the fat content than traditional pizza crusts! Instead of adding highly processed veggies to your crust, make pizza healthier by adding whole food vegetables as pizza toppings.
Plant-based meat replacements are also joining the mainstream of health trends – we recently wrote about plant-based being the future of meat. While some have been praised for their scarily similar taste and texture, these faux meats aren’t necessarily great for you. Many of them are just as high, if not higher, in sodium, trans fat, and calories than animal products. They also include soy and gluten products and can be highly processed, in contrast to healthier whole foods.
Change Your Lifestyle to Change Your Diet
With the amount of Instagram posts, food blogs, fad diets, and new plant-centric restaurants touting plant-based eating, it’s no wonder trendy ways to eat more vegetables can seem great at first glance. But despite their popularity, eating these foods alone can’t make up a healthy lifestyle.
Changing the way you think about health can help you improve your diet. The Mediterranean Diet, for example, is about more than just trends and crash diets. A healthy lifestyle means considering your eating patterns, but it also means thinking about your mind and your social life!
For anyone looking to truly start living a healthy lifestyle, there are some essential elements to consider:
Don’t cut out all fats
Many diet options claim that cutting out fat completely is the best way to be healthy. While it’s no secret that some fats are bad for you, there are also healthy fats that provide excellent sources of protein for healthy, active lifestyles.
Don’t be so strict
Restricting what foods you can eat may make it harder to stick to a healthy diet. Try upping your intake of plant-based whole foods rather than counting and restricting your calories and favorite foods!
Plan your overall diet on healthy foods and activities
Instead of occasionally swapping your pizza crust for a cauliflower crust, make a more long-term plan for your healthy habits. This can mean meal planning, creating a set grocery list before going shopping, or researching real healthy options for eating out.
Eat more whole foods
Many trendy vegetable options and meat replacements are not whole foods. Whole foods are foods that have been processed or refined as little as possible and are free from additives or other artificial substances. Many “trendy” meat replacements and hidden vegetable foods are processed with several unhealthy added ingredients or potential allergens, like soy and gluten.
Whole foods are natural, and many have significant health benefits and nutrients like high protein and fiber, without the added ingredients. Grabbing a bag of our pre-seasoned, frozen mixed vegetables is a great way to make whole food meals easier without compromising on nutrition. Tommy’s Superfoods vegetables are all made of real food ingredients you can pronounce and commonly see in a garden.
Read the Label!
This may be the most important way to make sure you’re following an overall healthy eating pattern. Products can claim to be good for you, or made strictly of vegetables while actually containing loads of unhealthy ingredients. For example, Crisco claimed for years to be made solely of vegetables, when in reality it was full of just as many trans fats like those in red meats.
Not All Packaged Food is Created Equal
This is another reason that reading labels is important. While some trendy ways to eat more vegetables are no better for you than the “unhealthy version,” this isn’t always true. Some packaged, plant-based products contain far less harmful ingredients than others.
Your best bet is to inform yourself on what a product really contains before you buy it.
Read the label on our super tasty frozen vegetables and you’ll love what you see!
If you want an easy way to get healthy, non-GMO packaged whole foods, give Tommy’s Superfoods a try! Our vegetable medleys are flash frozen to seal in nutrients (and we think they’re pretty tasty too). The best part? Because they’re pre-seasoned, peeled, and cut, it makes a healthy eating lifestyle that much easier.
What do you think about these “healthy” trends? Leave us a comment below and let us know!