Move Vegetables From The Side To the Center in 2016 The New Year is a perfect time to reflect on the changes we need to make. And for most people, healthy eating often makes the top 3 resolutions. However, after a few weeks, most of us may not be able to stick with it. With all the best intentions for good health, our diet resolutions are often too broad, or not action-oriented. Whether your resolution is to lose weight, lose inches, or lower cholesterol, it all comes down to one important action: Eat More Plants. 4 Strategies to Eat More Plant-Based Foods Think of Plants As An Entree, Not A Side Eating more vegetables does not mean eating more salad; we need to fundamentally change our mindset to think of them as an entree, not a side dish. For instance, when preparing for dinner, instead of first selecting a meat and then followed by adding vegetables that match well, switch it the other way round. Choose an interesting vegetable you would like to prepare for the family, and then add in other ingredients to make that vegetable a star. This is the main reason why most people noticed how vegetarian restaurants seem to be able to cook vegetables more delicious than conventional restaurants. Add Trendy Superfoods Let’s face it! Super-healthy superfoods are often plant-based. Adding more superfoods into your diet ensure adding more plants, and nutritional punch too. This year, you have a perfect food group to add, and that is PULSES! The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses to raise consumer awareness of the environmental and nutritional benefits of lentils, dried beans, peas, and chickpeas! Canadian Lentils publishes new recipes every 3 months in the Lentils for Every Season magazine as well as regularly on our website. So check back frequently! Make Going Meatless A Habit Meatless Monday is a good start; but it doesn’t have to be an entire day if it doesn’t work for you. When I first eased into becoming a vegetarian, I chose going meatless for all my lunches. My point is, choose a day or a meal that you know you can stick to, and make it a habit. When eating meatless, don’t forget to include plant-based protein, such as lentils & beans, nuts & seeds, tofu or edamame. Aim to include at least 16 grams of plant-based protein per meal. For reference, an ounce of nuts provides about 6 grams of protein, ½ cup of edamame provides 8 grams, and ½ cup of cooked lentils provides 9 grams. Eat Fresh Developing a habit of eating fresh food instead of processed packaged foods is another easy step to eating healthy. Getting used to grabbing fresh fruit, instead of opening a bag of snacks, helps you to not only eat more plants, but also consume less calories, salt, and additives. The key here is to always stock fresh fruits and vegetables at home and at the office. For some, it’s the time getting to the stores that hinders their good intention. Hence, take advantage of a food delivery service in your local area; some of these services actually have an option to deliver seasonal produce to your door. You will receive whatever seasonal produce they receive; and it is a good opportunity for you to try something new. The first time I tried mustard greens, was when I received a batch in my weekly delivery. This forced me to learn how to cook a new vegetable that I have never purchased before! Willpower isn’t always what makes your resolutions stick; instead, having clear actionable steps and right strategies will help you succeed. You can make 2016 a healthier year for you and your family!