5 tips for incorporating plant-based options into your barbecue season

(NC) Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to get grilling. While meat is usually the star of the show, let’s take a page out of Canada’s Food Guide and try to incorporate more plant-based options into our diet.

The revamped food guide wants us to look at our whole plate, half of which should be filled with vegetables and fruit and the rest balanced between protein-rich food and whole grains.

Plant-based proteins are a great source of vitamins and minerals, as well as being a nutritious and delicious alternative to animal protein sources. Plant-based proteins are also a great way to boost your fibre intake.

Not sure what to do? Here are some tips to help:

Sear marks are not just for steak.
Grilled vegetables are a great place to start. Think local peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini and more, which are in stores this time of year from local farmers. Whether marinated with a mixture of fresh citrus, garlic and herbs or tossed in a drizzle of olive oil and seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper, grilled vegetables are always a hit and can be served multiple ways.

Craving the meaty texture.
Mushrooms are a great replacement for animal protein sources with meaty taste and texture. While they are a good source of iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, they aren’t the best source of protein. However, when stuffed with protein-rich vegetables such as spinach along with lentils or quinoa, they can provide the nutrients we need.

The freezer aisle is your friend.
There are many plant-based options in the freezer aisle that often require minimal prep. Why not try the new PC Beefless Undeniable Burger? Made with pea and rice protein and coloured with beet, it gives you the beefy texture and is packed with 27 grams of protein per 113-gram serving.

Meat-lover forever.
If you’re not ready to give plant-based options a place on your grill, try replacing half of the ground meat from your burger recipe with lentils, chickpeas or a mixture of diced mushrooms and grated zucchini — they can offer the flavour of a full meat burger while providing added nutrition.

Shop with a registered dietitian.
Did you know that your local Zehrs provides a “Shop with our Dietitian” program? Your local in-store registered dietitian would be happy to help you choose plant-based alternatives that fit your tastes and nutritional goals. Get started at bookadietitian.ca.

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