Jena DeMoss: Plant based eating

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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Whether you’re an animal lover, an environmental advocate or want to live your healthiest life, plant-forward eating can give you a nutritious diet full of color and variety. According to recent studies, plant-based eating may lower cholesterol while boosting fiber. Luckily, eating more plants goes way beyond eating just salads and tofu. Trying new plant-powered products, whether raw or in new recipes, can even make for a fun and rewarding family activity.

Instead of treating meat as the star of the meal, think of it in a supporting role. You don’t have to completely change what you’re eating, just make small adjustments over time. These swaps could be as simple as substituting beans, chickpeas or even lentils for beef or chicken.

Understanding Plant-Based Eating:

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• What is plant-based eating? Plant-based eating is not a diet. Instead, it is an eating pattern with general guidelines. The focus is on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Animal proteins and dairy can be included in moderate amounts. Unlike strict diets (vegan, keto, etc.) that eliminate food groups, this style of eating includes all of the food groups. That means you are less likely to have nutrient gaps because you’re not excluding food groups or specific types of foods.

• Why should we eat more plants? Plant-based eating patterns have shown improved health outcomes, including: lower levels of obesity, reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. Also, people eating plant-based tend to consume fewer overall calories and more fiber, potassium and vitamin C beneficial to heart health, digestion and more.

• How can we incorporate more plant-based foods into our diet? Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Find simple and realistic ideas by attending one of our free Plant-Based Eating Virtual Nutrition Store Tours, hosted by a Hy-Vee dietitian. Register today by visiting

Include more plants in your diet without sacrificing great taste! This recipe is one easy way to modify a family favorite meal to be more plant-forward while still maintaining its delicious, sloppy goodness.

Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes

Serves 8

All you need

• 2 tbsp Gustare Vita olive oil

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

• 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

• ½ medium yellow onion, chopped

• 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed

• 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

• 1 cup water

• 1 (15-oz) can Hy-Vee no-salt-added tomato sauce

• 1 tsp liquid aminos

• 2 tbsp ancho chili powder

• 2 tbsp Hy-Vee yellow mustard

• 1 tsp organic granulated sugar

• ¼ tsp smoked paprika

• Hy-Vee salt, to taste

•8 Ezekiel vegan hamburger buns, split (*Note: option to use whole-grain buns for non-vegan version)

All you do

1. Add olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, green and red bell pepper, and onions to saucepan. Sauté until fragrant and crisp-tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from saucepan, set aside, and keep warm.

2. Add lentils, vegetable broth and water to saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked through and stock is absorbed.

Stir in tomato sauce, liquid aminos, chili powder, yellow mustard, sugar and smoked paprika. Mix pepper and onion mixture back into lentils. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat through. Season to taste with salt. When ready to serve, divide lentil sloppy joes between 8 vegan buns.

Source: Hy-Vee Test Kitchen