Small Steps Toward A Plant-Based Diet

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Mushrooms. Pic: NewsCanada

(NC) One of the best ways to transition to a plant-based diet is to incorporate more mushrooms into your meals. These veggies are extremely healthy for you and they pack a flavourful punch.

Adding four to five medium-sized mushrooms to your diet provides important vitamins and minerals with only 14 calories, virtually no fat and one gram of fibre. Mushrooms contain B-complex vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin that help to breakdown nutrients for your body to use, as well as minerals such as selenium, copper and potassium.

These minerals are necessary for the proper function of the human body and play different roles, from making healthy red blood cells to protecting body cells. Mushrooms are also the only vegetable in the produce section with natural vitamin D, which plays an important role in bone health.

Mixing mushrooms into your favourite meals is an easy way to start eating healthier. Even if you or someone in your family is a self-proclaimed picky eater, mushrooms can easily be added to almost any dish for a boost of nutrients and flavour. Their high water content allows them to take on flavours, making them easy to blend into any recipe. In addition, they are high in umami, a “meaty” flavour that adds a depth and richness to recipes.

Some easy ways to add more mushrooms and nutrients into your diet:

• Mix one cup finely diced mushrooms (white mushrooms, portabella, crimini or button for a mild flavour) into any meal where you are using ground meat. Think meatloaf, tacos, pasta sauce, burgers, etc. Benefit: Reduced calories per serving.

• Include sliced mushrooms in your soups, stir-fries, casseroles, etc. They will take on the flavour of the dish and add a richness. Think crimini mushrooms for chicken noodle or beef barley soup, enoki or shiitake mushrooms for Asian soups or stir-fries. Benefit: three extra grams of fibre.

• Include sliced crimini or shiitake mushrooms into risotto or other rice dishes. Benefit: one additional serving of vegetables.

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