Hot on the heels of Veganuary came Plant Power Day – Thursday 7 March – urging all us to ‘Go Big on Plants’. Of course ‘going big on plants’ doesn’t have to be just for one day – many of those who took part in Veganuary have continued to follow the principles of a plant-based diet.
Happily though, for those of us who struggled with Veganuary because we love dairy and meat products, plant-based eating isn’t defined by what it excludes, but instead of animal products being the main component of a meal, the focus switches to putting higher proportions of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds on our plates i.e. putting plants first.
So why would we want to feast on a plant-filled plate?
Well according to the British Dietetic Association, ‘well-planned plant-based diets need just one third of the fertile land, fresh water and energy of the typical British ‘meat-and-dairy’ based diet. With meat and dairy being the leading contributor to greenhouse (GHG) emissions, reducing animal based foods and choosing a wide range of plant foods can be beneficial to the planet and our health.’
A good plant-based diet is also affordable, tasty and nutritious, providing it includes a wide variety of beans, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables, wholegrains such as oats and rice, and cereal-based foods such as breads and pasta. All the nutrients for good health are provided – protein, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and plenty of fibre too, although people avoiding or minimising their consumption of animal-derived foods may need to pay particular attention to some nutrients that might be lacking, by making sure they consume more of certain plant categories.
What’s on the menu?
So having established that plant-based eating is good for us and our planet – what might the caterer offer customers who want to go big on plants?
Well, in addition to making a feature of your vegetarian choices, why not offer your customers a planquet? Yes, that’s the new word for a plant-based banquet …
Remember, dishes can include dairy, fish and meat – but in lower proportions – so augment the meat in curries and casseroles with lentils or pearl barley or dense vegetables such as aubergines; make tasty soup with pumpkins, parsnips and sweet potato and top with a cheese crouton. Rice and pasta dishes work well too – think simple dishes such as prawn or scampi risotto or ham and mushroom tagliatelle. Just remember to include more veggies than meat and perhaps substitute cow’s milk for a plant-based alternative such as almond or soya milk for a creamy pasta sauce.
Don’t forget to use the power of plants to encourage your meat-eating, pescatarian and flexitarian customers to try something new on the menu and make it easy for them to love and celebrate the power of plants. It’s good for us all!
Take a look at some of our products that would be suitable for creating delicious plant based meals!