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A couple of years ago I got roped into watching one of those health movies that show us how our meat is processed and I instantly became a pescatarian. I don't know which has been the harder challenge — resisting the tantalizing smell of bacon that teases the nostrils when brunching at my local diner or finding great alternatives to meat at the markets. Luckily, I discovered Walmart + which helps make eating healthy a breeze.
I signed up for Walmart + during the pandemic. Like many of us, grocery shopping in person became daunting, and Walmart + was an easy option. For a $99 annual membership, Walmart will deliver fresh groceries right to my door with its no contact delivery service. The retailer has a surprisingly awesome organic section, which often costs less than competitors' regular produce, so I can afford to get my berry on without pesticides.
The site is simple to navigate and automatically saves my favorites for quick checkout — a convenient feature that I appreciate. Now a 45-minute trip to the grocery store has been whittled down to no more than five, and I can shop in my pajamas. If only they'd send someone to cook for me too.
Here's some of the great plant-based stuff that typically ends up in my cart...
Eliminating meat means replacing them with healthy fats, and avocados fit the bill. They're high in fiber, making them low-carb, and packed with healthy fats and vitamins that reduce inflammation. Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like total, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides. All of that in a fruit that's scrumptious on everything from my toast for breakfast to my corn chips late night. I also started upping my plant burger status from good to delish by topping it with a few slices of the green stuff. Avocado is versatile and healthy, making it a house staple. And at less than $5 for an organic bag, it's easy to keep around.
I eat a lot of pasta. A lot. And this is a pre-vegaphile affliction. My Italian blood craves the al dente bite of the perfect carb. Tossed with garlic and a healthy dousing of olive oil, and I'm a happy lady. But it needs veggies for me to justify the copious amounts I consume, and "Basta with beas" is a favorite go to. These little babies can always be on hand— flash frozen, they're a great freezer staple. Organic for about a buck a bag, a few go in my cart every other delivery.
I was never a tofu fan, but when you go veggie, you need new protein sources and tofu is the quintessential vegetarian go to. You just need to find the right recipes to make it delicious and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Spongey? Yes — but that just means it soaks up all the flavors you can put into it, which makes it delicious.
I've always struggled with Asian inspired cooking but I had a eureka moment when I discovered coconut aminos! It's the perfect compliment to tofu (see above). Toss some sesame seeds, fresh handfuls of spinach and garlic cloves in the pan, and you have a delicious meal you can toss over rice. The coconut aminos are a slightly sweeter, and less salty version of a soy sauce that is perfectly balanced in a way that soy sauce is not. You can pour it on for flavor without worrying about over salting your dish— it's the perfect condiment for the cuisinally challenged.
Shop it: Organic Coconut Aminos, $10, walmart.com
Walmart+ makes it easy to step up your game. Why use those dried herbs that have been sitting in your pantry for four plus years when you can have the fresh cut taste of crisp greens with herbaceous aromas to level up your favorite pasta, salad, or anything you're whipping up. I love a caprese salad and a fresh pomodoro sauce, so I always keep basil around. Fresh thyme and rosemary make roasted potatoes or cannellini beans sing. Add some fresh herbs to your omelette and you've won breakfast.
Gut health is all over social media, and with good reason. If your tum is off, it's no fun. Probiotics are a panacea for your digestive system, and Kombucha is a great way to get them, dairy free. I love GT's organic kombucha for the variety of interesting flavors like Pineapple or Ginger Berry. Watermelon Wonder is always a winner — reminiscent of a jolly rancher, it tastes like childhood.
Missing meat? Beyond Meat is the most realistic alternative you'll find on the market. It sizzles and smells like a burger while cooking, and it tastes surprisingly good. Top it with fresh tomato, cheese and that fresh avocado! With 20g of plant protein per serving and 35 percent less saturated fat than a 4-ounce patty of 80/20 ground beef, you can feel less guilty about your indulgence and better about what you're doing for the planet.
For less than $5 you can get a pound of leafy greens that you can sneak into so many dishes, it will become a veggie drawer staple that works for every meal. Add it raw to your salad or sandwich, saute it with garlic and oil as a dinner side dish, add it to omelettes and smoothies for a boost of vitamins at breakfast. Spinach is an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable. It packs high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. It's high in insoluble fiber, which aids digestion. And don't forget the spinach artichoke dip. That stuff is heaven on a chip.
If there's a fruit I can't live without, it's the banana. First of all, it comes in its own sanitary wrapper, so it gets points for convenience right off the bat — no washing required. Second, it pairs perfectly with chocolate and peanut butter — staples of any discerning foodie's diet. When I'm trying to be healthy, this is my dessert, hands down. Just smear on some nutella and yum. It's great in cereal, smoothies and milkshakes. Packed with potassium and vitamins, bananas lower blood pressure, reduce stomach acid and ward off stress. It's a seriously versatile super food.
I love making smoothies for breakfast. It's the most delicious way to get all of your vitamins and minerals since it tastes like dessert. Dole makes this great blend that ensures I get my protein too. I add fresh spinach or broccoli, flax seeds and other antioxidant superfood powders which are tastily disguised by juicy blueberries and banana. Just throw it all in the blender with your favorite milk — I use a non-dairy option, like a coconut-almond blend — and you're done. The little almond based protein cubes give it a sweet vanilla flavor that's so good, you'll think you're cheating on your diet.
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