When your mother told you to eat vegetables, she was more right than she thought. For the sake of our bodies and the Earth’s climate, experts say that people from all over the world must include roots, jewish, green leafy vegetables and other plant foods in your diet.

“We’re not saying to go vegan. But abandoning meat in favor of plants can produce significant changes“says Richard Waite, a food and climate policy expert at the nonprofit World Resources Institute (WRI).

Fortunately, plant-based meals are delicious. And they are better for your health. Long-term consumption of red meat has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. In contrast, vegetable intake is linked to lower rates of these and other diseases.

Victoria Moran, podcast host Main Street Vegan and author of the book of the same name, comments that even intensive carnivores can enjoy this way of eating. Incorporating more plants into your diet isn’t difficult, she insists. “The food The most colorful, delicious and appetizing are those of plant origin” he says. “It’s not a sacrifice. It is an adventure”.

Here are some ways to get started.

Dishes such as hamburgers, meatloaf, sausages, and meatballs They benefit when mixed tasty mushrooms or other vegetable proteins with meat, in an approximate proportion of one third plants and two thirds animalsexplains Sophie Attwood, a WRI scientist who works with the food industry to add more plant-based items to their menus.

“It’s not about diluting, like adding breadcrumbs could be,” says the expert. This blend results in good flavor, texture, and mouthfeel, according to a study in which diners evaluated carne asada and taco blends.

In the same way, carrots can replace part of the cheese at a macaroni dinner. Cut a few carrots into thin slices and sauté them in water until tender. Then puree them with soy or nut milk and add it to the pasta before sprinkling (less) cheese.

Since familiarity determines much of what we choose to eat, it’s helpful modify favorite dishes. In many recipes, beef or chicken can be replaced by beans, nuts or vegetables. Moran frequently makes a vegan “meatloaf” that reminds her of her grandmother’s, substituting a mixture of rice, mushrooms, walnuts and wheat germ for the ground beef. Likewise, a hearty lasagna or chili can feature black beans, while lunch wraps can swap deli turkey for a soy product like seitan or extra-firm baked tofu.

When vegan cook Tabitha Brown, author of Cooking from the Spirit (in Spanish: Cooking from the spirit), began eating this way, often creating country-style steaks using packaged veggie burgers mixed with mushrooms and onions and fried hearts of palm “fish” sticks.

Especially when condiments and sauces are familiar (hot sauce in the first case, tartar sauce in the second), people tend not to miss meathe notes in his cookbook.

According to the United Nations, There are more than 2000 plants available as food, but most people only eat 30 common crops. And, although we tend to think of red and white meats as powerful proteins, many vegetables are too.

If horizons are expanded beyond conventional garnishes, like roasted potatoes or steamed broccoli, food can be interesting and tasty. “It helps a lot to think more about what you add than what you take away,” Moran recommends.

“Vegetables are much more diverse than meat, and you can do so much more with them,” Attwood points out. There are troot vegetables such as beets, carrots, celery and parsnips. Among the cruciferous vegetables are cabbage and watercress. Starchy vegetables range from corn and sweet potatoes to squash and turnips. There are also nightshades, such as eggplants and tomatoes, as well as leaner Japanese eggplants and numerous types of peppers. Leafy greens go beyond romaine lettuce and spinach and include kale, mustard greens, etc.

According to the World Resources Institute, the incorporating a range of colors in each vegetable dish it indicates to the taste buds that the product will be tasty. The harmony and symmetry They are also important, so it is best to spread the vegetables around the plate and consider cutting carrots or other produce into interesting shapes.

Salads are an easy vegetarian dish to prepare., since everyone is familiar with them, comments the presenter. But instead of tossing a few tomatoes onto a small plate of romaine lettuce, she pulls out a huge bowl and unleashes her creativity.

“Start with a base that makes sense,” the author suggests, such as a mix of massaged kale, arugula, and baby spring leaves or any leafy greens you like. “Afterwards, have fun,” she says.

It also can include vegetables of various colors, shapes and flavors, from sweet peppers to horseradish. And add additional texture with raisins, avocados, nuts and/or seeds. In the colder months, you can warm up a salad by adding some cooked vegetablessuch as sautéed mushrooms or winter squash, or beans or tempeh sautéed with fermented soy.

Bowls filled with cooked plant foods can be almost as simple to prepare, Moran says. Instead of lettuce, the base is usually a cooked grain, such as rice or quinoa, which is topped with steamed or sautéed vegetables and beans and drizzled with a sauce, such as pesto or teriyaki. Serving it in a bowl rather than a plate allows the flavors to meld, he says.

Many types of dishes can be prepared with plant foods, whether they are stir-fries, soups, stews or more creative dishes like Brown’s vegetable-stuffed peppers or their vegetarian pizzas made with portobello mushrooms.

Incorporating herbs and spices is another great way to add flavor and nutrition.. These parts of the plants have a series of tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids and polyphenols that give them antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, glucose-lowering and other properties beneficial to health.

If the world wants achieve climate warming goals of 1.5 degrees Celsius, more and more people will have to turn to plants, Waite maintains. It is expected that by 2050 the Earth’s population will reach almost 10 billion people and will need to produce 56% more food than today.

In the same period, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and associated clearing must be reduced by two thirds. Switching from burning fossil fuels to renewable energy will not be enough without simultaneous changes in our way of eating.

Some meat eaters worry that a plant-based diet will leave them perpetually hungry, but it doesn’t have to be that way, Moran clarifies. By including bulky foods like grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables along with healthy fats like nuts, seeds, oils, and avocados, “you won’t feel like you’re missing something,” she says.

“We owe it to each other and the planet to move in this direction,” highlights the specialist. “You can start today. You can start right now.”