This post is in partnership with Nestlé. All views are my own regarding Convenient Ways to Eat More Plants.
Let’s be real. You know I’m an equal opportunist when it comes to eating real, wholesome and fresh foods most of the time.
I eat a lot of plant-based foods (veggies, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, nut butters and cook with various plant-based oils), but I also eat meat and seafood.
In the American culture, most of us eat plenty of meat. So when I’m dreaming up new and fun recipes and sharing about products on my social channels, I try to keep in mind that most of us have enough inspiration for consuming meat-friendly foods and recipes and maybe not enough plant-based inspirations.
No, I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan - I’m simply seeking more delicious ways to eat plant-based foods that are oozing with good nutrition.
Convenient ways to eat more plants
With that said, sometimes we need convenient foods that are plant-based and nutritious, and Nestlé’s plant-based initiatives offer just that.
Nestlé is certainly a household name, as they feed millions of people every day, and they understand, based on consumer research, that more than ⅓ of Americans are actively trying to incorporate more plant-based foods (vegetables, pulses, seeds and nuts) into their diets.*
Some of their well-known brands, like Lean Cuisine Origins, COFFEE-MATE natural bliss, Häagen-Dazs and one of their newly acquired brands, Sweet Earth, are providing delicious chef-crafted meals that are made solely from plants and are uber convenient (yay!).
As a dietitian, you know it’s always my goal to help you build a balanced plate, and Nestlé has an amazing #BalanceYourPlate education program!
It’s an education program that helps American‘s build nutritious and delicious meals that fit into an overall healthy eating pattern. And, their products can help us all achieve this goal. *Nielsen, 2017
I had the opportunity to attend an event a few weeks ago at Nestlé‘s Arlington, Virginia headquarters where we learned from their chefs and dietitians on how they craft their products, and it’s pretty remarkable.
They pay close attention to using wholesome, high-quality ingredients while keeping consumer trends and desires in mind.
I was able to cook with their chefs in their AMAZING kitchen where we created plant-based appetizers and side dishes to go with some of their frozen entrees. (And don’t worry, we also got dessert AND coffee... more on that coming up.)
Talk about delicious!
First up in their plant-based lineup is Lean Cuisine. I remember when I first started eating frozen meals in college out of pure convenience (and not knowing how to cook).
I was studying health and nutrition and chose Lean Cuisine specifically because I liked the straightforward ingredient list; they don’t put anything in their meals that I don’t have in my pantry, fridge or freezer.
They now offer a line of meals called New Origins that feature ingredients like lentils, chickpeas and of course, vegetables, so they’re satisfying as well as delish.
My personal favorite is their Coconut Chickpea Curry and the Linguine with Ricotta & Spinach Meatless Meatballs because, well, we don’t always have time to make my own and theirs taste pretty great.
How do we eat more plants in a convenient, delicious way?
Next up is Sweet Earth. I had never heard of this brand before, but they are newly acquired by Nestlé and I am SO glad I was introduced to their goods.
We tried the Veggie Lover’s Vegan Pizza that has Brussels sprouts and corn on it, as well as dollops of cauliflower herb sauce (insanely creamy and delicious) on a carrot, cornmeal and chia seed crust.
I literally don’t think I could make a thin and crispy crust that good out of those ingredients, and I’m a chef. They also have veggie grounds made with seitan that has more protein than tofu (you know I’m not a tofu lover, so this is good for me).
They also have some pretty stellar burritos that are high in protein and fiber. Again, perfect for convenience and a fun way to get more plant-based foods in your diet!
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss my favorite part... coffee and dessert. Let’s start with the ice cream. You know I’m a lover of real ice cream, so I was a bit skeptical of the Häagen-Dazs Non-Dairy frozen desserts, but I AM OFFICIALLY IN LOVE.
You can ask anyone who was at the event... I was handed a Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Non-Dairy Bar and I couldn’t form words because it was so so so delicious.
They don’t replace dairy ingredients with dairy replacements in their products; they feature other luscious ingredients like peanut butter, chocolate and coconut, and it totally shows.
This bar is loaded with peanut butter and swirls of chocolate and I wanted it to never, ever end. I’m pretty sure I licked every last bit of chocolate off the stick and had some on my face as well.
No shame. And I finished off the meal with a cup of coffee supplemented with COFFEE-MATE natural bliss Maple Almond Milk Coffee Creamer because, well, you know I am a regular purchaser of natural bliss creamers.
They’re my fave because they taste amazing, are made with real, all-natural ingredients and they have fun flavors. And of course, they now have a line of plant-based creamers made with almond and coconut milks. YUM.
So if you’re looking for ways to sneak more plant-based foods into your diet (and again, that doesn’t mean you have to be a vegetarian or vegan – I’m not!), Nestlé has some pretty awesome ways to help you do just that.
And as a chef, I feel pretty lucky to have cooked in their kitchen alongside their amazing chefs to see how they make these dishes and products come to life.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nestlé.