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Going ‘plant-forward’ is all about prioritising plant-based foods in your everyday diet (1-3). Health experts agree that eating more plants (that’s nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, soy and whole grains) is vital for good health.
But how do you best pair such foods for nutritionally-rounded and tasty meals? We’ve broken down the steps to plant-forward pairings, to make it easy for you to create your own balanced meals at home!
What is plant-forward pairing?
Plant-forward pairing is all about using ingredients that complement each other, in terms of their colours, flavours, aromas and textures, as well as their nutrients.
Whole, plant-based foods typically each contain a unique and diverse combination of nutrients, making them perfect for pairing! For instance:
|✓ Unsaturated fat |
✓ Vitamin E
|✓ Magnesium |
✓ Vitamin C
|✓ Carbohydrate |
Include nuts in your meals for a boost in plant protein, gut-loving fibre and healthy unsaturated fats, leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
Three simple rules of thumb
- Include a diverse range of plant-based foods. These include nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, soy and whole grains (1-3).
- When plating up a meal, aim for a quarter to be filled with protein-rich foods, such as nuts or legumes, a quarter high fibre or whole grain carbohydrate-containing foods, like brown rice or wholegrain pasta, and the rest (1/2 your plate) vegetables and fruit. And remember to also incorporate healthy, unsaturated fats (4-5), such as olive oil, nut oil or avocado.
- The more colours the better. Eating an array of different coloured plant-based foods (think: orange, green and purple vegetables, for instance) will give you a wider variety of nutrients.
Tick the criteria above and you’re well on the way to a balanced dish of appropriately-paired plant-forward ingredients!
You don’t have to go meat-free to be more plant-forward. Instead, aim to put more plants on your plate – make them the ‘star’ of the dish, with meat the side!
Plant-forward pairings with nuts
Need some inspiration? Here’s some simple, easy and delicious pairings for your favourite nuts.
|NUT||EXAMPLE PAIRINGS||EXAMPLE DISH|
|Apricot, almond and pomegranate rice pilaf|
|Mushroom, thyme, pecan and Brazil nut dip, with sourdough bread|
|Creamy cashew and cauliflower pasta sauce (NEW recipe coming soon!)|
|Chestnut, spinach and green pea soup|
|Quinoa hazelnut porridge|
|Lime, raspberry and macadamia tartlets|
|Sweet pumpkin salad with green beans and pecans|
|Mango and avocado salad with toasted pine nuts|
|Turmeric pear porridge|
|Walnut, pear and chickpea salad|
Article written by Olivia Moore and the Nuts for Life team.
- Nutrition Australia. (n.d.). Plant-based diets: What’s the fuss? Accessed September 2021: https://nutritionaustralia.org/division/nsw/plant-based-diets-whats-the-fuss/
- Tuso, P. J., Ismail, M. H., Ha, B. P., & Bartolotto, C. (2013). Nutritional update for physicians: Plant-based diets. The Permanente Journal, 17(2), 61. http://10.7812/TPP/12-085
- California Walnuts. (2021). Cracking the Basics of Plant-Forward Eating. Accessed September 2021: https://walnuts.org/walnuts-are-a-plant/
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2011). Healthy Eating Plate. Accessed September 2021: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/
- Eat for Health. (2015). Australian Dietary Guidelines. Accessed September 2021: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/
Published October 13, 2021