Long recognised for his ability to compose and deliver verse,

Jolly Roger is thankful for the honour bestowed upon him by

the people of Alnwick, Northumberland.

. March is National Nutrition Month and perhaps one of the easiest ways to keep track of personal nutrition is by meal prepping. In fact, a study of 40,000 French adults found that people who meal prepped at least a few days were less likely to be overweight and more likely to stick to nutritional guidelines. The survey also found that meal prepping led to eating a wider variety of quality foods throughout the week. While food variety is important, not all foods are created equal and understanding what foods to include in your weekly meal planning routine is key. For example, plant-based diets tend to be rich in fiber, good fats, vitamins and minerals that can help lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight. Many dietitians, nutritionists and doctors recommend a more plant-based diet for optimal nutrition and making the switch isn't as difficult as some might think when it comes to meal prepping. Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist, explains, "You don't need to completely overhaul your entire meal plan to make it more nutritious. You can make simple swaps that will have a big impact on your well-being. For example, you can use
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options like plant margarine and vegan cheese instead of their dairy counterparts to lower the saturated fat - and often the calories, too - in a dish, while still getting the texture and flavor you crave." Swapping dairy butter for margarine is, in fact, recommended. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020), "a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods ... and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting." So why aren't more of us swapping out dairy for plant-based options? A recent study of 2,000 adults commissioned by Upfield, a leader in plant-based nutrition, uncovered a number of food myths, including that 32% of those surveyed admitted that they thought margarine was less healthy than dairy butter. "I'm shocked at how many people still believe that margarine is highly processed and contains trans fats," said Gorin. "In reality, margarine is a plant-based product - and market-leading margarines removed trans fats years ago. On the other hand, dairy butter contains naturally occurring trans fats."
Recipes To jump start your meal prep this month, we feature two of Amy Gorin’s favourite plant-based dishes that are nutritious, full of flavour and easy to round up before any busy week. Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist.