A plant-based lifestyle is a healthy one

GBC nutrition professor, Amy Symington tells us how to eat well on a budget

As nutrition continues to be a hot topic for many, Amy Symington, a nutrition professor at George Brown College, zoomed in on plant-based diets, as well as chronic disease prevention and management during a demonstration at the 33rd annual Vegetarian Food Festival.

A heavily research based cookbook has recently been compiled by Symington, and is set to publish in one years time.

Symington offers some great tips on how students can cook healthy meals on a tight budget and time frame. She says the key to getting in the groove of cooking with minimal time is to “get 2 or 3 recipes in your repertoire that you are able to just repeat.” Once that is locked down, the whole process becomes much less time consuming.

Cooking and cleaning everyday is a very demanding activity. To avoid this, the GBC professor suggests that “doing one big cook session and having your food basically ready for you to grab and go for the week” can cut down on time spent in the kitchen and the energy bill. The key is to find a time that works best for this. Typically a relaxed Sunday would be ideal.

According to Symington, the most important factor to eating healthy as a student is to never stop trying. If you didn’t eat well one day, don’t give up. Just start again the next day.

If you have a limited selection of food to choose from, such as on campus, you can get a whole grain bun with all the veggies and non-dairy sauces at places like Subway. The culinary building at St. James campus has some great grab-and-go snacks and meals to get you through the day.

If your lack of cooking ability is stopping you from making your own food, just remember, everyone starts somewhere. Picking up a few basic techniques is all you need to master some simple personal favourites.

For those who are not so eager to transition to a full plant-based diet, Symington suggests to “focus on the foods that are good for us and that will push out the foods that we shouldn’t be consuming as much of.” In other words, one does not have to sacrifice their favourite foods to eat healthy. All it takes is consuming a variety of whole plant-based foods.

“Whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, good quality protein, and tofu are really what we should be focusing on for chronic disease prevention and management,” the nutritionist explained. Including any of these in your diet is a healthy step, but when you are in a rush you cannot go wrong with a peanut butter banana sandwich.

The Toronto Veg Food Fest, which took place on on Sept. 8 at Harbourfront Centre, showcased many tasty, vegan and gluten free meals. With over 150 vendors, there was no shortage of variety and diversity. Bakeries, authentic international cuisines, and an abundance of plant-based health foods came together in this unique festival.

Among those were Symington, who showcased several recipes from popular plant-based cookbooks.

For more tips and information, check out Amy’s article in Clean Eating Magazine called, “Cook Sunday for the Whole Week in 6 Easy Steps.”

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A plant-based lifestyle is a healthy one