NUTRITIONDietPlant-Based Eating for Firefighters: Incorporating More Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Plant-Based Eating for Firefighters: Incorporating More Vegetarian and Vegan Options

By Katie Breazeale, MS, RD, LD

When you think vegetarian and vegan do you think about eating like a rabbit with constant salads?  This is a common misconception of those who eat plant-based foods. Vegans do not eat any animal product whereas a vegetarian may depend on the type of vegetarian; some eat eggs or dairy.

Plant based is more than just salad. It is a great way to eat protein without extra cholesterol and fat. 

5 Quick Tips to Add in Plant Based Foods
  1. It is not just about vegetables.  Vegetarians need protein too. Beans, quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, edamame, and lentil pasta are all plant-based proteins.
  2. Create a meal. Plant based proteins can feel more like sides than the main item.  It is one of the more challenging mindset pieces that the beans that used to be your side are your entrée.  
  3. Breakfast is a great place to amp up the fruits and whole grains.
    1. Quinoa pancakes, overnight oats, smoothie power bowls and chia seed puddings are a great way to include fruits, grains, seeds, and plant-based protein.
  4. One meal a week or even better per day adds a great health advantage. Let’s say you decide to have a fruit smoothie every morning instead of bacon and eggs- you have increased your antioxidants, fiber, hydration, and decreased cholesterol and fat thus improving overall heart health and inflammation in the body.
  5. Fruit as dessert. This is a simple starting place to get more plants in your diet.  The fruit will give you vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all while satisfying that sweet tooth.

Putting it all together. Here are a few quick ideas to inspire you!

  • Stuffed bell peppers with quinoa, beans, rice, rotel tomatoes, and topped with cheese. Serve with a fresh salad to balance the heat from the peppers and rotels.
  • A black bean burger on a whole grain bun served with sweet potato fries.
  • Vegetarian Chili
  • Tomato Basil soup
  • Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
  • Smoothies
  • Quinoa Pancakes with fresh fruit
  • Berry Superfood Smoothie Bowl
  • Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
  • Pistachio Oat Squares

Whether you’re trying plant based meat or adding fruit for dessert there is no right or wrong way to add more plant based options to your daily plan!

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