Photo of Banana Berry Toast, an easy meatless meal

You've probably heard that swapping some of the meat you eat with plant proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and fruit has a number of health benefits—from lowering heart disease risk to weight loss. But you may wonder what a healthy plant-based meal looks like. To help, we came up with nine easy-to-make meatless meals—three ideas each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—that you can use either to substitute for one meat-based meal a day or to build a day's worth of plant-based eating. We kept these meals vegan, but you can use cow's milk in place of plant milk in recipes that call for it if you prefer. Each recipe makes one serving; double the recipes to serve two.


Banana Berry Toast
Toast 2 pieces of 100 percent whole-grain bread. Spread with 1½ Tbsp. almond butter. Slice ½ banana into thin slices. Slice 3 strawberries into thin slices. Decorate toast with alternating rows of banana and strawberry. (Pictured above.)
Per serving: 360 calories, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 46 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 14 g sugars, 13 g protein, 310 mg sodium

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Boil 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Add ½ cup rolled oats and 1 medium shredded carrot. Allow mixture to thicken, and stir. Add ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup unsweetened soy milk. Simmer until desired thickness is reached. Top with ¼ cup toasted walnut pieces.
Per serving: 370 calories, 21 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 39 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 5 g sugars, 12 g protein, 70 mg sodium

Tropical Chia Pudding
Combine 2 Tbsp. chia seeds and ½ cup soy milk in a sealable container. Whisk well. Let sit 5 minutes; whisk again. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir and top with 1 Tbsp. shredded unsweetened coconut, ⅓ cup cubed mango, and ¼ cup slivered almonds.
Per serving: 380 calories, 26 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 31 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 13 g sugars, 14 g protein, 50 mg sodium


Quinoa Chickpea Tabbouleh

Quinoa Chickpea Tabbouleh
Cook ¼ cup of quinoa according to package directions. Toss in a bowl with ½ cup chopped tomato, ½ cup chopped cucumber, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ cup drained and rinsed canned low-sodium chickpeas, 2 tsp. olive oil, and 2 tsp. lemon juice. (Pictured above.)
Per serving: 370 calories, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 50 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 14 g protein, 180 mg sodium

Unwrapped Veggie Sushi
Cook ¼ cup of brown rice according to package directions. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp. apple cider vinegar. Place in a bowl and top with ¼ cup shredded carrot, ¼ cup chopped cucumber, ½ small sliced avocado, and ½ cup frozen shelled edamame (heated in microwave). Top with 2 roasted seaweed snack slices, cut thinly.
Per serving: 410 calories, 19 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 52 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 3 g sugars, 13 g protein, 35 mg sodium

Loaded Sweet Potato
Bake or microwave 1 medium sweet potato. Microwave 1½ cups baby spinach 30 seconds, until wilted. Slice potato and stuff with spinach and about 20 roasted chickpea snacks. Top with ¼ cup plain hummus and 5 additional roasted chickpeas. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. smoked paprika.
Per serving: 290 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 44 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 12 g protein, 440 mg sodium


Super-Easy Tacos

Super-Easy Tacos
Place two 6-inch corn tortillas onto a plate, gently warmed on stove, if desired. Distribute evenly between the tortillas: ½ cup drained and rinsed canned low-sodium black beans; ½ cup frozen corn (heated in microwave); ½ avocado, sliced; and 2 Tbsp. salsa. Squeeze a lime wedge over tacos. (Pictured above.)
Per serving: 430 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 65 g carbs, 20 g fiber, 12 g sugars, 14 g protein, 410 mg sodium

Peanutty Tofu Bowl
Cook ¼ cup farro according to package directions. Put into a serving bowl. Top with ½ cup shredded red cabbage, ¼ cup sliced red bell pepper, and ⅓ cup cubed firm tofu. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, ¾ tsp. low-sodium soy sauce, ¾ tsp. maple syrup, and a pinch red pepper flakes; add warm water to thin. Drizzle sauce over farro mixture and top with 2 Tbsp. each fresh chopped scallions and mint.
Per serving: 320 calories, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 45 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 15 g protein, 270 mg sodium

Tomato and Olive Pasta
Cook 2 ounces whole wheat pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add 1 crushed garlic clove and sauté 30 seconds. Add 2 medium chopped tomatoes and ⅓ cup drained and rinsed canned low-sodium cannellini beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, until tomatoes have softened. Stir in 2 Tbsp. chopped black olives. Toss cooked pasta with tomato mixture. Top with 1 Tbsp. chopped basil or parsley.
Per serving: 460 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 67 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 9 g sugars, 16 g protein, 370 mg sodium

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2019 issue of Consumer Reports On Health