Arguably, nothing is more important to consumers this summer than the idea of healthier living. The coronavirus pandemic has brought a new focus on healthy lifestyles to most people, whether that means exercising more or eating healthier. Restaurants across the nation are already beginning to add new health-conscious meals to their menus in order to keep up with the demand for this new health craze.
Most people agree that a healthy diet has a major impact on how your body responds to illnesses, and many are looking to change their diet for the better in response to the current health crisis. According to some reports, nearly one-half of all consumers say they have been consciously eating healthier in response to COVID-19.
In addition to the health benefits of making the switch to a healthier diet, many consumers are making the switch for financial reasons. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the national meat industry has seen major interruptions and the price of meat is increasing for many consumers. For some, their access to meat has become extremely limited due to disruptions to the food supply chain. One way for economical consumers to save some money is to shift away from meat-based meals and move toward more vegetable-based and seafood-based meals. This is fortunate timing for many because most consumers prefer lighter meals – like salads or grilled fish – during the hot summer months.
For those of us who want to make an even more drastic diet change, there is a new culinary trend centered around plant-based meat proteins. While traditional vegetarian options have always focused on replacing meat with vegetables, this new trend seeks to mimic the texture and flavor of meat while offering the health benefits of a vegetarian meal. According to recent research, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for plant-based meat substitutes in grocery stores by an amazing 264%!
Of course, there is still some murkiness surrounding whether or not plant-based meat substitutes are significantly better for you than traditional meat. On the one hand, plant-based meat has virtually no cholesterol and high amounts of fiber and antioxidants (which is important for a healthy lifestyle). However, plant-based meat substitutes usually have around the same amount of calories as traditional meat and oftentimes the same amount of saturated fats. Most experts suggest that creating a balanced diet of plant-based meat substitutes and traditional meat is the best option for most people.
Are you planning on eating healthier this summer? How has COVID-19 changed your eating habits? Let us know in the comments below.