Typically, if you walk down the frozen aisle at an American supermarket, then you will find a lot of meaty dishes. Many dishes emphasize meat in the picture and in the naming.
Chicken parmesan. Chicken alfredo. Beef ravioli. Pulled pork. Whatever the food is, the center of attention is the meat. There may be some fruits and vegetables, but those are pushed off to the side.
I do not believe this creates a healthy food culture. To create a healthy food culture, we must emphasize vegetables as the main course and naming. Meat may be used, but it is pushed off to the side. The vegetables should get most of the attention and much of the room on the plate.
I believe that more than 75% of the plate must come from a plant source. This should fit with the MyPlate guideline recommendations for healthy eating. For people who are lactose-intolerant, the dairy product may be replaced by warm soy milk, hot unsweetened green tea, warm water, or a hot cup of unsweetened coffee. Poultry, pork, beef, and fish should not be regarded as the only protein-rich sources. Instead, they should be regarded as natural calorie-enhancers, flavor-enhancers, and dietary oil. They should take up just 5% of the plate. The final 20% goes to protein-rich plants, particularly legumes and different types of tofu.
A 2016 study finds that stir-fried tempeh can increase the fat composition. Although the study views the increased fat composition negatively, I believe a greater fat composition and higher caloric intake may be a good way to eat enough calories for healthy living. Apparently, tofu is not just rich in protein, but also rich in fat.
Setiawan, Budhi, et al. "The Influence Of Traditional Stir-Frying With Oil On Acceptability, Antioxidant Activities, Nutrients, And The Phytic Acid Content Of Fermented Soybean (Tempeh)." Nutrition & Food Science 46.2 (2016): 259-271. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.
We should not depend on food manufacturers to make healthy dishes. They are here to make money. Instead, we should buy raw ingredients and make healthy dishes ourselves. By making home-cooked meals, we control the ingredients and their relative proportions to each other. Maybe, if more people do this at home, then food manufacturers will see a trend in popular behavior and make vegetable-centered TV dinners, with some sustainable forms of meat (such as earthworms and spiders). Then, our whole society will shift toward a more plant-based food culture.
I envision a future where pictures of dishes will have vegetables and grains taking up the spotlight and meats taking up a small space in the back and a fruit served on the side. The names of the dishes will emphasize the importance of plants. Examples include:
* Assorted Rice, served with sautéed spinach, chives, and scrambled eggs
* Dried Noodles, served with garlic, ginger, peanut butter, parsley, roasted worm bites, and soy sauce
* Mashed Potatoes, served with peas, carrots, and roasted worm bites
* Bread Slices, served with Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, eggplant, cucumber, assorted beans, tempeh, and scrambled eggs