HOW TO EAT HEALTHY AS A VEGETARIAN?
Knowledge is power: A vegetarian diet can be suitable for anyone, but healthy and vegetarian do not automatically go hand-in-hand. You might think they do, because the assumption is that vegetarians eat serious amounts of pulses and vegetables, but just like anyone else some vegetarians fall into eating habits that aren’t ideal.
Some will survive on processed food such as chocolate bars and potato chips, which will be high in sugars and salts but not much else. Others might eat relatively well, but want to learn more so that they can take in the right amount of vitamins and nutrients to keep fit and healthy. Knowledge is power, after all. So, what can they and you do?
What to eat:
Generally speaking, a healthy vegetarian diet should consist of plenty of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread, dairy products such as milk and cheese, non-dairy forms of protein from beans to eggs, and a smaller amount of foods that are high in fat and sugar. It’s difficult to make every meal offer all of the above, so it’s more important to make your overall diet balanced than every single plate you ever eat from. Perhaps you’re concerned because your everyday lunch is a simple cheese sandwich, which is essentially made up of just carbs and dairy protein, but as long as your breakfast and evening dinners are more varied, that’s fine. You don’t have to eat salad with every meal to eat a good amount of salad in the course of a day.
Shake up mealtimes:
Of course it can be useful to examine what you eat for each meal. While the aforementioned cheese sandwiches are ‘okay’ for lunch, you might find it surprisingly fulfilling to branch out and try new things, which will benefit your body as well as your tastebuds. Why not learn to eat well all of the time? In many Western cultures breakfast is all about toast, cereals or greasy processed food. But look at what the rest of the world is eating, and there is an amazing variety of vegetarian food out there that is good for body and soul. Breakfast can include protein as well as starch. In fact breakfasts can be anything at all. Eggs are the perfect breakfast food because there are so many ways you can cook quickly with them, and they are a great source of protein. If you want to stay traditional – perhaps you’re a big fan of porridge in the mornings – then why not think about what you can add to an already existing meal to pack a bit of a health boost into it? Porridge, for example, goes really well with fruit and/or nuts and seeds, all of which pack plenty of nutrients into every mouthful. And if you still have concerns about how to eat healthy as a vegetarian, you could always consider seeing a dietician, who will be able to offer advice tailored specifically to you.