Adopting a healthy vegetarian diet can be a challenge. I have fallen off the wagon repeatedly, on those days when trying to be plant-based. I’d overeat the carbs, undereat the protein – and most of the time, go without fat at all.
If a vegetarian lifestyle is to last, one needs to know how to eat a healthy vegetarian diet to benefit both their health and weight. I trust this essential guide to a healthy vegetarian diet will be of help.
- Eating tips for a healthy vegetarian diet
- Eat a balanced vegetarian diet
- Start a vegetarian lifestyle by making a few changes
- Consume enough vegetarian protein
- Don’t skimp on the calcium.
- Still enjoy family cookouts
- There can be no healthy vegetarian diet without snacking
- Take advantage of the nutritional values in legumes
- Experiment with vegetarian recipes and menu plans
- Plan for dining out
- Avoid B12 deficiency
- Cook only with healthy oils
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Eating tips for a healthy vegetarian diet
Embrace these eating tips towards a healthy vegetarian diet, and the lifestyle will be sustainable for you. Vegetarians who eat animal by-products find it easy to stick to a balanced diet as they are not as restricted as those on an entirely plant-based diet.
Eat a balanced vegetarian diet
It is vital that you do not favor one food group over another (unless you are on a special diet like Keto). I’ve heard people complaining several times that a meat-fast throws them off their weight-loss goals. The culprit is a lack of balance, favoring more carbs over veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. Incorporate a balance of carbs, plant-based protein (or eggs and dairy), and healthy fats every day.
Start a vegetarian lifestyle by making a few changes
We all get gripped by zeal now and then (present company included). You are likely to stick to a healthy vegetarian diet if you ease into it. In fact, it is the goal of this blog to help myself and others to move towards a plant-based lifestyle.
Meatless Mondays are the best place to start (mine are a discipline of Wednesdays and Fridays). Grab yourself a vegetarian meal plan and strive to incorporate it into one day of the week. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to survive a day without meat.
Consume enough vegetarian protein
Anyone who is vegetarian may have heard to answer this one question: “How do you get your protein?”. It is annoying but a legitimate question nonetheless. For the non-dairy and eggs eater, there are a ton of high protein foods that one can have, e.g., tofu, peas, beans, lentil sprouts, split peas, etc. I love the taste of green split peas, I must say. I have a feeling that they taste better than most meats. Most of these foods are also high in Iron.
Don’t skimp on the calcium.
As a woman, I know first hand the importance of calcium. I also have dairy allergies, and my primary concern is the calcium. Fortunately, other foods provide calcium, even if you do not eat dairy. These are fortified cereals, dark green veggies, and calcium-fortified soy milk. I do not like soy milk, so I load on the dark greens and also take calcium supplements to make things easy for me.
Still enjoy family cookouts
Adopting a new lifestyle can be alienating. Try to continue attending family barbecues and cookouts even though you won’t be partaking of the meat. Prepare your vegan-friendly meals upfront, or also buy yourself vegan sausages and burgers to enjoy time with family. There’s always egg and dairy free mayo as well for those potato salads.
There can be no healthy vegetarian diet without snacking
Have you ever started a diet/lifestyle only to fall off the wagon because you snacked on the wrong things? It may seem impossible at first until you realize that you still have nuts and fruits for snacks. A reasonable amount of fruits is only two pieces a day. Do consider this when snacking.
I enjoy making this healthy alternative to ice cream, as a snack as well as my day’s fruit serves.
Find vegetarian snacking ideas here:
Take advantage of the nutritional values in legumes
Beans and peas are superfoods. Take advantage of this and consume them on a regular basis. Make dishes like three bean salad, pea soup, and vegetarian chili.
Nothing spoils a diet like being indifferent to cooking! Take some interest in meal preparation by experimenting with vegetarian recipes. My Youtube channel does feature some good vegetarian recipes (some are wholly vegan-friendly).
It is essential that you create a vegetarian meal plan that will work for you.
Another necessary supply when starting out a vegetarian diet is a vegetarian cookbook or guide. You can get a couple of the recipe books, including one that teaches you vegetarian cooking on a budget.
Plan for dining out
A lot of restaurants do offer vegan options, although it is not always the case with the desserts menu. I skip dessert in such situations. Load on salads. It also helps to search for vegan-friendly restaurants in your area. Having such a list handy will make things easy on the occasion that you want to eat out.
Avoid B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 can be elusive as it is naturally from animal products. A deficiency in B12 can cause anemia. Fortified foods like breakfast cereals, non-dairy milk substitutes, and nutritional yeast do contain some vitamin B12. To be on the safe side, investing in an excellent B12 supplement may be the way to go.
Cook only with healthy oils
Healthy oils provide vegetarians with the benefits of heart-healthy monosaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats including Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids. A few examples are coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.
I hope these eating tips will help you achieve a healthy vegetarian diet. Do pin, share or tweet!