A vegetarian diet can be enjoyed by people of all ages and the key to a healthy vegetarian diet is variety.
Foods contain combinations of nutrients and other healthful substances. Going vegetarian can be a great way to improve your health. Cutting out meat removes many chemicals and processed foods from your diet. You can get just as many vitamins and minerals from a healthy vegetarian lifestyle as you can eating meat. Typically, a varied vegetarian diet contains less saturated fat and more folate, fibre and antioxidants, plus as a vegetarian you’re more likely to exceed the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
Although the benefits are real, becoming a vegetarian is not a lifestyle choice to make lightly. If not done properly, it can lead to some very real risks to your health. That’s why it’s important to consider vegetarian diet safety before taking the leap.
Follow these tips to enjoy a low calorie vegetarian diet and you will certainly feel the benefits.
Be Careful with Dairy
If you are a big fan of milk and cheese, going vegetarian can seem easy. If you already eat very little meat the transition is not difficult. However, it is best to avoid eating too much dairy. It is easy to fall into the habit of eating cheese with almost every meal instead of meat. Dairy can have a very high fat content, so you can increase your calorie intake rapidly if you are not careful. Explore adding more seasoning to dishes instead of rich sauces and try some soy options in your desserts.
Food you really love
This is key. If you don’t enjoy the foods, you won’t stick with the plan for long. No one can eat food they don’t enjoy for more than a month or so (usually less). It’s why most diets fail — anyone can stick with a diet for a couple of weeks, but if you feel that you are suffering by eating it, you’ll fall off it after a little while. Instead, make sure you love your food. Add variety, of course, and mix up the plan every few weeks, but stick with foods you love.
Cook at Home
Ordering take out can be difficult for a vegetarian. Many places offer a limited range of meat-free options and your choice is usually between “cheese-covered” and “very spicy.” To spare your stomach and your waistline, invest in some good cookbooks and start preparing more dishes at home. Try bringing your own lunch to work instead of going out to pick something up. Not only will you find your diet is healthier, you can also save a lot of money buying your own ingredients instead of paying separately for individual meals.
Water is a vital part of a healthy diet, and should not be forgotten. If you are staying healthy, drink water as much as you can. Carbonated drinks and sugary milkshakes can make you feel dehydrated, so it is easy to drink more of them in an attempt to quench your thirst. Another common problem is mistaking dehydration for hunger, and snacking when you should be drinking. If you feel a little hungry, drink some water before reaching for a snack or a cookie. It may be you didn’t need the extra calories after all.
Choose Your Snacks Wisely
Snacking for vegetarians can be something of a challenge. Nibbles and party food often contain animal products which you have to avoid. This can result in you eating a lot of greasy fries, salt-covered chips, and ice cream. Try bringing your own snacks to work and spectator events, and packing fruits, vegetables, and homemade dip. Look for vegetable crisps and low-fat tortilla chips instead of regular chips and fries. If you are going to a party, ask the host about vegetarian food before you go so you will have more options.
Check the Ingredients
When buying food in the supermarket it can be easy to ignore the ingredients. As long as something is meat-free it is easy to assume that eating it is a good idea. Many vegetarian products are very high in fat, salt, and sugar however. Microwave meals are often full of chemical preservatives also, making them a poor choice in terms of nutrition. Check the ingredients list when purchasing meals and vegetarian substitutes. If you do not like the figures, it is worth the extra effort to prepare a meal from scratch.