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How to Plan a Vegetarian Diet

If you are making the switch to a vegetarian diet do not be overwhelmed when it comes to making a shopping list so you can start preparing vegetarian meals at home. It is not a difficult job to make sure that you have everything you need to succeed in your new endeavour. Make sure you buy plenty of grains, green leafy vegetables, beans, and nuts. If you are unsure of how to prepare vegetarian meals, invest in a vegetarian cookbook, which are plentiful at your local book store or look online for recipe ideas.

Simple Guidelines for the Beginner.

Start with simple and easy to prepare meals such as brown rice and mix in your favorite vegetables, you can even add flavor to rice by adding apple juice to the water when cooking it. Take a trip to your local ethnic market, many of these markets especially ones that cater to people from the Middle East will have a variety of vegetarian selections available and will be
able to give you some pointers about how to prepare food that you might not be familiar with. To curb your temptations to fall off the vegetarian wagon while you have a day out, pack some nuts, granola, fresh or dried fruit, along with some juice.

What about Protein?

Getting the right amount of protein is important to maintain human health. It was once believed that a vegetarian diet could not deliver the proper amount of protein that humans needed without including at least some red meat. However, this has been proven not to be the case. If you follow a proper vegetarian diet with the right amount of bean, grains, lentils, and vegetables you get all of the essential amino acids that you need to maintain a healthy diet.

The benefit of consuming plant proteins instead of animal protein is that you will not only eating a healthier diet but your risk for many medical problems will be lowered. Eating a diet that is high in animal protein increases your risk for developing kidney disease, certain cancers, kidney stones, and even osteoporosis.

How about Calcium?

Do not be worried that by becoming a vegetarian that you will be not getting the required amount of calcium that is needed to maintain your body’s health. The benefit of being a vegetarian is that a proper vegetarian diet does not contain protein from animals. Diets that are high in animal proteins have been shown to cause bones to lose calcium and possibly lead to osteoporosis. Along with the use of plant proteins to maintain healthy calcium levels, vegetarians can find foods that are a good source of calcium. Good sources of calcium in a vegetarian diet include soy milk, soybeans, lentils, almonds, and some dried fruit.

Supermarket Shopping Tips.

When you have made the decision to become a vegetarian you will also have the task of relearning your favorite supermarket. You will have to find things on aisles that you may have never been down before. As most supermarkets are generally laid out in like fashion, it is good to know the sections where vegetarian foods can be found. Most supermarkets now offer a health food section, and it is here where you will find products like vegetarian burgers, sausage, and roasts. The refrigerated section of your supermarket is where you will find tofu, hummus, vegetarian bacon, vegetarian hot dogs, and egg-free pasta. Other vegetarian staples will be where they have always been, these items include rice, beans, pasta, and spaghetti sauce. Of course, you should already know where they keep the vegetables at your local supermarket.

A Sample of a Vegetarian Menu.

Making the switch to become a vegetarian does not mean that your daily meals will be filled with bland food that resembles bark from a tree. There are many choices that you can make to have delicious and attractive looking meals. For breakfast, have oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, your favourite fruit, and cereal with soy milk and top it off with a sliced banana or your other favourite fruit. At lunchtime, you can choose from having a veggie burger, garden salad, baked sweet or regular potato topped with your favourite vegetable, hummus, or a hearty vegetable soup with crackers, or a bowl of fresh fruit. For dinner, you could choose from having burritos stuffed with beans, rice, tomatoes, and avocado, or a fresh garden salad. You could opt for a Chinese stir-fry made with tofu and vegetables such as broccoli, onions, and ginger or vegetarian sausage. You could also have pasta topped with a vegetarian spaghetti sauce or just a nice selection of your favourite vegetables with a nice vegetarian dip. If you get hungry during the day, make sure that you have some vegetarian snacks on hand like fresh fruit, trail mix, dried fruit, or a soy-based yoghurt.

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