Getting the Best Nutrients from Your Vegetarian Diet
With a well-planned vegetarian diet, a person can easily meet his/her nutritional needs. However, it all comes down to your knowledge and awareness of a right plant-based diet.
In a world where the majority of the population is non-vegan, vegetarianism is gaining a lot of popularity due to various reasons such as health benefits, reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, types of cancers etc.
However, the only problem with a vegetarian diet is that people depend a lot on processed foods to meet their nutritional needs. Processed foods are good to some extent but one must know that they can be high in sugar, fat, calories, and sodium. Therefore, it is imperative for a vegetarian to eat enough vegetables, fruits, calcium-rich foods, and whole grains to get the necessary nutrients.
What is a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian diet is a plant-based diet that can be with or without dairy and eggs but excludes the consumption of meat. There are different types of vegetarians:
- Lacto-vegetarian: Dairy foods are consumed but eggs, poultry, fish, and meat are excluded
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarian: Dairy and eggs are consumed but meat, fish, and poultry are excluded.
- Ovo-vegetarian: Eggs are consumed but poultry, fish, meat, and dairy are excluded.
- Vegan: All animal products and by-products are excluded. This means that there are only plant-based foods and no eggs, dairy, honey, fur, leather etc.
You can choose any of the vegetarian diets as per your preferences.
Vegetarian Food List
Fruits and Vegetables – These are obviously the integral part of a vegetarian diet as they are sources of antioxidants, dietary fibers, and potassium. They help you control your weight and also lower the risk of osteoarthritis and heart disease. You can eat all kinds of fruits and it is best to consume vegetables such as kale, spinach, asparagus, bell peppers, and broccoli. Dark green vegetables are great sources of calcium and iron.
Nuts, peanuts, and seeds – It is highly recommended to consume nuts and seeds as they are low in cholesterol-raising saturated fat and are great in providing heart-healthy fats along with protein, vitamin E, and potassium. Nuts are great sources of calcium and protein, while flaxseeds have an abundance of omega 3 fats.
Grains – They are an important part of a vegetarian diet because they naturally provide some essential nutrients, iron, antioxidants, and dietary fibers. Having whole grains in the diet is beneficial to you as they contain the bran and endosperm component of the grain kernel. Given that refined grains are lower in nutrients, it is best to choose brown rice over white, whole-white bread over white bread and consider other grain options as well such as bulgur, popcorn, barley, quinoa, oatmeal, and whole grain cereals.
Soy Foods – These are plant-based sources of complete protein. Soy foods are good at providing all the amino acids (building blocks of protein in food) that you need from your diet. These foods contain zinc, iron, and dietary fiber. Consider eating soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk etc.
Beans, peas, and lentils – Legumes (split peas, beans, and lentils) are known as rich sources of protein, dietary fiber, iron, and zinc. Although legumes do not provide full protein, you can combine them with other sources of protein. For instance, you can add garbanzo beans to a couscous salad or have lentil soup with barely. Needless to say, you have a variety of options with legumes.
Benefits of Vegetarian Diet
- Improves symptoms of psoriasis
- Reduces the incidence of diabetes and also prevents diabetes
- Prevents cancer as vegetarian diets, high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and replete with cancer-protective phytochemicals
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Helps in lowering the blood pressure
- Reduces the chances of forming Gallstones, Kidney Stones, and Osteoporosis in one’s body
- Reduces the chances of cataract development
- Reduces the cholesterol levels in the body
- Helps in lowering the risk of obesity and stroke
- Enhances the mood of a person
Side Effects of Vegetarian Diet
Although there are numerous health benefits of a vegetarian diet, here are some possible side-effects you must be aware of:
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Heavy gas (it is due to higher fiber in plants)
- Lower energy levels
- Huge cravings
- Perceived social awkwardness
Become a Vegetarian by Starting Off On the Right Foot
If you are planning on starting your vegetarian diet, it is best to begin this journey with the assistance of experienced people who know a lot about vegetarian diets. There are four best meal delivery service providers that we recommend. They offer other plans as well than just vegetarian and are exceptionally good at what they do:
Although Home Chef offers other plans as well, their vegetarian plan offers at least three vegetarian options per week. You can simply combine different meals as per your preference. All you have to do is to join Home Chef, select the meals, and cook from their easy-to-follow recipes cards. Home Chef has made a name for itself due to its unique vegetarian recipes and delectable taste.
Sun Basket also offers other plans to their customers but their vegetarian plan is just too tempting that we had to include them on our list of recommended meal delivery service providers. They are known for their organic produce and clean ingredients. Plus, there is no need for commitment (you can cancel anytime) and you’ll get your money back if the recipes are not as good as advertised.
Hello Fresh’s veggie plan is dedicated to all vegetarians out there. The vegetarian recipes are simply the best as they have plant-based proteins with grains and seasonal produce. They offer 3 recipes per week and the best thing about their plan is that new recipes are prepared by their chefs each week. This means that you’ll get to experience mouthwatering recipes each new week. The meals will be delivered on time, as per your schedule. Overall, the veggie plan is flexible and you can cancel or pause it anytime.
Green Chefs are just perfect for people who are looking for the best meal delivery service provider who specializes in vegan and vegetarian diet. Green Chef, as the name implies, is a certified organic company that delivers meals with pre-portioned ingredients and quick and easy vegetarian recipes with step-by-step instructions. Their tasty vegetarian meals can be prepared in 30 minutes or you’ll get your money back.
All in all, these 4 meal service providers are the best in the market. However, if you are just looking for a vegetarian diet and don’t want to combine it with some other diets then Green Chef and Hello Fresh are the best options for you.