The Best Vegetarian Recipes That Give The Best Nutrition.
The number of people following vegetarian and vegan diets is on the rise and their reasons vary from personal preferences to religious, ethical, economic, environmental, and health benefits. Ideally, vegetarian diets don’t include any meat or seafood and some people following a vegetarian diet may avoid dairy foods and eggs. Vegan diets, on the other hand, only plant-based foods are eaten and all foods from animal sources are avoided. In this article, we’ll focus more on vegetarian diets and how to get the most out of them. The Best Vegetarian Recipes That Give The Best Nutrition
vegetarian meal kits are a healthy way to meet one’s nutritional needs. With a little planning, these are enough to meet the needs of people of all ages including pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. This means that vegetarians don’t need to rely heavily on processed foods for nutrients. The secret lies in knowing your nutritional needs so that you can plan your diet around them.
What are the different types of vegetarian diets?
Generally, when people hear the word vegetarian, most of them think about a diet that doesn’t include any meat, fish, or poultry products. This is not entirely true because there are several different types of vegetarian diets that vary in the type of foods they include:
This diet excludes meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and any food items that contain them. It, however, includes dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter.
This diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products but allows eggs.
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarian
This diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry but allows dairy products such as milk and eggs.
This diet isn’t strictly vegetarian but still focuses on reducing the number of animal products eaten. It excludes meat and poultry but allows fish, dairy, and eggs.
This diet excludes all other types of meat apart from poultry
This is a semi-vegetarian diet that is primarily plant-based but also includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and fish on occasion or in small quantities.
This diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and all foods that contain these products.
Health benefits of a vegetarian diet
A well-balanced vegetarian diet can provide many benefits compared to nonvegetarian diets. These diets are usually lower in calories and rich in fiber and eating like this for years brings one loads of health benefits. Some of the benefits include:
- Enhances weight management
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- May help lower high blood pressure
- Improved insulin response thus helping stabilize blood sugar
- Protects against some types of cancer such as stomach, colon, and rectum
How to get the most out of a vegetarian diet
If you’re adhering to a vegetarian diet or are thinking about starting, you ought to ensure that it meets all your nutritional requirements. Since essential nutrients are harder to obtain in a vegetarian diet, you need to carefully plan your meal plan. Pay special attention to the following nutrients so that your diet includes everything that your body needs:
Proteins help maintain healthy organs, muscles, bones, nails, hair, and skin.
Meat, milk, eggs, and fish are good sources but you only need a small portion to get sufficient amounts of proteins needed in the body. As a vegetarian, you can get enough proteins from plant-based foods like nuts, whole grains, and legumes.
- Iron and zinc
Iron is a key component of RBCs. We get this from dried beans, dried fruits, enriched cereals, whole grains, dark leafy vegetables. Since iron is not easily absorbed from plant sources, vegetarians are asked to take double what nonvegetarians take for their iron needs and also eat foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits and tomatoes to help the body absorb it.
Just like iron, zinc is also not easily absorbed from plant sources as it is from animal products. Plant-based zinc sources include legumes, nuts, whole grains, wheat germ, and soy products. If you’re a Lacto-vegetarian, cheese would be a good source of zinc for you
- Calcium and vitamin D
Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Milk and dairy are super high in calcium content but other great alternatives include dark green vegetables such as broccoli and kale. Calcium-enriches and fortified products like juices and cereals are other great options too.
Vitamin D also plays a major role in bone health and we get it from sun exposure. If you don’t get enough of this or don’t eat enough foods fortified with Vitamin D, you should take supplements.
- Vitamin B-12
This is very helpful in preventing anemia as it helps in the formation of RBCs. Since this is found almost exclusively in animal products, it’s hard to get enough vitamin B-112 from plant sources. For this reason, vegetarians need to consider taking supplements.
- Omega-3 fatty acids
These fatty acids are gotten from fish and eggs and are crucial for good heart health. Other good alternative sources for omega-3 fatty acids include canola oil, walnuts, and soybeans. However, their conversion to the type that is used in the human body is not inefficient so people should consider fortified products or supplements.
This is a key component in thyroid hormones that helps regulate metabolism, growth, as well as the functioning of vital organs. An iodine deficiency puts one at risk of developing goiter. Taking just a quarter of a tablespoon of iodized salt provides a sufficient amount of iodine.
Are there any possible health risks associated with adhering to a vegetarian diet?
In as much as a vegetarian diet can be healthy and nutritious, it may also pose a risk of certain nutritional deficiencies.
Meat, poultry, and fish are big sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids as well as other micronutrients like zinc, iron, selenium, and vitamin B12. Other animal products like eggs and dairy products are a good source of calcium as well as vitamin D and B. When you cut off these food items, you have to find other sources like fortified foods and supplements that give you these essential nutrients. Otherwise, you’ll be at risk of suffering their deficiencies and exhibiting symptoms like anemia, fatigue, weak bones, and thyroid issues.
It’s highly recommended that you consult a dietician who’ll help you put together a meal plan to ensure that you’re getting a reasonable amount of calories daily. Note that strict vegetarian diets are not recommended for very young children.
If you have any questions not covered in this post and if you need help, leave me a comment or mail me @[email protected] and I’ll help as soon as I can.