If you’re taking your first steps into vegetarianism, figuring out which foods will give you a well rounded and balanced diet can be tricky. By removing meat products from your diet, you may be cutting out essential proteins and vitamins. That’s not to say you can’t get these from a largely plant based diet.
Meat will only make up a small portion of a meat eaters daily diet, with grains, pulses, vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs and some dairy products making up the remainder. This means that if you’re looking to move to a vegetarian diet, all it takes is some clever substitution. Swapping out things like chicken, fish, beef, pork or lamb for some of the below veggie options, will help that transition into vegetarianism a little smoother.
Chickpeas are excellent as a substitute for protein heavy products, throw them into curries, bolognese or blend them with some herbs and spices to create tasty hummus for dipping. These legumes are amazing for filling out any meal and can also help you feel fuller for longer!
Courgette is extremely versatile and can be cut into large chunks and used in many pasta dishes, they also work well in fresh summer salads. Many health food fans are using a spiralizer to create ‘courgetti’ to replace spaghetti in carb heavy dishes. Adding in some ‘courgetti’ can give your meals an extra nutrient boost, you could even fill your plate with half ‘courgetti’ and half normal spaghetti to mix up your meals.
Lentils can be used in curries and to fill out ground meat dishes, helping to create more nutrient rich meals, due to being high in iron. Many flavoursome Moroccan dishes will use lentils instead of meats like chicken, you can even mix in a few chickpeas to add a protein kick.
There are many different types of bean, with each lending themselves to different cuisines. Black beans are great for veggie burritos or chillis, butter beans work very well in fresh salads and baked beans in a tasty Spanish curry. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein and iron and can work well as a substitute for a good deal of meat based stews and curries.
Even though we have to be careful with the amount of nuts we eat in a day, due to their high fat content, they can work great as an extra ingredient in many recipes. Crumble up some walnuts with some feta in your salad or add a few almonds into your veggie korma recipe.
With a bit of research, you’ll be putting together nutrient rich vegetarian meals in no time. However, if you feel like you might not be getting enough of certain nutrients and minerals, take a look at some of our veggie friendly supplements, including Osteocare, which provides a rich source of calcium and co-factors including vitamin D, which help with the normal absorption of calcium in the body.
Osteocare, used in conjunction with our other vegetarian friendly supplements, can help to maintain levels of calcium and other supporting nutrients for bone health.
The use of supplements can help safeguard and maintain levels of important vitamins as part of a varied and balanced diet.