If you want to eat healthier, a vegetarian eating plan could be the best option for you. However, here comes the tricky part: the main key when it comes to a vegetarian eating pattern is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet the calories and nutrients needed.
Here are some tips if you want to become a vegetarian without too much trouble:
1. Think about protein
Your protein needs can easily be achieved by eating a variety of plant-based foods. Some excellent sources of protein for vegetarians include beans, nuts, peas and soy products such as tofu. Lacto-ovo vegetarians could get their recommended amount of protein from eggs and dairy products.
2. Include sources of calcium in your diet
Calcium is well-known for building bones and teeth. As we mentioned above, some vegetarians consume dairy products which are great sources of calcium. If you’re not a lacto-ovo vegetarian, you could try calcium-fortified soymilk, tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified cereals, orange juice and some dark leafy greens such as bok choy.
3. Make simple changes
If you haven’t thought about this yet, many popular dishes are actually designed for vegetarians such as pasta primavera, pasta with marinara or pesto sauce, veggie pizza, vegetable lasagna and bean burritos.
4. Add beans and peas
Thanks to their high nutrient content, eating beans and peas is actually recommended for everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. You could enjoy some vegetarian chili, three bean salad or a split pea soup.
5. Try different veggie versions
Many vegetarian products look and taste just like their non-vegetarian counterparts, but they are usually lower in saturated fats and contain zero cholesterol. You should try for breakfast, some soy-based sausage patties and for dinner bean burgers—they are delicious.
6. Get your vitamin B12
As you probably know, vitamin B12 is naturally found only in animal products. Vegetarians should choose fortified foods such as cereals or soy products, or take a vitamin B12 supplement if they do not consume any animal products.