Ensuring A Healthy Vegetarian Diet
If you have just decided to start a vegetarian lifestyle you might be wondering how to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet. Or someone you love might have decided to take the vegetarian path and you’re wondering how to cook for them. When you decide to cut out meat from your diet it doesn’t mean that you will lack any important nutrition. It might take a little extra effort and stocking your pantry with some new foods but there’s no reason that you can’t have a perfectly healthy vegetarian diet.
Protein is an extremely important part of anyone’s diet and depending on the type of vegetarianism you are following protein sources might be widely available to you. Fish and eggs are good sources of protein but if you are vegan then these sources of protein are eliminated from your diet. Lentils, legumes, nuts, and soy products are all good sources of protein, also important for a healthy pregnancy diet.
There are now more non dairy calcium sources on the market. If you are vegan you should drink fortified soy milk, or fruit juices and tofu enriched with calcium. Another option is to start eating more dark green vegetables such as poccoli, kale, collard greens, spinach, and even turnips. All these foods are good non dairy alternatives. You can be sure of getting all the calcium you need from a diet that includes these foods on a regular basis.
Iron and B-12
A lack of iron and vitamin B-12 is a concern in vegetarian diets. There are fewer non meat and non animal by products that offer a solution to the need for vitamin B-12. If you are vegan you might want to look out for cereals fortified with vitamin B-12 or soy products enriched with this vitamin.
However the best way to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet that includes adequate levels of vitamin B-12 is to take a supplement. Iron and vitamin B-12 are especially important in a woman’s diet. A lack of either mineral can result in anemia.
Dried fruit, beans, and peas are all good sources of iron. Lentils and dark leafy green vegetables are also another good source of iron in a healthy vegetarian diet. To help your body to absorb iron you should eat foods that are rich in vitamin C along with the iron rich foods. Vitamin C helps your body to absorb non animal sources of iron as well as being an important part of a healthy vegetarian diet.