Vegetarian Diet and Meal Plan
- The vegetarian diet is an incredibly popular eating plan these days, and while it’s not necessarily the most restrictive, it still has some clear-cut rules that newbies need to know about.
- If you’re thinking about following the vegetarian diet (or are currently doing so), be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to the vegetarian diet and meal plan below!
What is a Vegetarian?
An vegetarian is an individual who does not eat meat. There are different degrees of vegetarianism, from those who consume fish and seafood to those who abstain from all animal products.
A pure vegetarian, for example, will avoid eggs but may include dairy in their diet. Although technically a vegan eats no animal products at all, most vegans also choose not to use dairy or eggs.
A lacto-vegetarian will avoid meats but still eat eggs and dairy; for a lacto-ovo vegetarian, consuming both eggs and dairy is allowed.
How do I get enough protein without meat?
There are plenty of plant-based foods that are great sources of protein. For example, beans, such as soybeans or black beans, contain up to 40% protein.
Spirulina is an algae that is also a good source of protein with over 60%! So if you’re worried about getting enough protein on a vegetarian diet, don’t be!
With just a little planning it can be very easy to get all of your dietary needs met in any type of diet. Eat healthy with our complete beginner’s guide.
Are there health benefits to being vegetarian?
The health benefits of a vegetarian diet can be wildly debated. Depending on who you ask, vegans might be healthier than omnivores (true) or they might be just as unhealthy (false).
While studies have shown that vegetarians in general tend to eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy than non-vegetarians, there is no evidence that would suggest a single type of diet—even a vegetarian one—is inherently healthier than another.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend following a healthy eating pattern at least half of your plate is composed of fruits and vegetables. Whether that pattern includes meat is up to you.
Why do vegetarians cheat?
The vegetarian diet is quite popular with people who like to eat healthy. But despite being incredibly nutritious, there are still many reasons why vegetarians go back to eating meat.
This can be explained by understanding what happens in a person’s body during a switch between diets. Let’s take a look at why do vegetarians cheat on their diet? And what are some of their reasons for doing so? To start off, we need to discuss what happens when you stop eating meat or any animal products.
A large percentage of Americans consume red meat as part of their daily meals; it comes as no surprise that cutting out these foods would have adverse effects on one’s body. A key reason why vegetarians turn back to consuming animal products has something to do with protein intake.
Why do vegetarians cheat?
There are many reasons why people choose to be vegetarian, but it’s also common for a vegetarian diet not to last. When I was in college, my dorm mate was a vegan who had strong beliefs about animal rights.
She would often tell me about how much more energy she had compared with other people after she started following her vegan diet. One day, we were watching a movie together at my house and offered her popcorn.
Without thinking, she grabbed some popcorn from the bowl – but it only took one bite for her realize that there were traces of butter on it (due to excess oil added during popping). This little incident caused her so much distress that she immediately threw up all over my floor!
What are good sources of protein?
Protein is an essential nutrient for proper development of muscles, bones, and other tissues. Fortunately, many vegetables are high in protein—making them a great addition to your meal plan.
Here are some suggestions for vegetarian sources of protein: 1) Tempeh: An Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans, tempeh can be sliced or cubed in stir-fries or casseroles.
It has a nutty flavor and firm texture when cooked, so it’s best enjoyed prepared with other foods. 2) Tofu: Made from pressed soybean curds, tofu takes on whatever flavors you add to it when cooking.
The most common ways to eat tofu are pan-fried, baked, grilled, broiled, and deep fried. 3) Beans: Beans such as kidney beans and black beans provide more than 15 grams of protein per cup! 4) Quinoa:
This grain-like seed contains all nine essential amino acids (protein building blocks), making it a complete source of plant-based protein. 5) Lentils: A half cup serving of lentils provides 18 grams of protein! 6) Nuts and seeds:
Nuts like almonds contain 6 grams per ounce while seeds like chia seeds contain 9 grams per tablespoon. 7) Leafy greens: Leafy greens such as spinach contain anywhere between 3–5 grams per cup!
I have no clue what to cook. Any recipes?
To make meal planning simple, focus on dishes that you can prep in advance. In general, cooking vegetarian meals does take more time, as it involves prepping more ingredients.
That said, you can easily prep veggies for a salad or grain bowl at night before bed and your lunch will be ready to go when you are in the morning.There are also many meat-free slow cooker recipes online if time is an issue.
Also remember that if you do plan on meal prepping (i.e., cooking ahead), it’s helpful to make two complete meals so that one is always available while you cook another in bulk or prepare side dishes or snacks/breakfast items over a couple of days.
What are some vegetarian substitutions that aren’t healthy at all?
One of the most frustrating parts about being a vegetarian is dealing with non-vegetarians. Many people become vegetarians for health reasons, but there are still many unhealthy vegetarian substitutions out there.
In fact, some foods that are typically vegetarian are usually not good for you at all. Here is a list of common unhealthy vegetarian substitutions It’s important to know what ingredients are in your food when following any diet plan.
Many people who eat meat also choose to cut back on it from time to time. They may want more flexibility in their diet or simply want to try something new for a while. The reason why you choose to go vegetarian matters less than how well you follow through on your decision:
Even if you end up eating chicken once every two weeks, if cutting it out entirely was an important part of your motivation then it will have been worthwhile (and perhaps easier) than if eating chicken was just an easy thing for you do anyway!
Do I need vitamin supplements?
If you follow a vegetarian diet, you may be curious about whether you need vitamin supplements. Many non-meat foods contain trace amounts of vitamin B12—mainly from bacteria in soil, fertilizer, or water (the same goes for most fruits and vegetables).
Unfortunately, for strict vegetarians who don’t eat any animal products at all (meats, dairy products, eggs), there aren’t many natural sources of B12.
These days it’s added to some breakfast cereals as well as soy milk. You can also buy nutritional yeast that contains natural B12 or take a supplement if your doctor recommends it.