Healthy Eating Tips for Vegetarians
TIPS FOR VEGETARIANS
If not all the family is vegetarian, keep a supply of bought -or homemade if you prefer – vegetable burgers and sausages to serve when others have hamburgers or meat dishes. Put them in a bun, or dish up with salads or vegetables.
Ensuring a good supply of vitamin B12
You’ll need to take vitamin B12 as a supplement if you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t eat much dairy produce or if you follow a vegan diet which excludes animal products completely. Buy the tablets from a chemist or health food shop.
Combine two or more protein foods in each meal and you’ll get a better balance of amino acids (the building blocks of body proteins) than if you eat only one at a time. Lentil soup and wholemeal bread is a good mix; or cooked, dried beans and rice; or a jacket potato with cheese.
To pep up a vegetarian meal and add crunchiness and flavour, you can’t beat seeds. Sprinkle sunflower, sesame, pumpkin or other favourites on almost anything, sweet or savoury. Salads, breads, soups, casseroles and even cakes taste particularly good this way, and you’ll be giving yourself an extra source of protein.
Walnuts, cashews and other nuts are a high – protein replacement for meat in dishes such as lasagne.
Seventy grammes (2-1/2oz) of nuts provides the same protein as 100g (3-1/2oz) of beef. Combine the nuts with colourful vegetables such as green and red peppers, tomatoes and courgettes, to make a nutritious main dish.
Full of beans
Dried beans and other pulses such as peas and lentils are economical, versatile and rich in protein. Use them fresh or dried (soak them for a few hours first), or even tinned when you don’t have time to cook. If other members of the family are meat-eaters you can save time by preparing the vegetables and seasonings first for dishes such as soups, stews and curries, then dividing them into two parts and adding meat to one and beans to the other.
CAUTION – Kidney beans can be poisonous if not properly prepared. To cook them safely, boil hard for ten minutes, pour off the water and simmer until soft in freshwater.
Snacks and sandwiches
Marmite and cheese aren’t the only options for vegetarians. Try experimenting with new combinations; for example: mashed avocado with lemon juice; peanut butter and banana; grated carrot, raisins and mayonnaise; soft cheese and walnuts; scrambled egg with mushrooms and tomatoes; cottage cheese with chopped dates.