My Top Tips for Vegetarians

Going veggie and vegan seems to be all the rage. This makes me thrilled being one myself.

It's wonderful to know that so many more people are choosing to reduce and avoid meat - great for the environment, for the animals themselves, for our hearts and bodies generally. As many of us know plant-based eating is super healthy and I'm loving every moment of it! But, there are potential nutritional deficits especially if people don't know where to look to ensure their protein, iron and certain vitamin and mineral needs are met. Through my own research and speaking with nutrition experts the following tips will ensure vegetarians get all the goodness their bodies need to grow and thrive. 

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?

I am asked this question so often and the answer is so simple: Fill your meals full of wholefoods like beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, protein-rich grains (quinoa and buckwheat), nut butters, tofu, dairy products and if needed protein powder.

The only potential problem with protein in plant-based eating is that there are not as many complete protein sources as in meat, but this is easily solved by combining different proteins together (e.g hummus and wholemeal pitta). Also foods such as chia/hemp seeds, buckwheat, and quinoa. Read more on this here.

HOW ABOUT OMEGA-3'S?

For a healthy heart, glowing skin and strong, smart mind, omega-3's are essential. Oily-fish (e.g salmon and tuna) are amongst the best sources. Thus said, foods like flax, chia seeds and walnuts are also good sources. See here.

 

WHAT ABOUT MINERALS + TRACE ELEMENTS?

Blood cells need iron to function at their best, it is very important to have some iron included on your everyday food intake (especially for girls). Red-meat is loaded with iron but there are plenty of veggie sources too -  including eggs, quinoa, lentils and oats.

Zinc is needed for the body's defensive immune system to work effectively. Legumes, nuts, seeds and oats are great sources.

GOTTA GET THOSE VITAMINS IN!

Living in Ireland (and Western Europe in general) experts recommend a Vitamin D supplement, especially during the darker winter months when we cant depend on the sun's rays for our vitamin D intake.  Seek advice from a qualified health practitioner for guidelines on how much to take.  Read more here.

Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, dairy, fortified soy products and other fortifies products. Vegetarians and vegans should take a B12 supplement.

Finally, by combining a varied range plant-based wholefoods, rich in the foods mentioned above, chances are you will get everytinhg your body needs to be at its best.

MY FAVE BLOGS FOR DELICIOUS VEGGIE RECIPES & NUTRITION TIPS INCLUDE:

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist or dietitian, but I am passionate about healthy wholefood eating and have interviewed many experts and researched the subject widely.  My mum is a dietitian and also helps me ensure I am eating the best foods for my body.

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