The decision to change to a vegetarian diet is one that many people make for many different reasons. For some, the decision is made to protect animals from harm. Others might make the decision for religious or cultural reasons. Still others make the decision to go vegetarian because their bodies do not respond well to meat, or because they just do not like the taste of it. Whatever the reason might be, many vegetarians are looking for ways to get the protein, iron, and other nutrients they are missing by not eating meat. Fortunately, all of these nutrients can be found in non-meat items, and there are many healthy recipes that are great substitutes for meat.
Protein is one of the main nutrients in meat, and vegetarians need protein just as much as anybody else does. There are many healthy recipes that are packed with protein that contain no meat at all. One of the best sources of protein is eggs. Eggs are packed with protein and can be eaten just plain on their own, or can be made into a number of fantastic meals. Omelettes are a great meal for any time of the day – there’s no need to restrict them to just breakfast! Add some veggies, cheese, and seasonings and you have a protein-packed meal. If you are vegan and do not eat eggs, nuts and legumes are a great way to get protein as well. Nuts can be eaten as a snack, or can be incorporated into a number of healthy recipes. Try grilled veggies in a spicy peanut sauce for dinner. Legumes also contain a high amount of protein. Try lentils with couscous for a rich, tasty way to get all the protein you need.
Most people associate iron with red meat, but this is not the only place to get it. Vegetarians can get all the iron they need, from dark green vegetables. Spinach especially is packed with iron. Try hollowing out a tomato or green pepper, stuffing it spinach and feta cheese, and baking it in the oven. Sundried tomatoes are also a great source of iron, and can be added to a number of salads or other healthy recipes. Try adding sundried tomatoes to a Greek salad – olives are also very high in iron, so the combination is ideal. Many dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, currants, and coconuts also contain high amounts of iron, so you can actually get your daily dose of iron during dessert too!
There are many healthy recipes that contain protein, iron, and other nutrients without containing any meat. As a vegetarian, it is important that you keep your diet balanced and find ways to get all of the vitamins and minerals that most people get from meat. Eating only vegetables can have health benefits as long as you find ways to meet all of your nutritional needs, including the ones that you would normally rely on meat for. Eating dark green vegetables, as well as eggs, nuts, and legumes will help you to achieve all of the balance you need in your vegetarian diet.
This article was written by Geraldo Chantos on behalf of JennyCanCook.com, Jenny has great recipes on nutritional dishes, soups and salads, dinner rolls, pizzas and chocolate cakes. Jenny’s recipes have been published in various newspaper columns as well as Redbook Magazine, Woman’s world and her cook book collections are over 300. To know the five healthy factors to consider on what to eat or drink, visit livestrong.com