If you are completely new to the vegetarian lifestyle or you have been a vegetarian for years, this next topic may apply to you. Following any sort of diet, meat or plant-based, it should always be balanced for both mental and physical health.
If you are a meat eater and wish to reduce your meat intake, you could try being vegetarian during the week.
If you are a vegetarian and are still learning how to follow a healthy diet, here are some tips below that can help you get started.
Eating the Rainbow
It is easy to say that any healthy diet, meat or vegetarian, should include lots of fruits and vegetables. But as the saying goes, it is easier said than done.
When you think about just consuming fruits and vegetables, there are so many choices to choose from.
You may even find yourself consuming the same veggies every single time, which can get pretty boring for your taste buds. Just because some meals are healthy doesn’t mean they should be boring and flavorless, even healthy meals can be full of flavor and deliciousness.
To make it easier for you, think about this, any meal you consume should be colorful. In other words, eat the rainbow.
What does this mean?
We do not mean, eat Skittles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating the rainbow means that you should have color on your plate; a mix of both fruits and vegetables. This will help your diest stay varied, too.
Why not eat whole grain pasta or wild grain rice with some roasted carrots, zucchinis, red onions, yellow bell peppers, and some tomatoes to liven up your plate?
This will definitely add lots of nutrients to your plate and perhaps help you to try vegetables that you usually don't eat.
Lots of Greens
Like we mentioned before, the types of vegetables that exist are endless.
Some people are creatures of habit, while others want to explore new things, such as new types of food. One way to motivate yourself and continue with a healthy vegetarian diet is to try new vegetables.
This will encourage you to try new flavors and continue with your commitment to eating as many vegetables as possible in all of your meals.
If you want to start with baby steps, why not commit to eating dark green vegetables at least three times a week?
Green vegetables such as kale, spinach or collard greens are full of vitamins A, C, and K, iron, fiber and calcium.
There are many ways you can cook your green vegetables so that they are tasty and still healthy such as sautéing them with some olive oil and a bit of sea salt.
These could go great as a side or mixed in with other vegetables or whole-grain pasta. Another way you could still consume your daily intake of green vegetables is by adding them raw to your morning smoothie.
Kale or spinach could be great in a green smoothie with some almond milk, berries, and a banana. Green smoothies are easy to make and delicious to have in the mornings or as a mid-day snack.
One final great way to consume your green vegetables is by making yourself a delicious green salad.
There is no wrong way to make a salad. You have your leafy greens as a base, you can add your protein such as grilled or sautéed tofu, add your favorite veggies and top it off with some dried cranberries or nuts for a little crunch.
Any way you decide to have your green veggies is the right way, just as long as you have them often!
Find A Favorite Dressing
While on the same salad topic, what is one thing you cannot have a salad without? Dressing!
One way to motivate yourself to try new salads recipes is to keep your favorite salad dressing handy at home.
You can find new healthy salad dressings on your next grocery store run or even better, learn how to make them at home. Experiment with new, healthier recipes.
So, for the salad dressing! It may be hard to choose from the variety of salad dressings at the grocery store or you may not want to buy a whole bottle in case you don’t end up liking it.
Making your own salad dressing can be perfect the perfect way to experiment with new flavors little by little and to customize it to your liking.
It could also be healthier to make your own salad dressing limiting the amount of salt and sugar that may come with store-bought dressings.
Like we mentioned before, a salad can be composed of any of your favorite vegetables and even fruits!
Having a healthy salad for lunch or dinner will include a bed of some of your favorite leafy greens.
You can also add herbs to your salads to make them more flavorful. Some examples of herbs you can add to your salad are basil, coriander, parsley or dill.
When it comes to toppings, you can add some fruit such as dried cranberries, fresh strawberries or fresh grapefruit.
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Limit the Sugar
This leads us to our next healthy tip, reducing your refined sugar intake can help you stay healthier.
This tip should be for any type of diet, including a vegetarian diet. There are many sugar-filled food items that can be considered vegetarian, as there are no animal products in them, but again, a vegetarian diet does not automatically mean that you will be healthy.
Even as a vegetarian, you should always be conscious of what you are purchasing, cooking and consuming.
By being more conscious of what you eat on a daily basis, you can realize how much sugar there is in your diet.
Let's start with a simple one, your morning coffee. If you take your coffee black then you are off the hook. But not everyone drinks their coffee black. Some people enjoy adding cream or sugar, or both!
If you like adding sugar to your coffee, try swapping sugar with a healthier sweetener such as stevia, honey or maple syrup.
It will reduce your calories and keep you healthier.
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Increase the H2O
This next point is probably one you have already heard but are still not doing: staying hydrated!
Drinking plenty of water is crucial to any diet. Your body needs at least 2 liters of water a day in order to stay hydrated and healthy.
Drinking water has a large list of benefits such as lubricating your joints, helps flush body waste, maintains blood pressure, regulates body temperature, cushions the brain and spinal cord, boosts skin health, it boosts performance during a workout, prevents kidney damage and it delivers oxygen to the brain.
Our list can continue, but the above list should help you understand why drinking water is so important for everyday life.
One big advantage to lots of drinking water is that it can also prevent any unhealthy cravings! A good habit to practice is to drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. This helps wake your body up and helps your organs wake up to start the day.
A few tips to help you drink more water can be to purchase a reusable water bottle that you can take with you to the gym, work or while you are running errands.
It has become more common nowadays to have filtered water stations around stores, offices, and gyms, so you can fill your bottle up almost anywhere you go!
If you are still trying to make it a habit, why not add some fresh fruit to your chilled water such as strawberries, lemon wedges, cucumbers or fresh mint? This is a great way to flavor water if you find it too bland, just don’t add sugar or syrups!
By adding fresh fruit, your water will already be much tastier and you’ll be encouraged to drink more.