What are the choices for a balanced Healthy Vegetarian diet

Eating healthy while on vegetarian diet

If you are thinking about turning to vegetarianism or have been one, this post will help in planning a nutritionally adequate diet and the reason behind following one.

Research on diet which is plant-based has suggested that incidences of common diseases such as obesity, heart relate diseases and type 2 diabetes are much less in comparison to non-vegetarian diet. This is attributed to a vegetarian diet which is less saturated in fat and has more fibre, folate, antioxidants etc.

It has been proven that maintenance of normal body mass, composition, structure and function requires the periodic intake of water, energy substrates and specific nutrients. Balanced vegetarian diet may be designed according to individual needs for maintaining their body weight and provide an adequate caloric requirement for activity. These nutrients can be easily obtained by plants/herbs. Successful diet control requires significant degree of self- motivation and commitment to life style modification in the form of increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake. A normal person requires 25-30 kcal/kg daily. Caloric restriction to 500 to 1000 kcal/day less than a regular diet promotes weight loss but severe dieting leads to malnutrition and hence organ dysfunction

Basics around which daily diet needs to be planned are as below, but keep in mind that the key to every plannig is “Avoid negative emotions and depression”

Must Haves

  • Remember why you have chosen vegetarian diet instead of non-vegetarian diet
  • Loads of proteins
  • Increased intake of vegetables and fruits
  • Drink more water
  • Intermittent fasting – once per week
  • Schedule walking, jogging or dancing as per your choice
  • Monitor your progress on weight loss

Minimal Intake

  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Cut out on refined oils and carbohydrate to the minimum
  • Avoid junk food
  • Minimize soda or aerated drinks
  • Cut back on ultra-processed foods

Diet for Vegetarians

One should also have knowledge about the best foods recommended for burning fat or boosting immunity along with healthy nutrition

Healthy Vegetarian Diet:

  • Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pistachios are rich in monounsaturated fats, thus healthy for heart and more satisfying. They give lower abdominal fat, so can be used for munching.
  • Fruits and fresh green vegetables– all seasonal fruits and vegetables are healthy as they provide vitamins minerals and plant proteins.
  • Berries may be strawberries, black berries or raspberries. They are packed with fibre and antioxidants with less amount of sugar.
  • Peanut butter– Ideal to give feeling of fullness and satisfaction and improve blood flow throughout body.
  • Chickpeas (channa/chhole) – It contains plant based proteins and is full of fiber and minerals. It is antioxidant and boosts the immunity
  • Pumpkin– It contains more fiber than quinoa and more potassium than banana.
  • Peas– It contains proteins, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and iron. These nutrients aid in counterbalancing sodium and helps oxygenation of blood cells.
  • Avocados– Its regular use gives lower waist circumference and BMI
  • Bananas– Rich source of potassium, magnesium and lots of plant based prebiotics.
  • Coffee and green tea– They increased the mobility of gastro-intestinal tract (gut) and keep the tummy tight. Taking 8 to 16 ounces of java tea can help stay healthy and slim. Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, it is always better to skip flavouring syrups and synthetic sweeteners.
  • Asparagus is prebiotics filled vegetable and can be added to soups, pasta and omelettes or it may be served as side dish
  • Salad stapes like carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers can keep you hydrated
  • Citrus fruits contains ample of vitamin C and its potassium combat bloating while its antioxidants fight with inflammation.
  • Alliums (non-green vegetable) like onion, garlic, ginger provide prebiotic fibres and can be used to savoury dishes.
  • Herbs and spices like coriander, basil, fenugreek, mint, spinach, black or red pepper, are rich source of minerals, add flavour to dishes.
  • Beans and lentils are filled with fiber and plant based proteins and minerals and vitamin B. They reduce bloating and helps to build lean body mass.
  • Whole grains like white, barley, brown rice, quinoa, and corn can provide high fibre diet.
  • Dairy– A cup of low fat milk, skim mozzarella sticks of half cup of low sodium cottage cheese are healthy for breakfast. Unsweetened plain yoghurt is very healthy.
  • Oats and seeds of chia, sunflower, pumpkin, flex seeds etc. help to boost the immune system.
  • Fermented foods contain probiotics and these bacteria boost immunity, regulate gut function and banish bloat
  • Fibres regulate the speed of digestion and contribute to satiety. Men under 50 years should eat about 38 gm of fiber daily and women should consume 25 gm. Men over 50 years should reduce their fibre diet to 30 gm daily and women should reduce it to 21 gm daily.

Be happy and enjoy your planned diet whole heartily, if unable to plan your diet yourself, do
not hesitate to approach nearby dietician.

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