Four Tips for Healthy Living on a Vegetarian Diet
Here are a few healthy diet tips for people who adhere to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet:
Get Enough Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient, and is just as important for vegetarians as it is for omnivores. As a vegetarian, though, you will likely have to work just a little bit harder to meet your body's requirement of it than you would if you consumed meat. Faux-meat products have become increasingly common in the past decade and can now be found at most mainstream grocery retail locations. Eggs, low-sodium beans, and low- or non-fat dairy products such as Greek yogurt and cottage cheese should be on every lacto-ovo vegetarian's menu. If you wish to increase your protein intake, whey and casein powders should be on your grocery list. Most of these powders contain 20-30 grams of the nutrient per serving, making them a fantastic per-serving value.
Take Your Vitamins
Everyone should take some sort of once-a-day multivitamin, and vegetarians are no different. Even if you take a multivitamin, you may still need to obtain some nutrients, vitamins and minerals found almost exclusively in meat—for example, vitamin B12—through the use of special supplements. These supplements can generally be found at your local grocery store or pharmacy, and will not break the bank. There is no excuse for not taking something as inexpensive and essential as a multivitamin.
Eat the Right Types of Carbs
Being a vegetarian does not give you the license to eat whatever non-meat product you wish, at least, not if you aim to keep your waistline slim and your body's internal systems functioning properly. Processed and refined sugar should be avoided almost entirely, although it is certainly permissible to treat yourself once in a while. Other than those rare occasions, your carbs should come from oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta and bagels, quinoa, lentils and low-sodium beans (preferably not baked or refried). You should eat fresh fruit sparingly and should avoid exceeding two or three servings of it per day.
Eat Good Fats and Avoid Saturated Fats
Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not cause people to become overweight. However, eating too much of the wrong kind of fat—the saturated kind—will have this effect. Saturated fat is most commonly found in fried foods such as French fries and onion rings. However, it is also found in dairy products such as butter, ice cream, heavy cream, half-and-half, cheese, and dark chocolate. You should minimize your intake of these foods, although some of them are offered in low- or non-fat iterations. Unlike their full-fat counterparts, these low- or non-fat alternatives are acceptable for regular consumption. Most of the fat in your diet should come from sources of unsaturated fat such as olives and olive oil, nuts and nut butters.
If you adhere to your healthy diet at least 90 percent of the time, you will continue to see positive results. Best of luck in your health and fitness endeavors!