We live in a country that largely consists of vegetarians. Eating a balanced diet when you are a vegetarian requires a little extra attention just to make up for the important nutrients that come from non-vegetarian foods like fish, egg and meat. However, with good planning and an understanding of what makes up a balanced vegetarian diet, we can get all the nutrition that our body needs minus the meat. Nutritionist Neha Chandna shares a few diet tips for vegetarians.
How to get your protein intake
If you are a vegetarian and eat your share of meatless meals, here is how can make up for the necessary proteins. You can combine cereals and pulses with each other. For example, you can complement rice with dal (lentil) or idli with sambhar. This will complete the amino acid profile and get your body the required nutrition. Also include sprouts, whole pulses, yoghurt, milk, paneer and quinoa to meet your protein needs.
How to increase iron intake
Vegetarian foods are good sources of iron but their absorption rate in the body differs. What one can do is add lemon to iron-rich foods to increase their uptake in the body. Consuming poha (flattened rice) with a dash of lemon or beet juice with a spoon of lemon juice is a good way of incorporating iron in the body. Garden cress seeds or halim seeds are also a great source of iron which can be eaten with milk, salads or juices.
How to get calcium
Dairy products like butter, milk, yoghurt and cheese are the best sources of calcium in diet. Vegetarians can also get calcium from plant-based sources like broccoli and beans. Plant-based calcium sources contain vitamins C and K and the minerals potassium and magnesium which are important for bone health.
Dos and Donâ€™ts for vegetarians
Healthy vegetarian diet chart by Nutritionist Neha Chandna
Breakfast: Poha with Moong/Vegetable idli + Sambhar/Oats upma
Mid morning: Fruit + Nuts
Lunch: Salad + Roti + Veggies + Dal + Yogurt/Chaas
Evening: Sprouts/Chana kurmura
Dinner: Soups + Veggies + Roti
Studies confirm that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and grains is your best bet for living a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life. These findings are backed up by the China Health Project.