What Is a Vegetarian Diet?

Large Greek salad

Whether you’re considering changing your diet to vegetarian or not, there is a lot you can learn from the meatless lifestyle. A vegetarian diet is much more balanced when done properly and can contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than the typical American fare. Here are some of the main food groups that the vegetarian diet includes.

It’s no surprise that the vegetarian diet contains a wide variety of vegetables. This is mainly due to the carbohydrate content as well as the diverse flavors that can be extracted from these food items.

Everything from squash to asparagus to lettuce and carrots is fair game for vegetarians. Some like to include avocados especially because they contain filling monounsaturated fats which are healthy for the heart. Vegetables juices are a nice alternative to fruit juices and vegetables can be made into almost any meal.

Fruits As Part of The Vegetarian Diet

Just like vegetables, fruits are a staple of a vegetarian diet. Not only is there a diverse collection of flavors and textures, but they also make great desserts and surprising additions to a number of dishes. A spaghetti sauce with pineapple can be a great way to change the boring to something exciting, while you can also use lemons in a number of seasonings – garlic is a great addition to lemon based sauces and marinades.

Non-Dairy Products

When the vegetarian diet doesn’t include any dairy products, there are a number of ways to substitute. These include soy based milks, rice milks, almond milks, nut milks, and more. These milks are also used to make many tasty cheese-like products as well as creamed cheese items. These milk alternatives contain just as much calcium for growing bones and can come in a variety of flavors.

Meatless Options For Vegetarians

The vegetarian diet can also have a number of meatless options to choose from. Tofu is one of the stereotypical foods found in vegetarian diets, though it’s not always the most liked. It can be grilled, chopped up and put into stir fry, and even baked. When tofu is frozen and thawed, it can have the same texture as some crumbled cheeses as well.

There are also a number of soy based products on the market that simulate the taste and the texture of meat and chicken. There are even meatless hot dogs and sausages that are particularly delicious. Beans and legumes are an important way for vegetarians to include more protein as well.

Whole Grains As Part of The Vegetarian Diet

Things like whole grain pastas and regular grains are great ways to add more fiber to a vegetarian diet, while also allowing you to make traditional dishes meatless. By combining oatmeal and some vegetables, you can make vegetable patties for the grill. You can even make veggie loafs that are delicious and nutritious.

The vegetarian diet doesn’t need to be boring in order to be healthy. In fact, because you tend to use different ingredients than you would have in a meat filled diet, you usually are more creative with your flavorings and make more satisfying dishes.

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