The Vegetarian Balancing Act
Eating balanced meals is a struggle whether you are under diet restrictions or not. The problem is that our bodies crave simple carbohydrates more that complex ones. We get used to eating fatty food instead of more nutritious options. That right there is the key. Whatever you are used to is what you will want to eat. If you eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast every day for several months, it will be difficult to eat yogurt and cereal and be satisfied. On a vegetarian diet, the balancing can be even more difficult because the options are more
limited. A vegetarian needs to consume the same amount of protein and every other nutrient that a non vegetarian does. Following are a few tips on how to keep balance in your vegetarian diet.
Make a Chart
Before you have a good handle on how to stack up individual foods into meals and add those meals up into a full day of balanced nutrition, it will help to write everything down. List the foods you have available to you and chart their respective nutritive values. For example, find the nutrition information for apples, oranges, carrots, avocados, bagels, sandwich bread, cheese, and veggie burgers. By including foods from the various food groups, you will be able to recognize which ones will provide which vitamins and minerals. The next step is to simply choose foods from the chart that will combine into a nutritious meal plan.
Mix It Up
After you have established both the nutritional value of each of many foods as well as your own nutritional needs, you will be ready to start preparing balanced meals for yourself. You will be surprised at how many protein foods you need to include. If you find that there aren't enough on your list to keep eating interesting, it's time to add some more. As you reference your chart to make meals, you will quickly become familiar with the combinations that make for nutritious and balanced meals. That knowledge will allow you to mix and match your meals quickly and easily. The best way to achieve balanced nutrition is to eat a variety of foods throughout the day. An educated vegetarian eater will be even more inclined to choose colorful fruits and vegetables to include in their regular meals.
Charting may seem restrictive at first, but unless you already have a solid understanding of your nutritional needs on a vegetarian diet, you should use some concrete method to make sure you are including everything your body needs in each of your meals. Charting will also familiarize you with fat and cholesterol contents in the foods you regularly eat. You will be able to keep track of where you are on the counts and therefore decide if you should have dessert tonight, or if you can afford to have two servings of dessert tonight. Knowing what you are eating is a powerful tool towards good health. Many people choose a vegetarian diet to improve health anyway. Don't you want to make sure you are doing all you can for healthy living?
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