Will to better control what we put on our plates, cost of living, militant ecological act, various reasons can push you to transform your consumption habits. But how can you change your menus at all?
Life is expensive, and eating food costs a fortune. It’s quite natural that small budgets gradually eliminate meat and fish from their diet. Intensive livestock farming has a huge ecological impact on the planet, leading more and more people to review their consumption patterns. Eating vegetarian means taking an interest in the balance of one’s meals, which is generally a good thing
But when you want to consume less or even more meat, how do you do it? We’ll share our research with you.
Eating vegetarian, eating a balanced diet
Today, nearly 80% of the proteins consumed are of animal origin, whereas a century ago, 80% were of plant origin, according to a 2002 report by the WHO (World Health Organization) and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). This shows that meat and fish are not the only sources of protein and that, in fact, a vegetarian diet does not present any risk of deficiencies.
In fact, studies even tend to show that vegetarians tend to be healthier. This seems rather natural, as a vegetarian is likely to place more emphasis on balanced meals by eating more fruits and vegetables, cereals and legumes.
The main precepts of the vegetarian diet
You will alternate between different food categories
The basis of a balanced diet, whether vegetarian or not, is the variety of foods. It is therefore necessary to alternate cereals, vegetables, fruits, legumes, fats throughout the day and to vary the foods for each category. Not only is it good for your health, but also for your appetite.
Foods of good nutritional quality you will choose
It is always best to choose fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables and avoid industrially processed foods, which have few or no micronutrients. Avoid prepared or refined products (white sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oils, trans fatty acids, etc.).
Nuts and seeds you’ll discover
Peanuts (nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, etc.) and seeds (sunflower, flax, squash, sesame, etc.) contain essential fatty acids (proteins, B vitamins, vitamin E, etc.) and are therefore interesting from a nutritional point of view. You should consume between 30 and 60 g per day in all their forms (spreads, oils, etc.).
You can’t overindulge in eggs
Just because you take meat out of your diet doesn’t mean you should eat an egg at every meal. Eggs are full of protein, vitamins (A, D, B12) and iron, but you shouldn’t overdo it because they are bad for your cholesterol level. You can eat up to two eggs a week, but no more!
Cereals and tubers you will vary
Cereals (pasta, rice, wheat, etc.) and tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, etc.) are the primary source of protein for vegetarians. They should be eaten 2 to 3 servings a day. Choose whole grains that are rich in carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Legumes you’ll like
Legumes (such as chickpeas, peas, beans, lentils or soybeans) are rich in protein and you need to consume between 1 and 2 servings a day. You can also vary with protein foods (i.e. alternatives to meat) (50 to 150 g per day).
Vegetable oils and fats you will prefer
Your body needs fat, but again, you need to vary it. Choose vegetable oils of organic origin from first cold pressing (2 to 4 tablespoons per day).
Of fruits and vegetables you will gorge yourself
Vegetables are fundamental to the vegetarian diet. You should consume at least 400g of them, or three servings a day. Always choose fresh, seasonal vegetables. Buying them directly from the growers is even better.
Dairy products you will not neglect
Dairy products have a place in the vegetarian diet. You can add up to 250g of milk or yoghurt per day or up to 50g of cheese per day to your diet.
You will quench your thirst with water.
A balanced diet needs water. No more sodas and sugary drinks, instead 1 or even 2 litres of water per day.
And how do I find recipes?
There are plenty of vegetarian recipes on the net. We recommend Vegémiam, whose photos are always very, very desirable. Be careful, it will make you hungry!
Now you can slowly switch to a vegetarian diet or “flexitarism”, which consists of eating vegetarian food most of the time while giving yourself a carnivorous diet from time to time (for Sunday meals at grandma’s it’s more convenient).
And don’t forget that in order to be in good health you also need to be active every day. 30 minutes of walking a day is already a good start, isn’t it?