Eating a vegetarian diet can vastly improve the health of some people. Most people can at least benefit from including more vegetarian foods in their diets. Consuming a vegetarian diet is not as complicated as it may seem initially; there are plenty of healthy, easy meals available that do not involve meat. Protein-rich foods such as beans, whole grains and nuts can provide similar textures to meat and also the bulk of calories, while vegetables and fruits contain many key vitamins and minerals.
There are a wide variety of breakfast options for vegetarians. Fig and flax oatmeal is one option. It consists of rolled oats, dried figs, flaxseed, skim or soy milk, water and honey. Another healthy option for breakfast is an herbed cheese and tomato bagel. This meal uses a low-fat cottage cheese, chopped chives, chopped parsley, chopped basil, a small, toasted whole-grain bagel and two thick tomato slices.
Lunch options for vegetarians vary from hearty soups and salads to sandwiches and burritos. One includes bean tacos with lettuce, tomato and applesauce with cinnamon for dessert. Another option is tofu and spinach spread on whole-wheat toast or crackers, with a side of potato salad and an apple. Yet another choice would be vegan chili with cornbread and homemade coleslaw with crushed pineapple.
Dinners and lunches can easily be exchanged in a vegetarian diet. Examples of vegetarian dinners from the book, "The Dietitians Guide to Vegetarian Diets" by Reed Mangels include vegetable fajitas with zucchini, carrots, peppers and onions in soft corn tortillas, with a side of black beans, a tossed salad and a fresh fruit cocktail. Another choice would be pasta primavera with broccoli, carrots and pea pods, steamed kale and French bread. Fresh dates with walnuts can be eaten for dessert.
There are a plethora of snacks that are both vegetarian and are healthier than their meat counterparts. Easy veggie snacks include carrots dipped in hummus or an apple with peanut or almond butter. Frankie Avalon Wolfe, in the book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian," also lists smoothies, raw nuts, seeds and dried fruit as options. Leftovers from breakfast, lunch or dinner can also work as good snacks.
- The Flexitarian Diet; Dawn Jackson Blatner
- Vegan Handbook; Debra Wasserman
- The Dietitians Guide to Vegetarian Diets; Reed Mangels
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian; Frankie Avalon Wolfe