Many people follow a vegetarian diet plan for several reasons pertinent to religion, culture or ethnicity. Still others opt for a vegan diet plan, in order to stay healthy or lose weight or due to medical conditions. Regardless of the reason, the most important factor in a vegetarian meal plan is the nutrient content.
Proper planning and study is vital to ensure that a variety of vegetarian food groups are included to fulfill all the nutrition demands of your body. If you have decided to become a vegetarian, there are several things to consider and several facts to learn. We shall discuss these in the following paragraphs.
Types of Vegetarian Diets
A vegetarian diet plan can be classified into three types namely, Vegan Diet, Lacto-Vegetarian Diet and Lacto-ovo-vegetarian Diet. Apart from these, a few people follow a flexitarian diet. The classifications are described below:
- Vegan Diet: It leaves out meat, fish, poultry, egg and dairy-based products. It also leaves out foods based on meat, fish, poultry or egg.
- Lacto-vegetarian Diet: This type of diet leaves out meat, fish, poultry and eggs, plus food products based on them. But it includes dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian Diet: this diet leaves out meat, fish and poultry. But it includes both eggs and dairy-based products.
- Flexitarian Diet: It is basically a plant-based diet plan. However, the person following this diet consumes meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products occasionally or in meager quantities.
How to Stick to a Vegetarian Diet Plan
It is not easy to shift from a meat-eating lifestyle to a vegan diet habit. This is because you may find it hard to locate suitable meal options and varieties. However, there are several ways to succeed in your venture, though it will take some time and effort on your part. Given below are a few tips on how to stick to your veggie meal plan:
- Join vegetarian groups online and get ideas about recipes and foods to include in your day-to-day diet.
- Be cautious and patient with your friends who are non-vegetarians, as they may try to convince you into eating meat again.
- Search on the Internet for good vegetarian restaurants to determine their menus and walk in to them once in a while.
- Collect a lot of vegetarian recipes so that you don’t have to get bored with repetitive meals.
- Drink sufficient water for proper utilization of the nutrients and to maintain peak performance of your bodily organs.
What about the Nutrients not Available in Vegetarian Foods?
You can include supplements to get nutrients that are otherwise found only in non-vegetarian foods. This pertains to calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega3 fatty acids. The usual source of calcium is dairy products, but you can opt for greens and fortified foods to include in your vegetarian meal diet.
Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products, but you can use multivitamin supplements or fortified soymilk or Plant Based Meats to meet the requirement. Vitamin D can be obtained by spending some time under sunlight and by consuming supplements or fortified drinks. Omega3 fatty acids are generally obtained from fish, though you can include alternative foods like almonds, cloves, flax and walnuts.