As the start of summer is drawing ever closer (isn’t the weather glorious!?) it’s time to make a fresh start!
Have you ever considered ditching the meat in favour of a tasty veggie diet?
Closer Online believe more people should take the time to discover the possibilities and benefits of vegetarian cooking.
It’s not all lettuce leaves and carrot sticks you know!
From tasty morsels for sharing at barbecues and picnics, through to everyday meals for friends and families, or cheap meals for under a fiver – vegetarian food has something for everyone!
In the meantime, brush up on your nutrient know-how with myth-busting facts about a balanced vegetarian diet...
* Research has shown that vegetarians are no more prone to iron deficiency than meat-eaters.
* Even those who do eat meat get a whopping 86% of their iron from vegetarian sources.
* Iron is found in leafy green vegetables, pulses, wholemeal bread, dried fruit and pumpkin seeds
MUSCLE BUILDING PROTEIN
* We need eight different types of amino acid – the building blocks of protein. Most veggie sources don’t include all eight but don’t worry- your body keeps a pool of the amino acids it needs. So just eat a variety of different high protein food throughout the week.
* Good protein sources are pulses (beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas) nuts, seeds, grains, dairy products and eggs!
* Find Vitamin A in carrots, spinach, peppers, watercress, and apricots.
* Find Vitamin B12 in eggs, dairy products and fortified plant foods, breakfast cereals, and herbal soft drinks.
* Catch up with your Vitamin D intake in dairy products. It’s also produced by the action of sunlight on the skin!
FRESHEN UP YOUR INGREDIENTS!
Liven up your dishes and try out some different ingredients!
Avocado and artichokes – Dive into new fruit and veg! Avocado is great mashed with chips, used in veggie sushi or made into guacamole. Artichokes are fabulous on pizzas, in risottos and tossed into salads! There’s no end of possibilities!
Tofu - As well as having a high protein content, tofu also contains calcium, iron, and vitamins B1, B2 and B3. Tofu can be marinated, stir-fried, deep-fried, sautéed, cubed and oven roasted with herbs. Once cooked and flavoured it can be added to salads or casseroles.
Spinach - Fresh, tinned or frozen its all good stuff. A good source of iron. Throw it into curries, salads or pasta dishes
Lentils – A cheap tasty ingredient, ignore the past jibes lentils have suffered and use in dhal, puy lentils in salads, green lentils in lasagna and soups.
Veggie mince – Veggie alternatives to mince, sausages and burgers are well established in the market place, and are usually made from tofu, soya, pea or wheat protein or mycoprotein. Use in a traditional shepherds pie, chilli or BBQ.
Chickpeas – Tinned varieties are convenient and quick. They soak up herbs and spices beautifully – making a speedy nutritious curry or main ingredient in houmous with lemon and garlic.
Herbs and spices - Stock up your cupboard with lovely herbs and spices - Cumin, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, basil and sage will all add another dimension to your cooking!