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Nutrition

Five ways to eat vegetarian


A few simple steps to make the move to a veggie-based diet

Eating vegetarian has a range of health and environmental benefits. Switching to a veggie-based diet can be daunting, but there are some simple steps you can follow to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients, while keeping cooking interesting.

1. Eat a variety of fruit and veg


Aim to eat five 80g portions of a ‘rainbow’ of fruit and veg a day to give you enough vitamins and minerals. These can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced, but should contain fibre to help aid digestion and prevent constipation.
Try experimenting with exotic veggies or new recipes to keep things interesting!

2. Base your meals on starchy carbs


Starchy foods like pasta, bread and potatoes should make up just over a third of your diet and should be wholegrain if possible.
These kinds of foods will give you energy and are the main source of a range of nutrients, containing fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins. You could also try giving meaty meals such as chilli or Bolognese a veggie makeover.

3. Remember your calcium


Milk products such as cheese and yoghurt are a good source of protein, calcium and vitamins A and B12. Choose low-fat and low-sugar options for extra health benefits. Dairy substitutes such as fortified unsweetened soya, rice and oat drinks also contain calcium and are healthier options.

4. Find sources of protein


Foods such as beans, peas and lentils are a low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and are essential when cutting out meat or fish. Various nuts and seeds can also be a good source of protein.

5. Be patient


Try going vegetarian gradually by removing one type of meat at a time or by eating veggie two days a week and working up from there. Making too many big changes at once can increase your chances of giving up!