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Healthy Vegetarian Meals

Everything you eat can and will leave its effect on your body in the long run and therefore, it is important for you to make the right dietary and lifestyle choices, right from the beginning. Health experts also generally urge people to follow a diet that is high in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals, nuts, seeds and low fat dairy products. However, most of us tend to consume a higher quantity of meat and meat products, especially when we are consuming fast food or takeaway dinners. While there are certain benefits that are associated with the consumption of certain types of meat, an excess of it can be harmful for the body, since meat is very high in protein and can lead to several health problems, some of which include high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and so on. This could be one of the factors that have caused people to consume a higher amount of vegetarian meals.

In fact there are several people who have decided to turn vegetarian, or at least become part time vegetarians, where they do not consume meat and meat products a couple of times a week. However, in some countries, people do find seafood, or notice that the food is cooked in fish oil even when they order vegetarian meals. This is mainly due to the fact that there is still a lot of confusion about what exactly vegetarianism is and what are the foods that can be consumed by those who are strict vegetarians.

Vegetarianism actually refers to the practice of following a diet that is totally free of any form of meat. Hence, even the most delicious vegetarian diet meals will be totally devoid of meat, seafood and poultry. There are several vegetarians who do not even consume eggs. People who eliminate dairy and dairy products from their diet, in addition to meat and eggs, are known as vegans, and their diet is called a vegan diet. This eating choice has become the preferred style of living, for many men, women and children around the world. Several people are vegetarians right from the beginning, whereas others make the change at different points in their lives. While the most common factors that prompt people to remain or become vegetarian are religious sentiments and humanitarian grounds, there are several others, who decide to give up the consumption of meat and meat products because of better health, preservation of natural resources, economic reasons or simply, personal preferences. This lifestyle preference has become so common in the United States too, several diet plans have come up with a vegetarian variant, just so that they can reach out to a larger number of people.

However, being a vegetarian does not mean that you need to spend hours in the kitchen just to prepare a few simple vegetarian meals. In fact, vegetarian food, such as vegetables, whole grains and cereals, usually cook faster than meat products do. Therefore, most people find it a lot more convenient to whip up easy vegetarian meals, as compared to those with meat. Moreover, there are several recipes on vegetarian meals for beginners that are easily available through cookbooks and other online resources.

Vegetarian Meals for Kids

It is hardly surprising for children to favor food with meat in it, especially sausages, burgers, chicken nuggets and so on. However, there are several vegetarian recipes that are not only child friendly, but are also quite easy to prepare. The most important thing is that these foods are highly nutritious, which is why they should be added to every child’s diet, even those who are not vegetarian. Given below are a few ideas on vegetarian healthy meals for children that can be added to any child’s diet:

  • Homemade bean burritos
  • Couscous with vegetables and spaghetti sauce
  • Cheesy cheddar potato boats with broccoli or zucchini
  • Peanut butter and noodles
  • Burgers made with soybean patties
  • Pizzas on whole wheat bread, with mushrooms, corn and olives
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Tacos with vegetable and cheese
  • Angel hair pasta, with vegetables
  • Fresh fruit salad with custard

Quick Vegetarian Meals

When it comes to quick and healthy vegetarian meals, most of us restrict our choices to salad. However, while salads are an excellent way to consume raw vegetables, you can get tired of eating them after a while. Moreover, it is a better idea for you to add a bowl of fresh veggie salad to your meal, instead of making a meal out of the salad. Given below are a few idea on great vegetarian meals that are quick and easy to prepare:

  • Quesadillas with low fat cheese and fresh or left over vegetables
  • Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato (ALT) sandwiches
  • Nachos topped with kidney beans, olives, corn, pepper  and low fat cheese
  • Asian tofu stir fry with vegetables
  • Eggplant burgers on whole wheat bread
  • Stuffed pita bread with hummus
  • Artichoke soup
  • Carrot and onion quiche
  • American Chop Suey with tofu and bok choy

High protein vegetarian meals

One of the biggest fears of most people contemplating vegetarianism is that they may not get an adequate intake of protein. This is one of the main reasons that several parents discourage their kids from becoming vegetarian. However, there are numerous sources of protein that are plant based and therefore can be included in a vegetarian diet. Given below are a few ideas for high protein vegetarian meals:

  • Three bean chili
  • Nachos topped with beans and cheese
  • Greek salad with olives, tomatoes, tofu and cheese
  • Burgers made with soybean patties
  • Black bean enchiladas
  • Whole wheat vegetarian lasagna
  • Shepard’s pie, made with soy meat, instead of beef
  • Tempeh sweet and sour
  • Tofu nuggets

Low carb vegetarian meals

Animal products are devoid of carbohydrates, which is why those who are on a high protein or low carb diet usually eat high quantities of lean meat and seafood. However, there are a few low fat vegetarian meals that are not only low in calories, but also in carbohydrates. These foods mainly contained two ingredients, which include soy products and textured vegetable protein. Given below are a few ideas on vegetarian meals that are low in carbs:

  • Scrambled tofu, with spinach
  • Tempeh hash browns
  • Burgers made with soybean patties and whole wheat bread

Vegan meals:

A vegan diet is different from a vegetarian’s because people who are vegan eliminate all animal products from their diet, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy (except soy milk), gelatin, rennet and even honey. Though it is not difficult to prepare easy vegan meals, it is important to check the recipes carefully. Given below are a few recipes for vegan meals:

  • Sloppy Joes made with tempeh
  • Tofu scramble, with spinach, chipotle and jalapenos
  • Guacamole and salsa with organic corn chips
  • Vegetarian chili with beans, tomatoes and onions
  • Soba noodles, with peanut sauce
  • Indian style chickpeas
  • Vegetarian paella
  • Burgers made from grilled tofu patties
  • Barbequed tempeh skewers
  • Mushrooms and asparagus risotto

There are several vegetarian meals recipes that are easily available through online resources or cookbooks. You could choose to prepare vegetarian meals for one, two people or even a group of people, through such resources. The ideas for the quick, healthy and low calorie vegetarian meals mentioned above are fairly safe, as long as they are followed correctly. However, it is best for people to check with a doctor before using any of them, especially in the case of those who are elderly. People who suspect that they may suffer from food intolerances or allergies should also get an approval from a doctor before adding even the best vegetarian meals to their daily diet. In spite of the fact that vegetarianism and veganism are followed by millions of people around the world, it is important for people to consult a doctor and get a go ahead, before making any switch overs.

Submitted on January 16, 2014