Sam Cranny-Evans is back with some more brilliant nutrition and fitness advice. This week Eevee’s resident personal trainer covers healthy eating for vegetarians…
So maybe you’ve recently read an article about eating healthily and that particular author placed a heavy emphasis on eating animals, meat and fish – things with a face? Maybe you’re one of a growing population of people who are, for various different reasons, repulsed by the idea of eating animals. If so, this article will help you. On the other hand if you’re not a vegetarian…well read on anyway, there’s bound to be something useful.
In my previous article on healthy eating I covered some basic facts; fruit can make you fat, eat lots of leafy greens, avoid processed foods, healthy saturated fats are good, and eat more protein. To a vegetarian, the above list may present a few problems – for example, fruit might make up quite a large portion of your diet. So how do you achieve nutritional balance as a vegetarian? Well the rules are pretty much the same – increase your protein count, eat more leafy greens and reduce your intake of starchy processed carbohydrates.
The protein factor is a major concern. Protein is more important than most people realise, as it’s used to make the inner and outer shells of all of our body’s cells – including the ones in your brain. Your hair, nails and skin are all made of proteins. The inner structure of your bones – a soft rubbery material known as “spongy bone” – as well as your bone marrow is also made of protein. Finally, a good portion of your daily protein is broken down into enzymes which are used to digest and transport food or create new cells. This list is far from exhaustive and has already covered some essential bodily functions which keep you alive.
The best sources of protein are complete in all of the 9 essential amino acids which are used most often. Unfortunately, the best sources are all animal products. There are ways around this however (and no it’s not protein shakes) for example, mixing rice and peas together creates a complete protein, and there are about 9 grams of protein per 75 grams of cooked rice. A good sized serving of organic cheddar cheese can also contain up to 25 grams of protein per 100 grams, as well as a brain strengthening level of saturated fats. Meanwhile there are 72 grams of protein in 4 pints of milk – along with a healthy dose of calcium. To create good proteins, a vegetarian diet usually requires a combination of several products, so mixing rice with any lentil or bean is a great option. Three bean salads are also strong candidates, as are nuts and seeds. However, dieting vegetarians should be careful with nuts due to their high level of calories.
How much protein should you consume every day? Well I think everybody should aim for at least 55 grams a day. And those who take part in strenuous physical activity on a regular basis should strive to consume at least 1 gram of protein per kilogramme of body weight every day. This covers protein, a massive topic and one which rightfully should prompt interest amongst us all. Follow my articles on Eevee Life to discover more about leading a healthy meat free life, the coming articles will discuss healthy snacking for vegetarians and omnivores. In the meantime, stay healthy and check out the recipes below for some ideas on how to vary your vegetarian diet.
Remember, you have one life, be fit for it.
Yours in fitness and in health
Eevee’s Healthy Vegetarian Recipe Ideas
Sweet Potato and Cinnamon Rosti, topped with a baked Camembert and a side of lentil and roasted veg salad
Simply peel and boil your sweet potatoes. Once soft, mash and season them with a generous serving of metabolism boosting cinnamon.
Shape the mash into burgers or cakes, and gently fry in olive oil and butter on either side. Place on a baking tray.
Slice a noughts and crosses pattern into your camembert, add garlic and thyme and then place on top of your rosti. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Slice and prepare courgettes, peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes. Roast them together with a tin of lentils and butter or edemame beans. Once your camembert is gooey, put it all together on a plate and enjoy.
Vegetable and Halloumi Thai Green Curry, served with rice and peas
Gently fry a large portion of Halloumi cheese along with sugar snap peas, green beans, courgettes and peppers. Once the veg is soft and the cheese is squeaky, add your chosen Thai green curry paste and a tin of coconut milk. Allow the mixture to reduce for 20 minutes.
Boil some basmati and wild rice and add in your peas (we prefer petis pois) and serve with the curry.
Goats Cheese, Ricotta and Watermelon Salad
Wash some rocket leaves and put them on a plate.
Skin and slice some cubes of watermelon and spread it about the rocket.
Crumble your goat’s cheese and ricotta over the watermelon and rocket.
Enjoy a light meal of summery wonder!