If you are living the life of a vegetarian, it is very important that you get the essential nutrients you need each day to stay healthy. Being a vegetarian can be challenging role, especially if you are a strict vegetarian. Yet, it is neither an impossible one, nor one that can keep you from staying healthy. You just need to make smart choices.
Food Pyramid for Vegetarians
The food pyramid was established by the United States Agriculture Department as a guide for Americans to use to establish healthy eating habits that include the essential nutrients we all need everyday. Even vegetarians can use this as a guide to help remind them that they need to consume a variety of nutrients each day and enough to meet their calorie needs.
This means they need to make sure that they are eating proper nutritional foods such as:
- proteins which can be found in beans, nuts, peas and soy products
- Iron which can be found in spinach, kidney beans, and whole wheat breads
- Calcium which can be found in soy products, milk products, and dark green leafy vegetables
- Zinc which can be found in kidney beans, white beans and chickpeas
- Vitamin B12 which can be found in soy based beverages and veggie burgers
By eating a variety of these types of foods when one is hungry (instead of the nonessential nutrients that are found in junk food and processed foods), vegetarians, as well as anyone, can establish a well-balance diet.
Importance of Macronutrients
Macronutrients are essential nutrients that provide calories or energy. These nutrients include: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Vegetarians do not always get the right amount of these macronutrients in their bodies.
Carbohydrates are important to the body because they are the body’s main source of energy. They also help keep the central nervous system, kidneys, brain, and muscles functioning. Carbohydrates can be found mainly in potatoes and grains. However, they can also be found in fruits, nuts, beans, and milk products.
Protein is needed for the body to grow and for muscles to repair. It keeps our immune system functioning, as well as helping to provide energy, especially when we do not have enough carbohydrates in our body. Protein can mainly be found in meat and poultry. However, it can also be found in many vegetables, eggs, and soy products.
Fat is needed to help the body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, and it also helps provide energy. Healthy fat can be found in nuts, avocado, some fish, and grain products.
These macronutrients are very important to our health and our survival.
The Healthy Approach to a Vegetarian Diet
The healthy approach to a vegetarian diet is very similar to any healthy diet: you should lay off the processed and sugar based foods. You should add plenty of water to your daily routine. You should exercise three to five times a week, and you should make sure you eat a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs.