Mandatory Nutrients Before You Think About Going Meatless

May 13, 2011

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Photo: Courtesy of Sura Nualpradid

Whether you are contemplating cutting meat out of your diet
to try and lose weight, be more friendly to animals, or because you just don’t
enjoy a big, juicy, burger anymore, there are eight essential nutrients you are
going to have to ensure are in your new meatless meal plan. Many times, when people
decide to go all green and stop eating meat, they wind up depriving themselves
of important nutrients. There are those who replace meat with hearty
vegetables, beans, legumes and nuts, while others replace meat with potato
chips and cakes. Either way, it is important to maintain a balanced diet to
stay healthy.

According to Eating
Well Magazine
, calcium is one of the most important nutrients to maintain.
If you are planning on taking your vegetarian goals to the extreme and cutting
out dairy as well, vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, and kale are great
sources of calcium. Iodine is essential for metabolizing food into energy, but
since seafood is a primary source of the nutrient, vegetarians are often
lacking. Sprinkle a little extra iodized salt onto your next meal to make up
for it! Iron, probably one of the most prevalent nutrients found in meats, can
be found in legumes, whole grains, and dried fruits. Vegetarians are advised to
consume 1.8 times the amount of iron daily than non-vegetarians. Eating iron-filled
foods with tea, coffee, and chocolate can help increase absorption. Omega-3
fatty acids are important for brain development and heart health and are
abundant in fish. Eating foods like walnuts, flaxseed, and soy can increase
amounts in your diet. Vegetarians should have no problem getting enough protein
in their diet as it is in nearly every food, but for extra cell building power,
foods like beans, whole grains, and nuts provide an extra serving. Veggie
lovers will, however, have some trouble finding Vitamin B12 in any natural
foods. Because this vitamin is only found in animal foods, vegetarians must
look to processed foods that are fortified with it such as cereals and soy
milks. Aside from just sitting in the sun all summer to soak up enough Vitamin
D, try adding fortified cow’s milk and soy milk into your diet to increase bone
health. To avoid getting sick this season, zinc is a vital nutrient to keep
your immune system healthy. Bountiful in meats such as beef and pork,
vegetarians should look for legumes, beans and soy products to make sure they
are fighting off and illnesses this summer. Read more of the article titled Eight
Key Nutrients Vegetarians Need
for more information on the nutrients as
well as delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals. Maybe after trying out some
of these recipes you’ll find you enjoy your meals meatless. I’m not sure I
could turn down steak tips and burgers at summer barbeques, but the vegetarian
recipe might bring out my inner omnivore. 

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