The choice to become a vegetarian is laudable in itself, you know. There are a plethora of reasons to become a veggie-lover – reducing numerous health risks, maintaining an amazing body shape, saving the environment and animals are only some reasons that top the list. And how can you forget one crucial advantage of embracing a veg diet? Trying out the wide variety of dishes at the trendiest vegetarian restaurant in Kolkata anytime!
However, in the battle between veggie-lovers vs meat-eaters, vegetarians have one ground where they can easily lose out to their opponents – nutrition. Without meat, fish and eggs, it becomes drastically difficult to supply the body with six essential nutrients which include protein, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc and calcium. Some vegetarians increasingly rely on processed foods containing fat, sugar, sodium and calories in high quantities. If you’re a vegetarian or want to become one, a little planning and awareness will help you to make the most of your veg diet.
We’re talking about the healthiest foods you must include in your daily veg diet. So, stay tuned till the end!
The Healthiest Foods A Vegetarian Diet Should Include
1. Legumes: Vegetarians are true animal lovers. Ask why. Because they exclude animal food and their products to prevent all forms of animal cruelty. As a result, they completely avoid fish, poultry, eggs and meat. So, what’s the best substitute for animal protein? It’s called legumes.
Legumes are protein and iron-rich plant alternatives to animal products and include lentils, fermented sprouts, soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts and beans. Legumes are a rich source of iron, folate, fiber, zinc, antioxidants, manganese and several other beneficial healthy plant compounds. Avoid consuming legumes with calcium-rich foods as calcium reduces the absorption of iron and zinc from legumes.
2. Lentils: You must be thinking why lentils, despite being a member of the legume family, are again featuring as a second point. Besides being excellent protein and soluble fibre source, lentils enjoy special advantages over most of the beans – they contain two times more iron and have a higher quantity of vitamin Bs and folate.
Having lentil soup everyday is a great way to include iron, vitamin Bs and folate to your diet. If you’re at a reputable vegetarian restaurant in Kolkata like Bahula, Green peas chaat, Dal Bukhara, Masala Dal and Dal Amritsari are some of the must-try lentil-based dishes.
3. Nuts: Weren’t we talking about the high-protein animal foods? Apart from legumes, nuts are delicious proteins that vegetarians must consume everyday. A handful of peanuts, walnuts, almonds and cashews will give your body the required amount of zinc, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Worried about gaining extra pounds? A recently published study reveals that nuts, despite being calorie-rich, don’t cause weight. Isn’t that music to your ears?
Nutritionally, a cup of almonds contains four times as much fiber as a cup of cashews. Peanuts and walnuts are rich in zinc, magnesium, potassium and calcium. The best part of having nuts is that you can eat it raw or cooked. Use nuts like almonds and cashews to garnish your curries, sweet dishes, grate them and sprinkle on top of muffins, stuff them inside cakes and pies.
4. Grains: Consuming whole-grain cereals is the best way to enrich your veg diet with vitamin B12, calcium, iron, complex carbs, magnesium, zinc and many other essential nutrients. Regular consumption of whole grains helps to prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart ailments, obesity and diabetes. Foods like brown rice, barley, rye and quinoa are excellent ways to enjoy whole-grain. Want some appetizing way to consume whole grain? Cook pasta with 100% whole wheat ingredients, use whole-wheat toast to make sandwiches or if you’re making veggie stir fry, have quinoa as the base.
5. Green leafy vegetables: Being a vegetarian implies you’re in love with vegetables eternally. But are you in love with the right vegetables? Dark leafy greens, like broccoli and spinach, are an excellent sources of iron, cancer-preventing antioxidants, folic acid and vitamin A. The easiest and the most nutritious way to include leafy greens in your diet is to toss the leafy greens along with tomatoes, carrots, yellow and red bell peppers into salads. Or if you’re at a vegetarian restaurant, check out the different varieties of salads from their menu.
Wrapping up: Being on a vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be uninteresting or lacking in nutrients. A well-planned vegetarian diet includes an adequate amount of foods rich in vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, protein, iron, zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. These are some of the healthiest foods to include in your veg diet and consume regularly. Should you be looking for a vegetarian restaurant in Kolkata where you can find a wide variety of nutritious and palatable cuisines, check out Bahula, the restaurant inside the plush Barsana Boutique Hotel. To know more, call @ +9933305485