Will to better control what we put on our plate, cost of living, militant ecological act, various reasons can push you to transform your consumption habits. But how can you change your menus at all?
Life is expensive, and eating food costs a fortune. It’s quite natural that small budgets gradually eliminate meat and fish from their diet. Intensive livestock farming has a huge ecological impact on the planet, leading more and more people to review their consumption patterns. Eating vegetarian means taking an interest in the balance of one’s meals, which is a good thing overall.
But when you want to consume less or more meat, how do you do it? We’ll share our research with you.
Vegetarian eating, balanced eating
Today nearly 80% of the proteins consumed are of animal origin, whereas a century ago they were 80% of vegetable origin, according to a 2002 report by the WHO (World Health Organization) and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). This is a clear sign that meat and fish are not the only sources of protein and that, in fact, a vegetarian diet does not present any risk of deficiencies.
In fact, studies even tend to show that vegetarians are rather healthier. This seems rather natural, as a vegetarian is likely to place more emphasis on balanced meals by eating more fruits and vegetables, cereals and legumes.
The main precepts of the vegetarian diet
1. Different categories of foods you will alternate between
The basis of a balanced diet, whether vegetarian or not, is the variety of foods. It is therefore necessary to alternate cereals, vegetables, fruits, legumes, fats throughout the day and to vary the foods for each category. Not only is it good for your health, but also for your appetite.
2. Foods of good nutritional quality you will choose
It is always best to choose fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables and avoid industrially processed foods, which have few or no micro-nutrients. Avoid prepared or refined products (white sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oils, trans fatty acids, etc.).
3. Nuts and seeds you will find
Peanuts (nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, etc.) and seeds (sunflower, flax, squash, sesame, etc.) contain essential fatty acids (proteins, B vitamins, vitamin E, etc.) and are therefore interesting from a nutritional point of view. You should consume between 30 and 60 g per day in all their forms (spreads, oils, etc.).
4. Eggs you won’t abuse
Just because you take meat out of your diet doesn’t mean you should eat an egg at every meal. Eggs are full of protein, vitamins (A, D, B12) and iron, but you shouldn’t overeat them because they are bad for your cholesterol level. You can eat up to two eggs a week, but no more!
5. Cereals and tubers you will vary
Cereals (pasta, rice, wheat, etc.) and tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, etc.) are the primary source of protein for vegetarians. You should eat 2 to 3 portions a day. Favour whole grains, which are rich in carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
6. Legumes you’ll like
Legumes (such as chickpeas, peas, beans, lentils or soybeans) are rich in protein and you need to consume between 1 and 2 servings a day. You can also vary with protein foods (i.e. alternatives to meat) (50 to 150 g per day).
7. Vegetable oils and fats you will prefer
Your body needs fats, but again, you need to vary them. Choose vegetable oils of organic origin from first cold pressing (2 to 4 tablespoons per day).
8. Of fruits and vegetables you will gorge yourself
Vegetables are fundamental to the vegetarian diet. You should consume at least 400g of them, or three portions a day. Always choose fresh, seasonal vegetables. Buying them directly from the producers is even better.
9. Dairy products you will not neglect
Dairy products have a place in the vegetarian diet. You can add up to 250g of milk or yoghurt per day or up to 50g of cheese per day to your diet.
10. You will quench your thirst with water.
A balanced diet needs water. No more sodas and sugary drinks, instead 1 or even 2 litres of water per day.