Posted by | Posted in Nutrition | Posted on 28-04-2009
Though I’m not a vegetarian, there are still steps I take to watch the quality of meat I eat. For one, my wife and I choose turkey over ground beef. One thing you must be careful about with turkey is that just because it’s turkey doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Pay attention to the fat quality of the turkey. For example, if you buy ground turkey at the store, make sure it’s a lean option (85/15 is not a lean option). Another choice my wife and I have made is to eat a lot of chicken. Again, watch the fat content. Trim the visible fat away from the chicken before eating it, and I know this is gross, but if you happen to eat a little fat, and notice it, spit it out! There’s no shame in not wanting to eat excess fat. So turkey and chicken … these two choices can be a big help in helping you avoid overeating red meat.
Now, for those of you who can’t even dream of eating either of these, I’m assuming you’re probably a vegetarian. A vegetarian diet isn’t something that should be looked at as strange, but realize they can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Striving to eat a salad everyday is not exactly a good vegetarian diet, but when planned right, a vegetarian diet can be a well-balanced diet. A lot of times, vegetarian diets are high in fiber, low in cholesterol, and low in saturated fats. Fiber is one problem a lot of non-vegetarian eaters struggle with. Fiber helps you feel fuller, longer, and it also helps control blood sugar levels. Both of these qualities are very important for maintaining a healthy weight.
Two important nutrients that can be a struggle to get in a vegetarian diet are protein and iron. Both are found in meat, but cut that out, and you’re left to figure out other sources. Grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes are a great source of protein. Fruits and vegetables can be another great source as well. Since many vegetarian options don’t have much iron, you most likely will need to get it from fortified cereals, breads, pastas, and rice.
Calcium is another nutrient to be aware of. Leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and navy beans are a great source to help prevent osteoporosis.
The important thing is that if you’re considering a vegetarian diet, don’t just jump into it by thinking all you need to do is eat vegetables. A healthy vegetarian diet takes a lot of research and effort to be a success, so make sure you do your due diligence before starting one. If you do, your body will definitely thank you.