1. Don't be left hungry
Make sure you're kept full by eating several good sources of protein. Excellent vegetarian sources include:
- Pulses: beans, lentils, and peas
- Grains: bread, pasta, rice, oats, breakfast cereals, corn, rye
- Nuts and seeds: peanuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds
- Dairy products: milk, cheese, yoghurt and eggs
- Quorn and soya products
2. Dishes to fill up on
Eating two or more of the above mentioned foods together is an easy way to reach your recommended daily intake. Try tasty meal ideas like:
- Vegetarian chilli with rice
- Dahl with chapatti
- Tofu with noodles
- Toast with peanut butter
3. Make sure you get enough iron
Iron is a vital for a healthy diet– top vegetarian sources include whole grains, beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, tofu, egg yolk and fortified breakfast cereals. Increase your uptake of iron by pairing these foods with a source of vitamin C e.g. a wide variety of fruits or vegetables.
4. Keep cells healthy
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products so vegetarians can often miss out on this vitamin. Get your daily quota from eggs and dairy products; as well as B12 fortified yeast extract and breakfast cereals.
5. Don't miss out on Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be problem if you don’t get much sun exposure or consume oily fish. The best vegetarian sources are egg yolks, fortified margarine, plant milk and breakfast cereals.
6. Eat fish-free omega-3s
Without oily fish, you need to get omega-3s from chia seeds, pumpkin and flax seeds (and their oils), dark green leafy veg and walnuts. The European Food Safety Authority recommends 2-3g ALA or 250mg EPA/DHA every day. You can get this from just one teaspoon flaxseed oil.
7. Turn a classic veggie
Make vegetarian versions of your favourite meals! Replace the meat in stews, curries and casseroles with tinned beans, lentils or tofu.
8. Meat-free alternatives
Try tasty meat substitutes such as seitan (gluten, used in stir fries and Chinese dishes), veggie sausages, veggie mince (for Bolognese sauce), paneer (for curries) and Quorn fillets.
9. Go ethnic
Experiment with veggie ethnic foods, such as hummus, falafel, bean burritos, Chinese spring rolls and tofu dishes.
10. Treat yourself to a ready-meal
Too busy to cook from scratch every night? There are lots of vegetarian ready-meals and snacks available now, including:
• Smoke and pickle Paneer and Pea Dhansak
• VBites Cheatin' Celebration Roast
• VegiDeli Duck Style Pieces with Hoi Sin Glaze
• La Tua Pasta Tortelloni Mixed Vegetable & Chilli Beetroot Pasta
• Higgidy Spinach, Feta & Pine Nut Pie
• Secret Sausages Vegetables In Disguise
• Ocado Vegetable Jalfrezi
• VBites Making Waves Gourmet Fish Style Cakes
Compiled by registered nutritionist Anita Bean for Ocado.
There's more useful advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.