Eating healthy as a vegetarian is easier than a lot of people may think. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that in order to maintain a healthy diet, you need to get the right amount of calcium, vitamin B-12, iron and protein. It is possible to get all the nutrients you need while staying meat-free; you just need to find the right food combinations to keep you full and healthy.
Vegetable lasagna is a wonderful alternative for those of you who love lasagna but don’t love meat. The spinach, carrots, noodles and mozzarella cheese give you ample amounts of the nutrients you need to stay healthy. According to Self.com, 1 ounce of nonfat mozzarella cheese alone has 27 percent of your recommended daily allowance of calcium and 9 grams of protein. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that ½ cup of low-sodium, canned spinach has 3 grams of protein, 8 percent of your RDA of calcium, 20 percent of your RDA of vitamin C and 15 percent of your RDA of iron. Self.com notes that 1 ounce of carrots has 94 percent of your RDA of vitamin A.
Quesadillas can be healthy if you keep the cheese light, pour on the vegetables and use a whole-wheat tortilla. Sticking with 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese would be ideal. Adding spinach, carrots, broccoli and green peppers will give you flavor and necessary nutrients. Spinach and carrots add protein and iron, while, according to Self.com, 1 ounce of broccoli adds more vitamin C to the mix, and 1 ounce of raw green peppers adds 11 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 200 percent of your RDA of vitamin C and a little bit of zinc and iron to boot.
If you are a vegetarian on the go, an alternative to lunch could be a fruit smoothie. A medium-sized smoothie can keep you full and focused for a few hours while providing a healthy liquid-lunch option. A meal-replacement smoothie could include a number of different fruits; good examples of filling fruits and berries are bananas, strawberries and/or raspberries. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one small banana has 362 grams of potassium, 1 cup of raspberries has 32.2 milligrams of vitamin C and 8 grams of fiber and 1 cup of whole strawberries has 220 grams of potassium and 84.7 milligrams of vitamin C.
Vegetarian Taco Salad
You can make vegetarian taco salad out of beans, rice, avocado, green peppers, tomatoes, onions and nonfat mozzarella cheese. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that beans and rice are high in protein and low in fat. The mozzarella provides you with protein and calcium, while the green peppers add vitamin A and vitamin C. According to Self.com, adding 1 cup of chopped avocado to your vegetarian taco salad will add 40 percent of your recommended daily allowance of fiber, 25 percent of your RDA of vitamin C and smaller amounts of zinc and iron.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Choose My Plate: Healthy Eating Tips: Tips for Vegetarians
- Self: Nutrition Facts: Cheese, Mozzarella, Nonfat
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Household Commodity Fact Sheet: Spinach, Low Sodium, Canned
- Self: Nutrition Facts: Carrots, Raw
- Self: Nutrition Facts: Broccoli, Raw
- Self: Nutrition Facts: Peppers, Sweet, Green Raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Basic Report: Nutrient Data for 09040, Bananas, Raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Basic Report: Nutrient Data for 09302, Raspberries, Raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Basic Report: Nutrient Data for 09316, Strawberries, Raw
- Self: Nutrition Facts: Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties
Leigh Wittman has been writing professionally since 2007. She writes primarily on health, career advice, outdoor pursuits and travel for various websites. Wittman is a licensed nurse and studied nursing at Arizona State University.