Following a vegetarian diet is a healthy lifestyle choice that is associated with lower rates of obesity and better cardiovascular health (American Heart Association, 2015). However, vegetarians must be vigilant about their dietary intake to ensure they get the broad array of nutrients needed to maintain health. Meat and animal products are a good source of certain nutrients that are less abundant in non-animal sources. In particular, it is important for vegetarians to prioritize getting the following nutrients:
This portable, affordable protein is a must-eat for anyone looking to lose a few. Why? Canned tuna is a prime source of a specific omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which has been shown to "turn off" fat genes in the abdomen, preventing belly fat cells from growing larger. To keep calories to a minimum, skip the mayo and instead add a few cranks of ground pepper, a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve the fish over a bed of greens—super filling, yet low-cal.
More than 7 million Americans identify as vegetarian, while another 22.8 million follow a largely vegetarian diet (Vegetarian Times, n.d.). Whether you are a dedicated vegetarian or an omnivore exploring healthier meat-free options, getting the right balance of nutrients is essential. Snacking is a healthy part of any diet, making it important to choose vegetarian snacks that satisfy your hunger while meeting your unique nutritional needs.
Packed with fiber, water, and antioxidants, fruits and vegetables are great choices for diet-friendly snacking. But the standard banana or carrots and ranch dip can get old quick. Instead, try a sliced apple with a lowfat cheese wedge, like Laughing Cow Light. "Having a little extra fat is good in a snack because it sustains you longer," says McLachlan.
Need to use up some leftover ingredients? Make a pita pizza! Don’t fret about making the dough, that’s what whole grain pita bread is for. While pita bread makes filling and tasty sandwiches, it’s also a great base for loading toppings on. Whole grain pita bread is typically high in protein and fiber, and it’s ideal for the lazy vegan because it’s already cooked for you! Pita pizza is also awesome because it’s just the right size for one person. Start with pita bread, spread on some sauce, add some non-dairy cheese, and pile on any vegetables you have on hand. This Vegan Pepper Jack Cashew Cheese is my favorite as it will add some spice to your Homemade Pita Bread. For an easy fix, use store-bought vegan cheese like Daiya or Tofutti. Mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach or broccoli are healthy options for vegetable toppings, and many of these can come frozen or from a jar. Check out this Ultimate Guide to Making Homemade Pizza and simply use a pita for the base. After assembled, pop your pita in an oven at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes and you’ve got yourself a quick and wholesome meal.
According to experts, snacking in between meals wards off hunger and aids weight loss by maintaining blood-sugar levels and reducing blood insulin levels. "When your body produces less insulin, you're much less likely to convert dietary calories into body fat," says weight loss expert Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen. "If we feed the body at regular intervals we send a signal to the body that it doesn't have to store calories," he adds.
That same vegan nacho cheese sauce makes for a serious plate of nachos. We use freshly fried tortilla wedges (they're sturdier than store-bought chips) as the base for vegan refried beans and chili, Roasted-Tomato Salsa, guacamole, and tons of fresh and pickled veggies. Layering the chips and toppings for even coverage is a little extra work, but it's worth it for the many more balanced bites you'll get.
While chili may seem like a main dish, a small scoop of this keto variety can provide you enough protein (almost 3 grams!) to keep you going. "Use an Instant Pot for great fast cooking," says Suzanne Ryan, author of Beyond Simply Keto. To make it, brown your ground beef and sausage, saving half the fat drippings. Chop one green bell pepper and ½ onion. Pour meat, fat, veggies, canned ingredients and spices into your instant pot, and cook for 40 minutes. (This is also a great keto meal-prep recipe to have on hand.)
I don’t use nutritional yeast any more. It’s like $20 a bag full here in Tasmania (that’s IF you can find it in the first place). I made a tapioca based cheese and it sat in the fridge as Steve wasn’t keen on it but then in my “waste not want not” phase, I decided to throw it into a batch of bechamel and again, it was amazing. Sometimes it’s not the product that is wonderful but how you can use it that matters. We can’t get Follow your heart products here (heck, we don’t even have Earth Balance!) but I have found several interesting starch based egg replacement products on the net (recipes for how to make). The best vegan quiche we ever made was based on chickpea flour so I guess it really is horses for courses.
Get off that couch and make yourself some dinner! With these five meal ideas you sure won’t be in the kitchen for long, and you’ll satisfy your hungry belly with nutrients and finger-licking, vegan goodness. With a little creativity, any meal can be nourishing made with ingredients you have on hand. For all you lazy vegans out there, do you have a favorite meal idea or recipe? Share your thoughts, we would love to hear from you!
Yogurt is and shall remain an important component in our snacking culture. And I’m not speaking of those over-sugared versions, but of proper plain natural yogurt. Make a craft out of it. You won’t believe how many different, almost artisan creations you can come up with. The ingredients of the version above are grapes, walnuts, some cinnamon and a few sprinkles of maple syrup. Love it! Up for more ideas? Have a look over here.
If you're looking for a creative way to add more fruit to your diet, try frozen banana pops. Slice several peeled bananas in half and insert popsicle sticks. Coat each half with an ounce of low-fat plain yogurt. Put the pops in the freezer, and soon you'll have ready-to-eat low-calorie treats. At just under 80 calories a pop, this is a snack you can feel good about.
And its cheap too. I was buying my chickpeas and processing them myself (resulting in a somewhat less than fine flour) as I thought that would be the cheapest way to get chickpea flour (as you do) and then I checked out the price difference at the health food shop and it was at least a dollar cheaper to buy the flour. Now I just buy the flour that is super fine and perfect for just about everything.
One of the most common misconceptions about eating plant-based/vegan is that it takes forever to prepare a good meal. Or that it’s all about frozen meals/entrees. While frozen vegan food is awesome (Amy’s non-dairy mac and cheese is life), it’s not healthy to rely on packaged vegan food all the time. There’s plenty of lazy vegan meals that can be made at home with simple ingredients (and cheap)! Here’s a large compilation of (90+!) vegan meal and snack ideas that take little to no time to prepare.
Like olive oil, olives are filled with healthy monounsaturated fats that boost heart health and ward off hunger. With just 50 calories for an entire to-go pack, you can't go wrong with Milas Oloves' savory, citrus- and herb-infused snack. Though they're sold at a number of health food stores, most Starbucks locations recently started carrying them (along with some other new healthy snacks), so they're easy to find in a pinch.