Here are 5 tips to start this new year with greater respect for the environment and animals simply and comfortably.
- Balance your Meals and Distribute Proteins
- Choose Fresh Foods and Avoid Ready-to-Eat Meals
- Prefer a Varied Diet
- Beware of Critical Micronutrients
- Plan your Weekly Menu
Balance your Meals and Distribute Proteins
Proteins are essential nutrients, which must be taken from foods since our body cannot synthesize them. Our body weight, the level of physical activity, and age determine our protein need. On the one hand, taking too many proteins does not bring you any benefit; by contrast, it could damage your health. On the other hand, taking a few amounts of proteins could lead to muscle mass loss and an increased risk of malnutrition, especially in the elderly.
It is crucial to distribute the proteins' intake in small doses in every meal to get the most out of them. In this way, we will stimulate the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, satiating the sense of hunger throughout the day too.
Start your day with a balanced breakfast and enrich it with protein foods, such as vegetable yogurt or milk and dried fruits. Furthermore, for lunch and dinner, don't miss protein sources like tofu, tempeh, seitan, or legumes.
Finally, remember that plant foods do not contain all the essential amino acids, unlike those of animal origin. Hence, it is vital to have a diet in which you combine many vegetable foods. An example? A blend of legumes and cereals brings the right proportion of essential amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants.
Choose Fresh Foods and Avoid Ready-to-Eat Meals
Fresh and seasonal foods are the best choice you can make, along with legumes, grains, nuts, and dehydrated fruits. Preparing tasty vegan dishes is not only easy but can also be very funny and healthier. As a consequence, avoid ready-to-eat dishes! In other words, stay away from the industrially derived vegan products. Also, avoid foods that try to imitate animal products because they are often rich in added salt, sugar, preservatives, and vegetable hydrogenated low-quality fats.
Prefer a Varied Diet
Don't eat always the same food to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Contrarily, choose different types of fruits and vegetables, trying to buy the seasonal ones from your geographical area; these types of food are more abundant in nutrients and also tastier. Moreover, choose different kinds of legumes, dried fruits, seeds, and cereals, possibly giving preference to whole grains cereals, which are richer on a nutritional level. In this way, your diet will be colorful and delicious, and it will also ensure excellent coverage of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids, and essential amino acids.
Beware of Critical Micronutrients
Don't forget that a plant-based diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies if it is not well planned. Remember to take vitamin B12 every day, from fortified foods or supplements. Vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that must be mandatorily integrated into your diet, as it is crucial for the formation of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. However, other essential micronutrients need to be kept under control to monitor blood levels. We are referring to iron, calcium, vitamin D, and also polyunsaturated fatty acids that we can take from marine plants such as algae.
Plan your Menu Weekly
Before planning your menu, think about what you would like to eat during the week. Then, make a shopping list always to have all the ingredients you need to prepare delicious vegan recipes. If your food store is empty, you will run the risk of eating the same things daily, or worse, eating packaged foods or unbalanced meals, resulting in a boring and unhealthy diet.
Going vegan just following these five simple steps is possible and healthy!
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Author: Nutri-coach Francesca Deriu