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Make it easy
On a budget
Coping with a sweet tooth
Things to watch out for

Make it easy

  • Make extra dinner and eat for lunch the next day. This is also a great way to save money.
  • Have a protein-rich dip or spread in the fridge ready to combine with rye crackers, oatcakes or vegetable sticks.
  • Plan ahead. Make up 3-day menus with shopping lists so you can just pick one up and stock up at speed.
  • Make a big pot of lentil and vegetable soup and freeze so a fast and nutritious meal is never far away.
  • Stir-fry vegetables can be bought already chopped. Just gently fry and add some nuts, tofu or beans, soya sauce, garlic and ginger for a meal in minutes.
  • Keep a well-stocked store cupboard/fridge including olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and fresh herbs to make quick meals more interesting.
  • Frozen vegetables keep most of their nutrients; some are even higher than when fresh. Even if you have no fresh vegetables left you can knock up a healthy stew with tinned tomatoes and beans, frozen veg and dried herbs.

Tips for healthy eating on a budget

  • Find a local fruit and vegetable market. Prices are often better towards the end of the day.
  • Roast bulk–bought vegetables like peppers, courgettes and red onions. They will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and can be added to salads.
  • Make your own dried tomatoes. Quarter bulk-bought tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook on a low heat (around 150˚C) for about two hours until semi-dried (store in the fridge).
  • Make tomato sauce from bulk-bought tomatoes and freeze for when needed.
  • Grow your own fresh herbs in pots on your kitchen windowsill to add flavour to dishes.
  • Make up a dried bean and seed mix and grow your own sprouts. Sprouts are a great source of nutrients, protein and fibre but check that the beans and seeds you buy are suitable for sprouting.
  • Include frozen fruit and vegetables. It is easy to use just the right portion so waste is avoided and most retain good nutrient levels. Frozen peas, spinach and some others are even higher in nutrients than if fresh. This is also a great way of eating foods out of season to increase variety.
  • Pick your own soft fruit and freeze
  • Make more than you need for dinner and freeze the rest for another day
  • Chinese supermarkets sell great value large packs of tofu. Try marinating chunks in soya sauce, garlic and ginger and then baking them in the oven until firm. Roasted tofu will keep in the fridge for a few days and can be added to stir-fries or salads or it makes a great protein-rich snack.
  • Start up a buying group with friends. Together you can build up a big enough order to buy from a wholesaler.
  • Plan your meals in advance so you can make sure everything gets used up and waste is avoided.


Coping with a sweet tooth

If chocolate, puddings and sweet treats are your downfall, you won’t kick the sugar habit overnight. Luckily there are lots of sweet-tasting delights that won’t upset your energy balance, rot your teeth or ratchet up your calorie intake as much as a jam doughnut. Try plain yogurt (soya or dairy) with some dried fruit; poached pears; stewed apple with cinnamon (sweetened with molasses if necessary) or swap the snacks in each day’s meal plan around a bit to make sure there’s something sweet but nutritious on offer just when you know you’ll most be in the mood. Including healthy snacks and having protein each time you eat will also help you to crave sugar less.

 

Here are some recipes for healthy puddings from the Vegetarian Society:

Baked Bananas with Lemon & Orange
Christmas Apricots
Gingery Fig & Rhubarb Filo Flowers
Mandarins in Mulled Cherry Juice
Perfectly Pious Pannacotta
Poached Pears with Red Wine and Ginger Sauce
Raspberry Tofu Dessert
Tropical Fruit Salad
Surprise Chocolate Brownies
Mango and Orange Fool


Things to watch out for

Vegetarian and vegan diets can provide you with all the nutrients you need. There are, however, a few nutrients to keep a check on as some studies have shown people on plant-based diets have been lower in these than is ideal. This is not because they can’t be provided, just that we need to know what to include. See the table below for details:

 

Nutrient Needed for Good food sources
B2
Riboflavin
Energy, skin, nails and hair Mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, tomatoes, soya products, wheat germ, yeast extract, almonds and eggs.

B12
Cyanocobalamin

Energy production, blood cells, nervous system and heart health A sub-lingual vitamin tablet (placed under the tongue) is the most reliable vegan source.
Also in fortified soya milks, soya burgers, soya mince, breakfast cereals, yeast extract and non-hydrogenated margarines (check the label).
Vitamin D Healthy bones, immunity and protecting against osteoporosis Eggs and dairy products. Fortified foods such as margarines, soya milk and breakfast cereals.
Also made in the body via sunlight on the skin. Spend at least 20 minutes a day outside.
Calcium Healthy bones, heart and muscle function Dairy products, Brazil nuts, chickpeas, dried seaweeds, figs, green leafy vegetables, parsley, watercress, broccoli, tofu, soya beans, okra, blackstrap molasses, fortified soya milks (check the label), swede, almonds, quinoa and apples.
Iodine Normal functioning of the thyroid gland which controls metabolism Seaweed, some organic green leafy vegetables, watercress, pears, wild rice, iodised salt.
Iron Red blood cells and preventing anaemia Seaweeds, dried apricots, wholemeal bread, raisins, prunes, dates, sesame and pumpkin seeds, legumes, nuts, dark-green leafy vegetables, spinach, cabbage, tofu, beans and pulses, wheat germ, parsley, millet, blackstrap molasses and quinoa. Although the iron in plant sources tends to be more easily absorbed than from animal sources, plants also provide vitamin C which enhance absorption.
Selenium Antioxidant protecting against free-radical damage Brazil nuts, mushrooms, dried mushrooms, lentils, sesame and sunflower seeds, walnuts, whole-grains, potatoes, acorn squash and avocado.
Zinc Hormones, fertility and immunity Dried seaweed, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, pine nuts, wholegrains, wholemeal bread, brown rice, lentils, almonds, wheat germ and oats.

 

 

 

 

 

The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358, Registered Company No. 959115 (England and Wales)

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