October is the Vegetarian Awareness Month, which began with World Vegetarian Day on October 1st and will be ending on World Vegan Day on November 1st. As proven through many observations and studies, there are many benefits of adopting a plant-based diet. Becoming a vegetarian can improve your health, help cut down your cost of food, and help the environment.
While there are numerous motives and reasons to become a vegetarian, listed below are just some of the many health benefits of a plant-based diet:
- Plant-based diets are higher in fiber than the typical American diet. The average American does not consume the recommended amount of fiber, which is 25-38 grams per day. Eating a plant-based diet can help achieve this goal by increasing your consumption of fiber-rich whole grains, legumes, and fresh produce.
- A plant-based diet will typically lower your overall calorie intake. This will help you obtain and maintain a healthy weight in order to prevent and treat diabetes and obesity.
- Higher consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limiting red meat and avoiding processed meat have shown to lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and colon cancer. Decreasing your healthcare risk will improve your quality of life and increase your longevity.
- Becoming a vegetarian means that you will need to consume protein from a different source other than meat, poultry, and fish. Beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, and seeds are great sources of plant-based protein. Consuming higher amounts of plant-based protein results in higher intake of fiber, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Vegetarian diets also tend to be higher in vitamins A, B2, C and E, and other phytonutrients and lower in saturated fats.
There are people who may think meatless meals are boring or lacking, but the truth is, vegetarian dishes can be very flavorful, satisfying, and delicious! We wanted to share with you 5 of our favorite vegetarian recipes that we have used in our blogs.
1. Baked Zucchini Fries
These zucchini fries make a great appetizer and a nutritious substitution for regular fries. By using zucchini instead of potatoes, you are consuming less calories and higher vitamins and minerals. By baking these “fries” with a little bit of oil instead of deep-frying them, you cut back on a significant amount of saturated fat. You can also opt for healthy sauces and avoid using salt for flavor.
2. Portobello Pizzas
These pizzas are easy, versatile, and healthy. Simply use a roasted or grilled large Portobello mushroom as the base of the pizza and add your favorite toppings!
3. Mushroom-Barley Pilaf
This filling pilaf is amazing because both mushrooms and barley have countless health benefits. Mushrooms are known to increase your vitamin D levels and improve your immune system function. Barley help to control diabetes, keep your colon and intestine healthy, reduce risk of osteoporosis, and control blood cholesterol levels.
4. Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
Next time you are craving a burger, give this recipe a try. This burger patty has a perfect balance of sweetness from the sweet potatoes and savory flavor from the spicy Mexican seasonings. The black beans also make this meal a great source of protein and fiber.
5. Roasted Green Beans Salad
There is nothing plain and boring about this salad. This green bean salad is topped with peaches, roasted beets, and marinated goat cheese. This recipe is perfect for a light meal or as a dish to bring to a party. Along with the sweet flavor, peaches add vitamin C to this dish, which can help prevent inflammation.
For the remaining days of October, try to follow a mostly plant-based diet or at least try some of these vegetarian recipes!
You can also refer to our past blog, Seven Easy Steps Toward Being Vegetarian, for tips on ways to incorporate a plant-based diet in your life.