5 Habits Every Vegetarian Should Always Avoid

A vegetarian diet should be planned well to make it healthy

So you’ve decided to go vegetarian? Awesome! There are many benefits to a plant-based diet, from low blood pressure to improved insulin sensitivity. The risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions will be reduced significantly. The chances of weight gain will also drop if you eat little to no meat. It’s basically a win for overall health only if you do it right.

Vegetarianism isn’t a fool-proof way of eating. Beyond fatty steaks and processed meats, there are many unhealthy foods that are technically vegetarian. Don’t let your no-meat diet work against you. Make sure you don’t take up these harmful habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible.1

1. Eating Starchy Carbs

Starchy carbs are bad even if you are a vegetarian

Carbs

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are a major source of calories and energy. For a vegetarian, it also promotes fullness when you skip the meat. The problem is when you reach for starchy carbs like fries and white bread. Because these foods are digested so quickly, you’ll just feel hungrier. They’re also associated with low-grade inflammation, high blood sugar, and weight gain. It’s probably not what you were hoping for.2 3

Replace starchy carbohydrates with whole foods like quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potato. They take a while to digest, so you’ll stay nice and full! Harmful factors like blood cholesterol and post-prandial blood glucose will also improve.4

2.
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Depending On Fake Meat

Fake meat options like soy can damage your health

For a vegetarian, soy-based meat products might seem like the world’s greatest invention. They taste and feel like the real thing, offering plant protein as well. But they’re not the healthiest choice. Fake meat is highly processed, regardless of what it is made of.

Sodium, sugar, and other additives are used for flavor. The pinky brown “meat” color? That’s fake, too. In moderation, fake meat can be part of a healthy vegetarian diet. Just be sure to avoid making it the highlight of your meals. Instead go for whole foods like beans, lentils, and nuts.

3. Not Getting Enough Protein

Getting adequate protein from plant sources is essential

Protein deficiency is one of the biggest risks for a vegetarian. Meat is a complete source of protein, but besides that, you need to get that protein from other foods. It’s easy to miss the mark if you’re not careful. Again, plant-based protein like nuts, beans, and lentils are a must. Don’t forget about eggs! One large hard-boiled egg has about 6.29 grams of protein, making it a smart choice for salads and sandwiches.5 6

4. Avoiding Fruits

Due to the high fructose content does not mean fruits are bad

Many people are wary about fruits. We’re always told to cut back on sugar, but fruits are full of it. So what’s the deal? Fructose, the sugar in fruits, is actually the good kind. It’s nothing like high-fructose corn syrup, so don’t get them confused. Fruits also have anti-obesity effects and offer vitamins, minerals, and lots of fiber. They’re a must for vegetarians – and everyone else.7

5.
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Not Snacking Wisely

A proper well-balanced snack can make or break your diet

Smart snacking can make or break a healthy diet. With the right approach, food choices in between meals will enhance nutrition. It’ll also ward off hunger and hold you over for the next meal. Instead of ice cream, eat Greek yogurt for more protein and increased satiety. Roasted chickpeas can replace salty snacks, while oatmeal cookies offer satiety-inducing fiber. Unsalted nuts, almond butter, and bananas also fit the bill.8

Adopt

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a vegetarian diet slowly. Give yourself time to incorporate plant-based protein, and don’t be afraid to try new recipes. With the right approach, vegetarianism can be delicious and nutritious.

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