It can be hard to get an adequate amount of essential nutrients when you’re on a vegetarian diet. To lose weight, improve heart health or just to go green and animal-friendly, whatever be your reason to give up meat, be sure you’re not missing out on your protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins.

While planning your vegetarian meals, add these foods to obtain a balanced diet.

1. Beans & Lentils: Wondrous for women’s health, lentils and beans (from the family of legumes) are an excellent source of iron, protein, and vitamin B. They are made up of soluble fibers which lower cholesterol. Try Lentils & Sausage With Sautéed Leeks & Spinach, Slow Cooked Yellow Lentils With Confit Tomatoes, Cumin & Ginger, Beans & Greens Chili or Red Beans And Rice.

2. Tofu: Tofu is a powerhouse of zinc, iron, and protein. It’s a good source of calcium for those who are lactose intolerant. Apart from that it is one of the very few vegetarian sources of cholesterol-lowering omega-3 fatty acids. Try Tofu Whip, Garlic & Chive Tofu Cheese Croquettes or Barbecued Tofu Chopped Salad.

3. Grains: High in iron and calcium, grains like brown rice and whole wheat contain hard-to-get vitamin B12, which is beneficial for your brain and nervous system. Eat different grains to get a variety of nutrients. Try Eggplant Dip With Sprouted Grain Bread, Long Grain Brown Basmati Rice or Whole Grain Pasta With Basil And Sautéed Veggies.

4. Nuts & Dry Fruits: They make for a quick, convenient source of minerals and vitamins. Peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts and cashews, for instance, are rich in zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E; almonds are rich in calcium; raisins, apricots, figs, and dates are high in iron and potassium content. Try Spicy Herb-Roasted Nuts or Yogurt With Fruit & Nuts.

5. Leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, and collards are nutrient-dense and a great source of antioxidants. Moreover, they help in the absorption of nutrients in the body. Try Daily Greens With Tahini Miso Sauce, Collard Greens With Garlic, Steamed Kale With Tahini Dressing or Sautéed Spinach With Roasted Garlic.

PS: Head to our Food section for healthy recipes and the latest food trends.
Here are some more recipes for a Vegetarian Diet.

Read More:
The Veg Edge: How Vegetarianism Can Help You Live Longer
6 Foods For a Healthy Vegetarian Diet

A graduate in English Literature, Shruti comes with a gamut of experience in academic freelance writing and television journalism. A strong believer of holistic living, she has always followed the mantra of “a healthy body and a happy mind”. Naturally then, it wasn’t long before she found herself inclined towards wellness and lifestyle. She now writes on these subjects in a professional capacity at Z Living. Her inherent curiosity about healthy living makes her a connoisseur of all things natural, and motivates her to share the knowledge through her writing.