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Maximising the vegetarian diet

Are you getting enough protein?

Plant sources of protein do not always include the full compliment of amino acids that the body needs. Therefore, combining certain foods will be important. These foods do not necessarily need to be eaten in the same meal, but at some stage throughout the same day. Ideally, aim to eat three different sources of protein each day, for example:

> Greek yoghurt for breakfast, eggs for lunch and Quorn for dinner

> Peanut butter on toast for breakfast, mixed bean salad for lunch, tofu stir-fry for dinner

In order to boost the amount of protein in your diet, try the following…:

Are you getting enough iron?

Iron deficiency can leave you feeling tired and fatigued. Vegetarians are particularly at risk because the iron bioavailability in plant foods is lower compared to meat. Iron depletion occurs over a prolonged period of time and it can take six months or more to boost iron stores through foods sources.

Iron rich foods should be consumed on a regular basis with Vitamin C to aid absorption. Avoid drinking tea or coffee with meals as these can impair iron absorption (drink 1-2 hrs before or after). The following foods provide excellent sources of iron:

In order to boost the amount of iron in your diet, try the following…:

Are you getting enough calcium?

If you chose to avoid dairy products you may be at risk of an inadequate calcium intake. Few foods provide the same quantities of calcium as dairy, however, there are a number of simple foods that can help below. If you eat dairy, try to eat least 3 servings of dairy foods a day, for example milk with breakfast, yoghurt and cheese in a sandwich.

In order to boost the amount of calcium in your diet, try the following…: