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How to be a Healthy Vegetarian

By: Cara Frost-Sharratt - Updated: 10 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
How To Be A Healthy Vegetarian

A vegetarian diet can be very healthy but you also need to think a bit more about what you're eating as it's essential to ensure your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs. Some of these are supplied in substantial quantities by meat - red meat in particular - so you need to replace these by eating other foods.

As most students are on a tight budget whilst at college, food will often get forgotten or take second place to nights out in the student union. As a vegetarian, you should try to make your diet more of a priority and you must be aware of the requirements that your body has. Likewise, if you are planning on switching to a vegetarian diet, make sure you read up about it before you begin and also have a chat to your doctor.

Pumping Iron

As you're probably aware, iron is one of the minerals that is found in red meat in large quantities so, having cut this from your diet, you must find other ways to keep your iron intake at a sufficient level. This isn't difficult to achieve but it just needs a little more thought.

Green Vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage and spinach are all good sources of iron so try and include these in your diet wherever possible.

Time to make a big veggie chilli for your housemates. Kidney beans are a great source of iron, as are chickpeas.

Swap your regular breakfast cereal for a wholegrain variety and get some iron in your system first thing in the morning.

Fighting Colds

Students are notoriously vulnerable to winter coughs and colds and as a vegetarian you need to take extra care to keep your immune system boosted. It's a good idea to really make an effort to do this as the onset of the winter flu season arrives. Whilst you might not avoid every bug, you'll be giving your body the best chance of fighting infection.

It's easy to eat plenty of garlic; just add a chopped clove to pasta sauces, curries, pies or mashed potato for extra flavour and a great health boost.

Another easy one to include in everyday meals. As with garlic, just add it to all your sauces and baked dishes.

Vitamin C
This is the classic cold-fighting Vitamin. You probably know there's plenty of it in oranges but tomatoes, kiwi fruit, berries and asparagus (amongst other things) also contain lots of vitamin C, so tuck into these and you should avoid some of those nasty germs.


Meat is a great source of protein but again, there are other ways of making sure you get enough protein in your diet.

If you're not vegan then eggs are the way forward. They're packed full of protein and are extremely versatile. A quick plate of scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast or a vegetable omelette requires few culinary skills but both are packed full of nutritional goodies.

Baked Beans
Who doesn't like baked beans? If you're vegetarian your cupboard should be overflowing with cans of these, ready for quick meals at a moment's notice.

Okay, so this isn't strictly suitable for vegetarians but many people just abstain from meat and still eat fish. If this is you then great, it's a good source of protein. Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are also full of those lovely omega oils, which could help the grey matter perform better - perfect student food!

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