Here is the surprise package for people who want to take up vegetarianism but are hesitant to do so. The answer is a simple flexitarian diet which is the middle line between a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian diet. Though most of the foods are plant-based, there is room for small portions of meat, fish and poultry. As it is less restrictive than a vegetarian diet while delivering many of the health benefits, this could be the success diet for quite many people. RDNs comment that flexitarian diet plan replenishes the body with more fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamins C and E than a regular non-vegetarian diet.
Quite amazing, isn’t it? Read further to change your eating pattern with these four simple steps:
- Remodel your Plate
Typical to a balanced diet plan, a flexitarian plate insists on filling up half of the plate with fruits and vegetables. The remaining half is divided 50-50 between whole grains and lean protein. This protein portion is where your fish, meat or poultry comes into picture and any plant-based proteins such as beans can also be consumed. Beans are rich in fiber, iron, potassium and heart-smart plant protein which make them a good replacement for meat in tacos, burritos, pasta, chili or stir-fries. Replace every 28 grams of meat you would consume with ¼ cup of beans. The same substitution can be followed with other items containing meat. Serve a veggie burger instead of a hamburger or swap tofu cutlets in place of chicken cutlets. Rinse the beans thoroughly in clean water and drain them neatly to remove up to 40 percent of the sodium present in them.
- Try New Dishes to Avoid Boredom
With meat, poultry and fish taking up the backseat you can opt for your child’s favorite French fries, pizza, macaroni and cheese. Be watchful of these foods as they are high in fat and calories and low in nutrition content as found in plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. Decide on trying out a new vegetarian dish every week either from the web or you can ask any of your vegetarian friends to share their best vegetarian recipe.
- Go Milky for Balanced Calcium Levels
Keep your calcium levels in check with low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese. These help your child to grow normally and help them with strengthening their bones. The number of servings differ depending on your child’s age. Feed your child with two servings of dairy if your kid is between the age group of 2-3 years, two-and-a-half servings for children aged 4 to 8 years and three servings for older kids and teens. If you do not consume dairy products, fortified soy milk is the best substitute. Find alternative options for your lactose-intolerant kid at www.firsteatright.com.
- Keep a Tab on Iron Levels
Flexitarian diet fulfills all the nutritional requirements except for iron. This is because iron in plant foods is not as readily absorbed as in animal foods such as beef, poultry or fish. A decrease in iron levels may result in your child becoming tired, listless or not concentrating properly. Go for iron-fortified whole-grain cereal for breakfast or snacks. Consume more of iron-rich plant foods such as beans, potatoes and spinach along with foods high in vitamin C, like tomatoes, peppers and orange juice to increase your iron content.
Lastly, don’t try to impose your ideologies only on your kid. Kids follow their parents to the dot. If you are a fan of zucchini fritters, butternut squash fries or mashed cauliflower, your kids will follow suit.