Are you a vegetarian? Are you looking to incorporate more plant-based meals and snacks into your routine?
If so, nuts, seeds and dried fruit might just become your new best friend!
What is a vegetarian?
Simply put, a vegetarian is someone who does not consume any kind of meat, be it from land or sea.
Someone who follows a vegetarian diet primarily eats plant-based foods including fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains. Some vegetarians also consume eggs, dairy products and honey. A common misconception is that someone who eats fish is a vegetarian, technically as fish are a living animal with a nervous system they are not considered part of the vegetarian diet. Someone who does not eat land animal meat but does eat fish is considered a pescatarian.
Some of the different types of vegetarianism are:
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians – eat both dairy products and eggs; this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
- Lacto-vegetarians – eat dairy products but avoid eggs.
- Ovo-vegetarian – eat eggs but not dairy products.
- Vegan – while technically veganism is its own diet, it falls under and in some ways is similar to but more restrictive than a vegetarian diet. Someone who follows a vegan diet does not eat dairy products, eggs or any other products which are derived from or made by animals.
This just names a few of the most common vegetarian diets!
Despite the benefits of being a vegetarian, just like with any diet, you need to be careful you are meeting your nutritional needs. There are some nutrients that need special attention on this diet so to not become deficient. These include protein, iron, zinc, calcium, omega-3, vitamin E and fats, to name a few. Eating nuts and seeds regularly can help vegetarians to meet these requirements quite easily. Nuts and seeds are one of the best sources of good quality fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which you definitely don’t want to cut back on. They’re also high in fibre and a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals, and can also provide complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.
Adding various kinds of nuts and seeds to your diet, due to their nutrient-dense nature, makes a significant contribution to a vegetarian lifestyle or even to supplement a more “traditional” diet.
If this is your lifestyle choice then we cannot forget the powerhouse seed, the delicious, soft, buttery hemp seed. These little seeds are so mighty in nutrition, it is no wonder they have been referred to as the “perfect protein.” They are one of the very few plant proteins that is complete. Not only do they contain all 20 amino acids, but also the nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce.
Dried fruit is also a staple for many vegetarians. It is a super convenient snack or addition to meals and a great source of iron, minerals, vitamins and fibre, plus dried fruit is a great way to satisfy (and sometimes justify) your sweet tooth while still providing your body with nutrients it needs!
If you’re already a vegetarian or looking to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet, Rancho Vignola can help you meet your nutritional needs. Here are some ideas for incorporating nuts, seeds and dried fruit into your diet:
- Sprinkle toasted seeds and nuts on salads, vegetable dishes and cooked grains.
- Team dried fruit with nuts and you have a perfect packet of a nutrient-dense snack you can easily travel with that’s full of iron and protein.
- Blend a quarter-cup of nuts into your smoothie.
- Add dried fruit to morning chia puddings or cereal for some added sweetness.
- Make your own nut spreads to put on crackers and biscuits.
- Make your own vegetarian nut burgers, nut breads, soups and more.
Our products can help you to achieve a well-balanced vegetarian diet, meeting your nutritional needs and not leaving you feeling hungry or craving more delicious foods.
Here are some great recipes to inspire your plant-based lifestyle! You can also find all the vegetarian recipes on our website here.