Although the number of vegans across the UK has soared exponentially in the past decade, those following a vegan diet can often find it somewhat challenging to maintain balanced meals. Many shops have limited options, and the vegan choices are often filled with carbs and sugar.
Vegans looking to keep their diet must take careful note of the nutrients they get from their food. Here, are some tips vegans can follow to maintain the healthiest diet possible
1. Consume some calcium
Although in our modern society the mineral is thought to be only found in dairy products such as yoghurt and milk, calcium is abundant in a wide assortment of green, leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, rocket watercress, kale, broccoli, seaweed or parsley. Calcium can also be found in almonds, chickpeas and kidney beans, as well as fortified foods such as tofu and fortified orange juice.
2. Thrive on a plant based diet
Many people don;t dedicate enough time to planning their meals, and vegans are no exception. Filling shopping baskets with easy-to-grab, starchy items – such as pasta, chips and bread will do nothing for your health or waistline.
Strive to eat healthier, whole foods to give their body the vital nutrients and antioxidants it needs. Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, berries, whole grains and nuts will keep meal times exciting and make sure that you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs.
3. Increase your iron absorption
Iron deficiency is a common condition among vegans because most are not swapping red meat with iron rich plant-based alternatives. It’s a common mistake to make
The best way to prevent the deficiency is by eating plenty of whole grains and legumes, as these are packed with iron. It’s also sensible to consume foods with sources of Vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, cabbage and leafy greens, as this dramatically improves the rate at which your body absorbs iron.
4. You can still eat out
Any vegan will know that it’s a challenge to find restaurants which offer vegan-friendly foods. But nowadays, leading restaurant chains and even fast-food places are starting to offer vegan options on their menus. Customisation is key, so ask for meat to be removed from an otherwise perfect pasta dish – or go straight for the “I’m allergic to dairy and eggs” excuse most vegans know all too well.
5. The internet is your friend
There are so many ingredients and additives that are not suitable for vegans – and unfortunately, not all vegans are aware of them. Today, there are lots of websites, devices and apps which can support and guide vegans with their food choices. Here are a few:
http://www.barnivore.com/ – use this site to check if your favourite brands of alcohol are vegan/vegetarian-friendly.
http://isitvegan.net/ – use this app or website to scan barcodes and let their databases tell you if its safe to consume.
https://www.happycow.net/ – a real life saver! This website will take your location and tell you the nearest vegan and vegetarian resteraunts near you.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? Let us know using the comment section on this article.