How to plan great vegetarian
and vegan meals

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It’s easy to plan healthy and balanced vegetarian or vegan meals. If you combine the three essential food groups: protein, carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables, you will automatically create balanced and healthy meals.
 
Here’s how it works:

First choose your protein: beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, fake meat, soya – or cows' – milk products, cheese (vegetarian or vegan) or eggs.

Next, add some carbohydrate: grains (e.g. rice) bread, pasta or potatoes.

Then add some vegetables or fruit to make an appetising meal.

At its simplest, this could be baked beans (protein), toast (carb) and an apple or salad on the side (fruit and veg). As beans and lentils are half protein, half carb, and whole grains also contain useful amounts of protein, they can be counted in both categories, particularly if you boost the protein by adding a few nuts or seeds or a little milk, cheese or yogurt (dairy or soya) to the meal. For example you could choose a bowl of pasta and tomato sauce with a green salad on the side, followed by a yogurt, for a really healthy meal.

Of course some dishes, such as a good homemade pizza, contain all the food groups: cheese for protein, the base of the pizza for carbs and, for vegetables, the tomato and onion in the sauce, and vegetables in the topping. By ticking each food group you know that you’re getting a balanced meal. Planning meals is fun when you build them up in this way.
 
Breakfasts
Protein Carbohydrate Fruit and Vegetables
Soya or dairy yogurt Muesli or cereal or wholewheat toast Dried or fresh fruit; fruit or juice
Veggie cooked breakfast: meatless sausages, fried egg of tofu Toast, fried bread or French toast; fried potatoes Grilled tomatoes and mushrooms; fried onions
Soya or dairy milk Muesli or cereal Fresh fruit or juice
Peanut or almond butter Wholewheat toast Banana or fruit juice
Scrambled egg or scrambled tofu Wholewheat or rye toast Grilled tomatoes or fresh orange juice
 
Light Meals
Protein Carbohydrate Fruit and Vegetables
Hummus Pitta bread Tomato, lettuce, grated carrot, olives
Lentil soup Garlic bread Fresh fruit
Felafels and tahini dressing Pitta or other Middle Eastern bread Tomatoes, cucumber and onion
Mushroom and almond pate Crisp fingers of toast Watercress
Veggie burger Burger bun Lettuce, tomato and onion
 
Main Meals
Protein
Carbohydrate
Fruit and Vegetables
Ginger-marinated tofu
Cooked noodles
Stir-fried vegetables
Spicy lentil dahl
Brown basmati rice
Spiced spinach, fresh tomato, onion and coriander chutney
Red bean chilli
Baked potato or couscous
Green salad or fruit salad for dessert
Lentil bolognaise sauce including tomato and onion
Spaghetti
Vegetables included in sauce and maybe fruit for dessert
Cheese or cooked Puy lentils
Couscous, or potatoes added to vegetables
Roasted vegetables (add the Puy lentils or cheese just before the vegetables have finished cooking)
Homemade pizza topped with vegetarian or vegan cheese
The pizza base
Tomato sauce and vegetable topping pizza and perhaps a salad too

How to go a step further... becoming vegan>>

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