Tips For Ordering Vegetarian Food

If you’re looking to lose weight, a vegetarian diet might be the way to go. By cutting things like red meat and pork out of your diet, you can substantially cut down on the amount of saturated fat and sodium you consume.

In addition to helping you shed unwanted pounds, a vegetarian diet can also greatly reduce your risk factor for developing serious diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. However, while it is easy to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet when making up your own meals, it’s a little more challenging when eating out. Here are a few tips on how to make healthy eating decisions when ordering vegetarian food.

Avoid High Fat Foods

As pointed out on the American Heart Association’s website, people adhering to a vegetarian diet should be mindful of their fat consumption. While eschewing pork and beef is a solid step in the right direction, you must also be careful not to eat excess amounts of cheese, salad dressing or mayonnaise, as they are all rich in saturated fat. If you’re ordering a vegetarian sandwich, ask the waiter to hold the mayo in favor of some mustard or yogurt sauce.

Don’t Skimp on Nuts

Another important thing to keep in mind when moving to a vegetarian diet is that you’ll need to make up the protein you lose by not eating meat. Cheese and milk are good sources of protein, but because of their high fat content, you’ll want to go easy on dairy. Nuts, and nut derivatives like peanut butter, are high in protein and essential nutrients. Additionally, soy products, such as tofu and soy milk, are packed with protein, as are beans, which are also incredibly versatile. Over the course of the week, you can order a few vegetarian burritos, some vegetarian chili and some vegetarian bean soup and not get sick of beans because they have such distinct flavor profiles.

Don’t Overdo It with Eggs

Another handy tip from the American Heart Association for new vegetarians: Be sure to carefully monitor your intake of eggs. While modern science no longer holds the dim view of them that it once had, they are packed with fat and cholesterol and are best consumed in moderation. And though egg dishes made without the yoke have become popular in recent years, those items lack the zinc that is naturally plentiful in egg yolk. So consider getting your egg white omelette with a side of asparagus or brussels sprouts.

Yogurt is Your Friend

In addition to serving as an excellent alternative to salad dressing and mayonnaise, yogurt is a great vegetarian food. Instead of ordering a piece of chocolate cake or ice cream for dessert, ask for some frozen yogurt instead. It’ll be much lower in fat than the ice cream and has a great deal more calcium than the chocolate cake. Yogurt also pairs well with other heart healthy foods. For example, for a light lunch you could consider some protein packed Greek yogurt with some walnuts on top. As the Mayo Clinic points out, in addition to being a good source of protein, walnuts are also filled with omega-3 fatty acids.

The Right Kind of Pasta

For many new vegetarian converts, pasta will likely be a go to dish because it’s flavorful, filling and doesn’t require the presence of meat. However, when dining out you should make it a point to find out what kind of noodles are used in the pasta dish you’re interested in. Whole-grain noodles are good because they’re rich in vitamins and minerals, as are those made from dried vegetables like spinach. But pasta dishes like spaghetti are made with flour and will be packed with filled with carbohydrates and are low in fiber. If you have the option while dining out, try a pasta dish made with squash noodles. It’s better for you, and it will provide you with new taste sensations.