National Vegetarian Week 16th -22nd May 2016
National Vegetarian Week kicks off on the 16th until 22nd May. In the UK, it is estimated 2-3% of the population are vegetarian, with a further 5-7% describing themselves as partly vegetarian (avoiding red meat or fish).
Everyone wants and understands the importance of having a healthy balance diet/lifestyle and the benefits it has. The key to following a healthy vegetarian diet (similar to any other diet we should have): eat a wide range of food such as fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, pulses, nuts, seeds and legumes whilst reducing sugar and fat.
It’s very hard to define what a vegetarian is but below is a few different types of vegetarianism:
- Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian- individuals who eat no meat but will consume dairy products and eggs (must be free range).
- Lacto-Vegetarian- individuals who consume dairy products but do not eat meat or eggs.
- Ovo-vegetarian- individuals who consume eggs but do not eat meat or dairy products.
- Piscastarian- individuals who consume eggs, dairy products and fish but not meat.
- Vegans- individuals who do not eat any meat or any other animal products.Why do individuals follow a Vegetarian Diet?
For a number of reasons; these could be improving their health, concerns for the environment, animal welfare, religious reasons, and a dislike for meat or economic reasons.
If we were to compare a omnivores (meat eaters) diet to a varied vegetarian diet, the vegetarians would contains less saturated fat, cholesterol and increased amounts of folate, fibre, antioxidants and are more likely to exceed the recommendation of 5-a-day fruit and vegetable, having more of a beneficial effect on their health. From this, studies have shown that those individuals following a varied vegetarian diet have a lower risk of developing Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Type 2 Diabetes and becoming obesity.
But with any diet individuals follow, there is always either imbalance or a risk of not meeting nutritional requirements- Balance is key! For example: some vegetarians they are at risk of developing deficiencies: Protein, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, Omega 3 and Zinc. This could be due to too extreme diets or the failure to plan out meals according to that individual’s dietary requirements. If in doubt, always have a look at the vegetarian eat well guide for peace of mind.
Click the link to access one of our popular vegetarian dishes in primary schools that you can try at home. I have added variations/ changes to help address deficiencies or imbalances in individual’s diets.Cheesy Leek Pasta Recipe