“I’m vegetarian, doesn’t that mean I have a healthy diet?”

It’s true that a vegetarian diet has been associated with reduced chronic disease risk. However, what you eat still matters! A large study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in July 2017 found that people who consume a “healthy” plant-based diet have a lower risk of heart disease than those who consume an “unhealthy” plant-based diet.

Here are some tips for a healthy vegetarian diet: 
– Choose high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils
– Reduce intake of refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, sugar, and sweets
– Include healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil
– Decrease intake of animal fats found in butter, ghee, and full-fat dairy.

Put those tips in action!
– Instead of a large plate full of rice, cut your portion in half and make the other half non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, okra, or zucchini
– Choose brown rice instead of white, or mix it up with a higher-protein and higher-fiber whole grain, such as farro or quinoa
– Drink unsweetened chai, or at least reduce sugar by half (eg from 2 tsp to 1 tsp)
– Snack on fruit instead of sweets. Fruit naturally contains sugar, but it also has fiber and vitamins.

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Content by: Rachelle Mallik, The Food Therapist

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