9. Underestimating the Importance of Meal Planning

Whether you’re cooking at home or dining out, eating vegetarian or vegan requires some extra planning.

Meal plans are especially useful if you’re currently changing your diet to be vegetarian or vegan.

They can help ease your transition and make it easier to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.

When you’re eating out or traveling, advanced meal planning becomes especially important.

Some restaurants offer limited choices for vegetarians, so looking at the menu in advance can help you make informed decisions and select the most nutritious choices available.

Additionally, make it a habit to find a few vegetarian recipes each week and cook them on your own.

SUMMARY:Planning meals ahead of time and knowing what your options are when dining out can ensure you maintain a diverse and balanced diet.

10. Not Eating Enough Protein-Rich Foods

Protein is an essential part of the diet. Your body uses it to help build tissue, create enzymes and produce hormones.

Studies show that eating protein can also promote feelings of fullness, increase muscle mass and reduce cravings (29, 30, 31).

Current recommendations suggest adults should eat at least 0.8 grams of protein per day for every 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight (32).

For example, an individual who is 154 lbs (70 kg) would need approximately 56 grams of protein per day.

If you’re eating animal-based foods, you’ll probably find it easy to fulfill this requirement.

A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of salmon contains 19 grams of protein, while the same amount of roasted chicken provides 27 grams (33, 16).

On the other hand, if you’re following a vegetarian diet, you may need to make a more conscious effort to eat high-protein foods that will help you meet your protein requirements.

There are plenty of plant foods that contain an amount of protein comparable to the amount you’d find in meat. For example, 1 cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein (34).

Beans, lentils, nuts, nut butters, tofu and tempeh can all up your daily protein intake.

Try to incorporate at least one or two of these foods into each meal to make sure you’re getting enough protein.

SUMMARY:Vegetarians should be mindful of protein intake and include one or two servings of high-protein plant foods with each meal.

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