I have been mostly vegetarian for 9 months now and it is feeling like a permanent diet. I use a software program to analyze whether I eat nutritiously. Because, you know, I just would, being exacting and all. I ran some numbers on a couple of typical days and thought I would share them. I also compared the two days to what is recommended by the Canada Food Guide (similar to the US Food Pyramid).
If you are thinking about a vegetarian or vegan diet and can’t decide on nutritional grounds, see what you think.
You might have some advice for me, so here is my background info:
- I had set a target weight, which I reached, and have now maintained for over a year. I was able to maintain this weight when I was eating meat regularly, too.
- I work out for an hour 3-4 times a week (mostly cardio) but I am not, by any means, an athlete. I work in public service and I am on my feet/walking around about 1/3 of every work day.
- For the past year, my software program shows I have averaged eating 2350 calories a day. That is a shocking amount, but true!
- The nutrient ratio that seems to work for me is about 60% carbs, 25% fat and 15% protein. I know that others are “all over the map” on this ratio. But one thing is for sure, I will never go paleo!
- In the past year I have had 2 colds but no illnesses.
So with that out of the way, here are a couple of days’ meals and snacks, and how they rate.
Weekday breakfast: Large bowl of bran flakes with raisins and milk
Morning snack: Toasted whole wheat bagel with 4 tsp. peanut butter, and 1 orange
Lunch: Homemade pea and quinoa soup, 10 Triscuits crackers (lower-salt), 1 cup homemade yogurt with 1/2 cup (frozen) blueberries and 2 tsp. maple syrup
Afternoon snack: 1 apple and 2 mini chocolate bars (1/2 oz. each)
Dinner: Large serving of homemade vegetable pot pie made with broccoli, carrots, parsnips, green peppers and white kidney beans with a whole-wheat biscuit crust
Other: 3 large mugs of “half-caff” coffee with milk
How it rates:
- Calories: 2216
- Carbs: 370 g (64% of calories)
- Fats: 57 g (22% of calories)
- Protein: 86 g (14% of calories)
- Calcium: 1445 mg (145% of required)
- Iron: 23 mg (127% of required)
- Fibre: 51 g (204% of required)
- Vitamins D and B12: off the charts because milk is heavily fortified
And here’s how it would look for the Canada Food Guide:
- Grain Servings: 9, all whole grain today
- Milk and Alternates: 2 (milk in cereal, coffee and biscuit crust; yogurt)
- Meat and Alternates: Peanut butter, and beans in veg pie. Probably 1 serving total.
- Fruit: 3 plus raisins
- Vegetables: 6 (3 in soup and 3 in veg pie)
- Other: chocolate, maple syrup, coffee
Weekend breakfast: Large bowl of oatmeal with ground flax, raisins, walnuts and milk; latte made with 6 oz milk
Morning snack: Apple
Lunch: 2 eggs scrambled with basil and olive oil; ½ cup lima beans; 2 whole wheat toast with jam
Afternoon snack: Homemade yogurt with ½ cup (frozen) strawberries and 2 tsp. maple syrup, and 1 orange
Dinner: Large serving of vegetable and chick pea curry over 1 cup of couscous; ¾ cup of ice cream for dessert
Snack: 1 oz milk chocolate
Other: 2 large mugs of “half-caff” coffee with milk
How it rates:
- Calories: 2338
- Carbs: 356 g (59% of calories)
- Fats: 72 g (27% of calories)
- Protein: 90 g (14% of calories)
- Calcium: 1379 mg (138% of required)
- Iron: 25 mg (141% of required)
- Fibre: 34 g (134% of required)
And again in servings:
- Grains: 6, of which 4 were whole grains (not the couscous)
- Milk and Alternates: 3-1/2 including the ice cream
- Meat and Alternates: 1 for the eggs, 1 for the lima beans and chick peas, plus an ounce of walnuts
- Fruit: 3 plus the raisins again
- Vegetables: 3 in the curry
- Other: Jam, maple syrup, chocolate, coffee
If I were going to give myself advice, I would tell myself to drink water!
What would you think of a diet like this?
Note: The software I use is DietPower, which I cannot recommend highly enough if you want to check your nutritional profile. This is not a paid endorsement!