Vegetarian Tips & Tricks

Vegetarian Tips & Tricks

Recently I became aware of the existence of World Vegetarian Day. Was anyone else not aware of this annual day of celebration? Funnily enough, around the same time that I found out about this day, I was asked was I vegetarian! The answer is no, I just choose to not to eat meat And why? I don’t consider meat to be a necessity in every meal.

A quick flick through Instagram clearly illustrates the controversy around the health effects of a veggie diet. While some view the herbivorous diet as a cure for all diseases of the heart, others view it as a deadly road to deficiency diseases

Let me tell you something – A careful planned vegetarian diet that only excludes meat products CAN be a nutritionally complete diet! A vegetarian diet CAN be as nutritious as a non-vegetarian diet.

  • ✔ Protein

  • The key role of protein is in growth and repair of muscles, organs, skin and bones. For vegetarians the best sources of protein are beans, nuts, eggs, dairy products (milk/cheese/yogurt), tofu and meat alternatives such as Quorn. By adding at least one of these options to each meal and snack throughout the day you should be able to satisfy your daily protein requirements without the need for supplements.

  • ✔ Iron

  • Iron is a key component of red blood cells and serves in transporting oxygen around the body. The primary sources of iron for vegetarians are green leafy vegetables, whole grains and fortified breads, cereals and milk. To promote iron absorbance a source of vitamin C should be consumed with all iron-containing meals, e.g. oranges, tomatoes, broccoli. Symptoms of low iron include tiredness, cold hands and feet, pale skin and dizziness which are signs of iron deficiency anaemia. Tannins, a component found in tea, can reduce the absorption of iron – Best to wait at least an hour after eating before you have you wee cuppa!

  • 135-v-vegetarian-cobb-salad

    Vegetarian Cobb Salad by DropChef featuring lots of leafy greens like baby kale & rocket.

  • ✔ Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin B12 is important to help prevent another form of anaemia known as pernicious anaemia. This form of anaemia may be considered more serious that iron deficiency anaemia because it affects the nervous system. Symptoms include tiredness, tingling in the hands and feet, impaired balance, and more seriously, confusion and forgetfulness. Vegetarians should obtain Vitamin B12 from dairy products, soya milk and yogurts, eggs and fortified milks, breads and cereals.

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Top tips for a nutritious (and delicious) vegetarian diet

Breakfast is an excellent opportunity to get in a host of . Try adding nuts and seeds or a blob of nut butter to your morning oats for an added protein punch, or maybe peanut butter and banana on toast tickles your fancy. Eating on the go? Never fear!! Whizz up a refreshing fruit smoothie and add in some nuts for protein and health-promoting fats. Cashew nuts are my favourite in smoothies as they give a wonderful smooth and silky texture.

Omelettes are possibly the quickest and easiest lunch to make! They can even be made the night before and then eaten while you’re at work or college!! Pack your omelette with tasty veg and some Quorn or tofu to keep you going until dinner time! Omelettes are great for breakfast too. I often make two at a time! Not so fond of the eggs?? Cook up a big pot of homemade soup at the weekend and freeze in individual portions! Pack your soup with beans and lentils and maybe even some pumpkin seeds to make it the most nutritious and satisfying soup you have ever tasted!!

Use dinner time as your opportunity to show those sceptics that vegetarian meals are not “boring”, “flavourless”, “unsatisfying” – the list of unreasonable descriptors is endless. Go wild with stir-fries, adding Quorn chicken strips or chunks of tofu to your wok with veg. A dash of soy sauce and you’ll feel like you’re in Asia. Or maybe you feel like a burger? Beans, beans are good for your heart! Bean burgers are so tasty that you’ll never guess you’re missing meat. My best bean burgers have been made using chickpeas, red kidney beans or a combination of both.

Vegetable Skewers with Avocado & Couscous. Featuring Yellow Courgette, does this look boring to you!?

Once considered a limitation of eating vegetarian, dining out as a vegetarian is now a feast for the taste buds. Gone are the days of a “salad” aka a bowl of leaves.

Cornucopia on Wicklow Street are “passionate about tasty food and vegetarianism, veganism and wholefoods” and “dedicated to producing fresh delicious food with an emphasis on locally grown and organic produce”. This award-winning restaurant is a winner for any vegetarian looking to dine in the city. And if you the love the food that much (which you will), you’ll be glad to know that Cornucopia have an award-winning cook-book – Cornucopia At Home, which won the inaugural Listowel Food Book of the Year Award 2010.

Just south of the city there’s a town called Greystones; the vegetarian capital of Wicklow in my eyes. Without doubt, the energy and enthusiasm of The Happy Pear has excited the nation and has shown us that, “no meat” does not equal “no fun”. My recommendation when visiting The Happy Pear would have to be the Lentil Dahl, but trust me, everything there looks and smells fantastic. This is an ideal place to refuel after completing the Bray to Greystones coastal walk.

“Our message has always been simple – just eat more veg and add in the healthy stuff rather than taking food out!

A top tip is to try to get in the habit of eating a wholesome breakfast – porridge with some nice toppings, wholegrain toast with smashed avocado and lemon, smoothies. There are so many options that will help get our bodies started off on the right foot for the day ahead!”

Co-founders and award-winning authors, Dave and Steve Flynn of The Happy Pear


For more information on where to eat in Dublin, Lovin Dublin have put together a vegetarian bucket list:

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