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Janel, a Registered Dietitian who follows a vegetarian diet, promotes no-nonsense, plant-based cooking so that eating is both healthful and enjoyable. Janel has a master’s degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University in Boston.

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Janel's Vegetarian Kitchen
by Janel Ovrut, MS, RD, LDN

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Vegetarian diets are often touted for their many health benefits, including high nutrient content, and low saturated fat and cholesterol foods. It can also be a beneficial diet for weight loss.

While this may be a nice perk, it can only be a result of a healthy vegetarian diet. One that focuses on – you guessed it – vegetables. Also important are fruits, whole grains, lean protein, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Plant-based foods are naturally low in calories and fat, and high in water volume and fiber. These factors help load you up on fewer calories so you can eat filling foods that won't fill you out.

However, there are foods that fit in a vegetarian diet that can also significantly contribute to weight gain, such as high calorie and fatty dairy products, or large quantities of pasta and peanut butter. A vegetarian diet could consist of grilled cheese, pizza, nachos, chocolate and French fries, but it won't help the numbers on the scale go down or improve your health.

Vegetarian diets should be planned carefully to make sure they are balanced and nutritious.

Choose a meal plan that largely consists of fruits and vegetables to fill you up with nutrients, water, protein and fiber. Eat lean sources of protein like beans, legumes and soy products. Control your consumption of higher fat and calorie foods such as cheese, nuts, and meat-replacements, and stick with ...    Continue

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