Vegetarian Awareness Month

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According to a poll done by the National Restaurant Association in 2001, vegetarian cuisine is one of the fastest growing cuisines in the United States and Canada. Vegetarian food’s popularity has been attributed to baby boomers’ quest for something new and healthy, for Generation X’s and Y’s concern about the environment and the incorporation of ethnic cuisines, such as Indian and Thai, that use many vegetarian dishes.

Common Vegetarian Styles:
• Semi-Vegetarians - Eat poultry, eggs, fish and dairy products, but avoid red meat. This is perhaps the most mainstream of styles as health conscience individuals lean more toward a plant-based diet.
• Pesco-Vegetarians - Eat fish, eggs and dairy, but avoid poultry in addition to red meat.
• Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians - Eat dairy products and eggs, but no animal meats.
• Vegans - Avoid all foods of animal origin.

Keep It Healthy:
• All individuals, including vegetarians, should be concerned with saturated fat and sodium intake since many vegetarian foods can be high in these.
• A vegan diet must be supplemented with vitamin B12.
• If using eggs, use only the whites; if using poultry, use only the white meat without the skin; if using dairy choose only skim.
• Besides eliminating meat from your diet, you need to consume plenty of vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruits to have a healthy, balanced diet.
• Iron and calcium may be a concern for some vegetarians. Beans, nuts and seeds are good sources, as are fortified products such as cereals and soymilk.
• Dark green vegetables should be included daily on the menu.

Food Group: Servings per day:
Bread and Cereal Group 6-11
1 slice bread, ½ bagel or English muffin, small pita, a tortilla, 1 ounce prepared cereal, 3 crackers, ½ cup cooked pasta, rice or cereal, ½ medium baking potato, 2 bread sticks, 2 cups popped popcorn
Vegetable Group 3-5
½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw vegetables or ¾ cup juice. Starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, etc.) belong in the bread group.
Fruit Group 3-4
1 medium piece of fresh fruit, ½ cup frozen or canned, ¾ cup juice, 2 tablespoons dried fruit
Dairy or Fortified Soy 2-3
1 cup fortified soymilk, 8 ounces fortified soy yogurt, 1 cup skim milk, 8 ounces yogurt, 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese.
Legumes, Tofu, Nuts, Soy 2-3
1 cup cooked peas, beans or lentils, 2 ounces nuts or seeds, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 4 ounces tofu or tempeh, 3 ounce veggie burger (or fish or chicken)
Fats, Oils, Sweets 0
Not essential - use sparingly - Margarine, vegetable oils, veggie salad dressings and mayo, soft drinks, candy, syrups and jelly.

Vegetable Broth
Use this savory stock instead of chicken or meat broth. Make up a batch and freeze it to use as needed. This recipe makes about 1 quart:
1 teaspoon oil
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped carrots
½ cup peeled, diced sweet potatoes
½ cup peeled, diced turnips or parsnips
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 quart water
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup minced fresh dill
• Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil and sauté the onions, celery and carrots until golden, about 5 minutes.
• Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and simmer on low for about 45 minutes.
• Drain; cool; refrigerate for up to one week or freeze up to 6 months.

Veggie Web Sources
By Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE

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