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How to Eat Vegetarian for the New US Department of Health Dietary Guidelines

By mahir | February 2, 2011

Every five years the US Department of Health issues a set of dietary guidelines.  This year’s guidelines have been controversial, especially because of one piece of advice: eat less.  It can be difficult to change your eating patterns, but I think a few kitchen adjustments can adopt guidelines from the report, and improve your health.

You don’t have to go hungry to consume fewer calories.  Vegetables and other nutrient-dense whole foods fill you up, and keep you full longer.  Compose a healthy, lower calorie, vegetarian diet with vegetables, fruit, whole grains, eggs, beans, peas and low-fat dairy products.

The new guidelines suggest that have your plate should be composed of fruit and vegetables.  It may seem like a lot, but a meal composed of whole grains, beans or eggs for protein, and vegetables is filling, low calorie and super flavorful.  Use solid fats and cheese sparingly, but there’s no reason to give them up all together.  As a garnish, many flavorful high-fat foods impart the same desirable tastes to your meal.

Here are some easy and delicious vegetarian meal ideas that will have you following the new dietary guidelines and probably reducing your waistline, as well.

*Roasted Beets and Carrots with Quinoa, topped with crumbled blue cheese, toasted almonds, and a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil
*Sauteed Swiss Chard (or any dark, leafy green) and Cannelini beans on top of pearl barley
*Roasted Butternut Squash, Yukon Gold potatoes, and garlic on top of brown rice (make extra for a leftover breakfast hash.  Reheat and top with a fried egg.)
* Canned Black Beans and steamed sweet potato mixed with cooked Amaranth
* Split Pea soup with cooked farro stirred in at the end

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