Sugar-free vegetarian diet can be extremely nutritious.

As an expert panellist for I Quit Sugar, here is a post I wrote about eating sugar free as a vegetraian

“Having a sugar-free vegetarian diet is very healthy but if you’re not careful, it’s all too easy to rely on processed foods loaded with empty carbs and “healthy” sugars, like dates.

I was a vegetarian in my early 20s then I fell pregnant and craved roast beef! Now in my 40s, I feel the need to move back to a plant-based diet. There are some challenges with vegetarianism, though. While animal sources are a whole protein, excluding meat from your diet means you need to make suitable substitutes.

To obtain complete protein from plant sources, it’s important to food combine. This means mixing the types of protein that complement each other – for example, nuts with legumes, legumes with beans or beans with nuts. Often young people who have become vegetarian have a diet of hot chips, acai bowls and pasta. They have no idea what a legume is and quickly become deficient in essential nutrients.”

Here are some tips and tricks to be a sugar-free vegetarian from I Quit Sugar experts:

Kelly McCormick, yoga teacher.

“I’m vegetarian and some of my favourite recipes are Meal-In-A-Biscuit Crackers(with avocado or cream cheese, cucumbers and dill), raw veggie sandwiches with hummus and savoury muffins. I also always keep a spoonful of almond butter or coconut oil around to quieten sweet cravings.”

Kim Hudson, 8-Week Program ambassador.

“I find that using eggs, tofu and tempeh in different recipes really help boost protein levels, which minimises the risk of snacking.”

Diana Tencic, food and fitness coach and 8-Week Program expert.

“Although I am not vegetarian, it’s my favourite Meal Plan on the Program. It reinforces how easy being meatless can be and that veggies are a wonderful way of consuming nutritionally dense food.”

Elise McKillop, 8-Week Program ambassador.

“I decided to do the Vegetarian Meal Plan (I’ve done the omnivore Plan three times) as I was looking to introduce my family to more nutrient-dense foods. I can’t wait to try:

  • Cooking vegetarian meals as the main and adding a piece of meat as a side option.
  • Adding herbs and spices, like cumin, garlic and  basil, to the vegetables I know the children like.
  • Increasing nuts, eggs, dairy, tofu, canned beans and tahini in our diet for added protein.”

Nicky Duffell, nutritional therapist.

“I’m not vegetarian but I’m not a great fan of meat so I eat loads of vegetables. It sounds ironic but lots of vegetarians don’t! And, as always, ditch refined foods full of sugar.”

Raj Barker, holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher and 8-Week Program expert.

“I am a vegetarian, and some of my tips include maintaining adequate protein intake through quinoa, beans, seeds, nuts and spirulina; eating half an avocado every day for protein and essential fatty acids; and using fermented tempeh as an awesome meat substitute – it can be marinated, lightly salted and fried in a little oil just like meat!”

Lorna Hankin, I Quit Sugar editor.

“I’ve been vegetarian for almost 23 years. And although I always ate pretty healthily, I munched my way through a LOT of pasta with store-bought jars of sauce. Since quitting sugar I’ve discovered that the most delicious meals are actually the simplest. I make a lot of one-pot wonders, where I throw in a pile of chopped veggies – like pumpkin, carrots, cauliflower and mushrooms – tofu, beans or lentils, homemade “nomato” sauce or pesto, and heaps of herbs and spices.  Embracing full-fat food also means I now eat far more of yummy satiating cheeses, like haloumi. The 8-Week Program vego recipes are pretty incredible, too!”