How to make vegetarian diet more fun and sustainable?

Yes… I know a reduction in the consumption of animal products is a positive thing for our planet and all of us. Like what the latest research from the University of Oxford illustrated, more than 80% of farmland is used for livestock but it produces just 18% of food calories and 37% of protein. However, after doing it for awhile, the food selection seems limited and “boring”. To make it more fun and sustainable, I’ve recently tried exploring the alternatives to noodles/pastas which are considered the core part of our diet. It works for me and would like to share these options with you!

  1. Spaghetti Squash — It looks like pasta and has a texture like pasta. It is a nutrient-dense food with high component of key vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene and folate. It also serves as a good source of fibre. It is a good stand-in for pasta and goes particularly well with tomatoes, cheese, garlic, basil, mushrooms, etc. Put your favourite ingredients on the built-in bowl and place them in the oven — you’ll love it!

2. Spiralized Vegetables. I’ve got myself a spiralizer recently to make myself vegetable “pasta”. It works particularly well with carrots, beetroot, cucumber, etc. My friends who want to pursue a flexitarian diet find it a good starting point for them! Sometimes you just need to be more creative in finding ways that work for you!

3. Sprouts. These are plants’ first tender stems. They contain high level of folate, magnesium and vitamin K, and lower levels of anti-nutrients, making it easier for your body to absorb all the nutrients. Just boil them and put your favourite sauce on top!

4. Shirataki Noodles. This is my favorite! These are long, white noodles. They are often called miracle noodles or konjac noodles. They’re made from glucomannan, a type of fiber that comes from the root of the konjac plant. Konjac grows in Japan, China and Southeast Asia. It contains very few digestible carbs — but most of its carbs come from glucomannan fiber. Shirataki noodles contain a lot of water. In fact, they are about 97% water and 3% glucomannan fiber.

A variety called tofu shirataki noodles is very similar to traditional shirataki noodles, but with added tofu that provides a few additional calories and a small number of digestible carbs.

There are also other options like cauliflower couscous and celeriac couscous that are often offered at salad shops. These are all the options that have kept me discipline on my journey towards a more sustainable diet! Will continue to explore and share more!

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