There is a common misconception that all vegetarian dishes are low in fat, calories and other harmful additives like sodium. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, vegetarian meals simply have no meat in them. However, they can still contain high levels of saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup and all the other ingredients that tend to make a dish fattening and unhealthy. Simply put, in order for a vegetarian dish to be low in fat, it has to purposely be made that way.
Even vegetarian meals found in the freezer section of the grocery store or organic store have the same probability of containing all the fat and calories that any other processed food harbors. In order to make sure that you are eating a meal that is low in fat and calories, whether it contains meat or not, you need to eat a balanced diet of healthy fats, good carbohydrates, lots of fiber and protein, and of course include foods that are filled with vitamins and minerals. The healthy function of your body depends on this.
There are some great options for those who are looking to consume low-fat vegetarian meals. Any kind of food can be made low fat if the right ingredients are used. An easy way to make sure your vegetarian meal is low in fat is to use low-fat cheese. The non-fat types don’t melt as easily or taste as good as the low-fat cheeses, so keep that in mind. Other options are to leave out the butter, replace sour cream with Greek yogurt, use applesauce in place of some sugar when baking, and trading in cow’s milk for a less fattening option like soy or rice milk.
You might think that you won’t be as satisfied with a food when the fat is cut out, or it will taste too bland. While this might be the case with some recipes, there is always a way to spruce up a low-fat food. For example you can add avocado to your veggie sandwich instead of mayonnaise. Because it is high in monounsaturated fats, which are good for you, it will leave you even more full and satisfied than the sandwich with mayonnaise. Use egg whites on your salad instead of cheese to help fill you up, or have Greek yogurt with your carrot and celery sticks instead of ranch dressing.
Avoid Processed Foods
So while you can’t always predict the fat count in a processed vegetarian meal, you can count on the fact that if it comes from a can, from the freezer, and many times from a restaurant, it is probably high in fat. But you can avoid being a victim of these convenient processed foods by checking labels before you buy and calling ahead or visiting a particular restaurant website to learn about the nutritional value of their food before dining there. When in doubt, fill up on healthy snacks before dining with friends or family when the ingredients are unknown, as this method can help you succeed in your low-fat diet regimen.