How many times have we heard that dinner should be a light meal, eaten early? This allows you to go to bed having already digested all your food, avoiding interference with your sleep patterns, and means you won’t have consumed a load of calories that you’re not going to use. Today we’d like to show you some light and healthy vegetarian dinners that you’re sure to love.
This is more than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle in which no products of animal origin are consumed, even if the animal doesn’t die in order to produce them (such as in the case of eggs, honey or milk), with animal by-products such as leather, wool or ivory also avoided. When it comes to vegetarian diets, there are many variations (ovolacto-vegetarians, raw vegans, etc).
Anyone can follow a vegetarian diet, even sports people. But it’s crucial to do so properly.
Foods for a healthy dinner
A balanced and healthy dinner should feature:
- Preferably cooked, as this makes them easier to digest. Stewed, in soup, mashed, smashed, grilled, baked…
- Lean protein, such as turkey, chicken, white fish (which is lighter than oily fish) or eggs. Consuming pulses in the evening can lead to indigestion, so it’s better to eat them mashed or as soup. Soy, whether sprouted or in tofu and tempeh, is also a great source of protein.
- Starch or grains. This could be a hunk of bread, preferably wholemeal, or a side portion of rice, or boiled potatoes.
- For dessert, a dairy product – ideally fat-free, or a piece of fruit.
Foods that contain tryptophan (turkey, chicken, bananas, pineapple, avocado, plums, nuts, whole grains, broccoli, cress, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, etc) help us to sleep, because tryptophan boosts the production of melatonin, which regulates our circadian rhythms and aid a good night’s rest.
Light dinner ideas
Today we’d like to show you some light, easy and quick vegetarian dinner ideas, packed full of essential nutrients to make your evening meal healthy as well as tasty.
- Courgette spaghetti with avocado sauce.
To make courgetti you need a spiraliser, julienne peeler or simple grater. Next, mix a small glass of water with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, an avocado, some pine nuts and a few basil leaves. Mix everything using a blender to produce a paste. Put the pasta in a bowl, add the sauce and top with some cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Easy and delicious. Finish with a soya yoghurt.
- Vegan miso soup.
Cook some noodles in boiling water. Stir 3 spoonfuls of miso in 1 litre of boiling water until dissolved. Put to one side. Boil some wakame seaweed for around 5 minutes. Mix the seaweed with the miso water. Add the noodles at the last minute. For dessert, a slice of pineapple.
- Vegan Greek salad.
Chop half a red onion, a cucumber, four tomatoes and some black olives. Add a few cubes of vegan feta cheese (made from tofu marinated in oregano, lemon and vinegar). Make a dressing with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon and oregano. Serve cold. Finish off the meal with a fruit salad.
- Vegetarian pizza.
On a pizza base, spread a tapenade that you’ve whipped up by mashing olives in olive oil. On top add some slices of tomato, garlic powder, and a few spears of green asparagus. Bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes. This pizza is flavour-intense. If you prefer something a little milder, spread tomato paste or sauce on the base, add slices of courgette, green pepper and onion. Sprinkle with oregano and bake.
- Yoghurt with fruit and cereals.
Beat a plant-based yogurt (made from soy or almond milk, for example) and put a little in the bottom of a glass. On top add a layer of sliced banana. Then another layer of yoghurt. Then sliced strawberries, more yoghurt and lastly 2 teaspoons of muesli. Put in the fridge until chilled. This dessert also works great as breakfast.
As your nutritionist about combinations of vegetables and pulses or grains that achieve more complete proteins.
Remember, the more varied your diet, the less risk there is of nutritional deficiencies.
- Content revised by Dr. Trallero.
- Familydoctor.org. American Academy of Family Physicians. Vegan diet: How to get the nutrients you need.
- Mayo Clinic. Vegetarian Diet: How to Get the Best Nutrition.
- Nutrionvegana.org. The vegan healthy eating plate.