A Healthier Vegetarian Diet
Now before all the vegans and vegetarians drag out their pitchforks and torches, Im not saying that vegetarian or vegan diets are unhealthy. However, one of the main drawbacks of a vegetarian or vegan diet, especially for those of us who spend our free time lunging, lifting and squatting, is the macronutrient profile of most meat-free menus.
Its difficult to get a significant amount of protein as a vegetarian or vegan. Even the most protein-rich vegan/vegetarian-friendly foods leave much to be desired when it comes to protein.
Compare the 8g of protein in 100g of tofu or 9g of protein in 100g of cooked black beans with the 23g of protein in 100g of cod, or 26g of protein in 100g of salmon.
Thats not to say that its impossible to eat a protein-rich diet while being completely meat- and fish-free. But to do so requires a lot of planning and preparing, which requires time that many of us dont have.
Lets say youre an expert planner and youve mastered the vegetarian diet. You manage to fit in all the protein you want and need on a daily basis. There are still some nutrients that unfortunately you just cant get from plant sources. Thankfully, you can get them from fish.
Potential Downsides Of A Vegetarian Diet
While animal-based foods definitely arent a requirement for a healthy diet, some key nutrients do tend to be more abundant in meat or dairy, Heaner says. Its all goodyou just need to pay a little extra attention to getting the following from other sources.
- Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products and fortified foods, like some breakfast cereals. If you arent eating dairy or eggs, both of which have B12 in them, you may want to ask your doctor about popping a multivitamin.
- Calcium is popularly associated with dairy, but vegans can get it in tofu, fortified orange juice, alternative milks, leafy greens like kale, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli.
- Iron can be found in some plant foods like beans, spinach, and raisins. Just note that those contain a form of iron called nonheme, which your body has a harder time absorbing. You can give your body a helping hand by pairing iron-containing foods with fare thats high in vitamin Cfor example, spinach salad with strawberries, or black beans with bell peppers.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines, as well as foods fortified with DHA and EPA, such as eggs, milk, and yogurt. But there are plant foods that contain ALA, which is another type of omega-3s Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and plant oils such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil, contain ALA, which your body can convert to EPA and DHA in small amounts.
How To Become A Pescatarian
Its really as simple as cutting out red meat and poultry and opting for fish and seafood as your main protein sources.
If youre not sure how to start a pescatarian diet on your own, working with a dietician can help you make the transaction. They can go over your diet plan to ensure youre also getting enough fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grainsand, generally eating a balanced diet.
This will help you meet your health goals, too.
If a client is interested in trying out a pescatarian diet, I absolutely recommend they follow it, and I will help them find best practices within the pescatarian framework, Fazio says.
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The pescatarian diet is essentially a vegetarian diet that includes fish and seafood. Meanwhile, a ketogenic diet reduces carbohydrates enter a metabolic state of ketosis.
If youre interested in a very low-carb eating approach and would like to get your nutrition from plant-based foods, fish, and seafood the pescatarian keto diet might work for you.
This article shows you why combining pescatarian and keto diets may be a good idea, a list of foods you can eat, tips for getting started, and a sample meal plan.
A Pescatarian Diet Can Have Drawbacks
The presence of heavy metals and contaminants in marine fish is a global problem. There is a risk of contamination because marine fish account for 92 percent of human consumption, most of it coming from coastal fisheries.
Mercury is found in the environment and bodies of water, and as a result, practically all fish could be a mercury source.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, mercury in fish poses little risk to most people .
However, they urge women who are planning to get pregnant, pregnant women, nursing moms, and young children not to eat certain fish.
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What Is The Pescatarian Diet
The pescatarian diet is a vegetarian diet that includes fish or other aquatic animals. Sometimes people who follow this eating plan are also called pesco-vegetarians or pescetarians.
Besides the inclusion of seafood, there are no strict guidelines that determine what is pescatarian versus what is vegetarian. There are no rules that define how often you need to eat fish to be considered a pescatarian. For example, you may be a vegetarian who only occasionally eats fish, or you may include it in every meal.
Not all pescatarian compliant choices are inherently healthy, so it’s important to make balanced choices. Versions of this eating plan emphasizing nutrient-dense foods can be a healthful way of eating.
Baked Shrimp With Feta And Tomatoes
Heres a quick healthy diet that tastes like one you would order at your favorite seafood restaurant. Baked Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes is ready in less than 30 minutes and has plenty of briny shrimp, salty feta, smoky fire roasted tomatoes and a crispy garlic panko topping.
Serving: ¼ Recipe | Calories: 404kcal |Carbohydrates: 10.7g | Protein: 46.8g | Fat: 18.3g | Saturated Fat: 10.1g | Sodium: 1073mg |
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The Benefits Of A Pescatarian Diet
Eating a pescatarian diet increases your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and bioavailable protein, which reduces your risk for heart disease, Fazio says. The iodine in fish can support thyroid health, too.
Fish is also rich in vitamin D, calcium, iron, potassium, and selenium. Its low in saturated fat and a lean source of protein.
Research shows that pescetarianism can lower your risk for diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight. It also can reduce your risk for some cancers.
Wild fish and seafood also have a lower carbon footprint than red meat, poultry, and dairy. So, going pescatarian is better for the environment.
Baked Wild Sockeye Salmon
This wild sockeye salmon is baked in the oven with an herbed garlic caper citrus crust for an easy, healthy meal. With a bake time of just 10-12 minutes, theres no reason not to make this sockeye salmon recipe part of your weeknight dinner or meal prep rotation!
Calories: 298 | Trans Fat: 0g | Unsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 263mg | Saturated Fat: 2g | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sugar: 0g | Protein: 43g | Total Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Fiber: 0g |
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App For Following The Pescatarian Diet
This food app can help you stay on track with your nutrition as you embark on a new way of eating on the pescatarian diet. Among the features: a food diary, a macronutrient tracker, and integration with fitness apps. Youll also want to tap into their recipe library and save your favorite fish meals for later reference.
Foods To Eat And Avoid On A Pescatarian Diet
The pescatarian diet is not a rigid diet but one that allows for flexibility, says Harbstreet. For instance, while pescatarians generally avoid meat, they may occasionally eat a chicken breast, say, when sharing a family meal. That said, the following are the typical foods that someone may choose to eat and avoid on this diet.
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Pros Of Following A Pescatarian Diet
Pescatarian diets have become one of the most popular diets over the years for weight loss because they are more easily maintained than other options that are highly restrictive. There are a number of pros in turning to this option, including:
Seafood/fish are a good source of lean protein.
Protein is important for weight loss because it helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which can help to reduce cravings and overeating.
Low saturated fat and high omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish and seafood are low in saturated fat which contributes to weight loss while high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve heart health.
Fruits, vegetables, fish/seafood, and whole grains offer nutritional balance.
Foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They can help improve digestion and support the overall health and wellness of a person trying to lose weight. Likewise, these foods generally have low-calorie contents.
A pescatarian diet is easier to maintain long-term than a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Following a vegetarian or vegan diet requires an entire lifestyle change. Those who follow them have to work hard to ensure that all of their nutritional needs are met. With a pescatarian diet, there is much more variety available and it takes less work to meet nutritional guidelines. This makes it more sustainable in the long term.
It produces weight loss results.
What Can You Eat On A Pescatarian Diet
This diet can include the following food items:
- Whole grains and grain products
- Legumes, including beans, lentils, and hummus
- Soy, including tofu and soy sauce
- Nuts and nut butter
- Seeds, including chia and flaxseeds
- Dairy, including yogurt, milk, and cheese
The following items are not included in the diet:
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Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole
Skillet tuna noodle casserole is a 30-minute one-pot tuna casserole in a light cream sauce with crispy Panko topping. Everyday veggies are simmered with tuna, zucchini noodles, broth, and milk, making a creamy real mushroom sauce that uses no canned soup!
Serving: 1cup | Calories: 238kcal | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Protein: 10g | Carbohydrates: 32g | Potassium: 354mg | Sodium: 529mg | Cholesterol: 7mg | Vitamin A: 3006IU | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 176mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Can A Pescatarian Diet Help With Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight on your fitness journey, you need to watch your eating. The pescatarian diet is not a weight-loss crash diet instead, it is a lifestyle. When following the pescatarian diet, you can eat snacks and meals when you want and in your desired portions.
Your meals and portions are essential when looking to shed off some pounds. So, you can reduce your portions and avoid overeating to keep your calorie intake less than calories burnt. Although the diet isnt designed for weight loss, the pescatarian diet emphasizes the consumption of nutrient-dense foods that are low in calories, so it can help with weight loss and weight management. However, you should combine this diet with regular exercise for better weight-loss results.
The pescatarian diet is ideal even for people with health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and celiac disease. Besides, it makes it easy to avoid gluten, linked to conditions. Nonetheless, you should always consult your doctor before beginning the pescatarian diet to ensure the diet offers the nutrients your body needs.
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Spicy Shrimp Tacos With Cilantro Slaw
Spicy shrimp tacos with cilantro slaw are an easy meal to make for dinner. Slaw can be prepped in advance and the shrimp are cooked in minutes. This is one of our favorite easy meal prep ideas !
Serving: 2tacos | Calories: 415kcal | Protein: 21g | Fat: 22g | Carbohydrates: 35g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 4g |
Teriyaki Salmon Buddha Bowl
Quick and easy sheet pan teriyaki salmon buddha bowl recipe. This meal prep is full of bright flavors and fresh veggies that will leave you feeling energized and satisfied. These cooked salmon poke bowls are coated in a homemade, sugar free teriyaki sauce and served with edamame, brown rice, and crispy roasted broccoli.
The teriyaki sauce adds a savory taste, while the salmon provides lean protein.
This recipe is a great way to use up leftover rice and salmon. Its also a great way to start your week with a new batch of fish. It serves two people and takes about 30 minutes to prepare.
Calories: 345kcal, Fats: 9 g, Carbs: 29 g, Protein: 26 g, Iron 3 mg, vitamin c: 21 mg, Trans Fat: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 5514IU, Cholesterol: 47mg, Vitamin C: 22mg, Sodium: 642mg Fiber: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Iron: 3mg, Potassium: 910mg
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Are There Any Downfalls To The Pescatarian Diet
If you are a red meat and potatoes kind of person, then you may not be too keen on the idea of going pescatarian however, there are certainly some alternatives that will satisfy your hunger.
Because a pescatarian diet includes a high amount of seafood, there may be a higher risk of exposure to certain toxic chemicals, including mercury, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls . Reports have found that nearly half of the fish being sold in America today are actually less expensive, potentially harmful fish that have been deliberately mislabeled as a higher quality, more sought-after fish.
These cheaper substitutes are fed inferior food, which negatively affects their omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content and are frequently riddled with contaminants, toxins, and allergens, which can also cause potential health problems.
My recommendation would be to find a reputable source for obtaining your seafood, and if possible, shop local.
Dont Forget About Shellfish
When most people think of the pescatarian diet they automatically think of fish. But shellfish have lots of nutritional benefits that shouldnt be overlooked. There are two types of shellfish:
Like many types of fish, shellfish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Theyre low in fat , contain a significant amount of protein, and are excellent sources of copper, vitamin B-12 and zinc. Shellfish are also usually low in mercury .
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Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut With Mango Sauce
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a Hawaiian dish is macadamia nuts. This Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut with Mango Sauce recipe is excellent for a weekend brunch or as a main course for dinner. Halibut is a light flakey white fish with a mild flavor. Its out of this world when crusted in macadamia nuts and served with a sweet mango sauce!
The fish takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, so its perfect for those days when you just want something simple and healthy. If you want to make your meal more substantial, add some grilled veggies or quinoa on the side.
Serving: 4 | Calories: 496kcal | Iron: 6mg | Carbohydrates: 23g | Calcium: 104mg | Fat: 35g | Fiber: 2g | Protein: 27g
Drawbacks Of A Pescatarian Diet
As with many things in life, you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. Fish and seafood are no exception. For instance, some types of fish, like tuna, swordfish, and tilefish, have moderate to high levels of mercury.
Mercury is a heavy metal that can cause health problems, especially for babies and children. That’s why the government recommends that young children, along with women of childbearing age or who are pregnant or breastfeeding, mostly eat fish that’s low in mercury. If you go pescatarian, consider choosing lower-mercury types of fish, like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and lake trout.
Getting rid of red meat from your diet may rob you of iron, especially if you’re a woman who’s menstruating. You can get iron from other sources, like dark leafy greens, tofu, and lentils. Manufacturers also add it to some foods, like cereal. But it’s always good to talk to your doctor before starting a new diet to make sure you cover all your nutritional bases.
Keep in mind that food that’s labeled “meat-free” or “vegetarian” isn’t automatically healthy. It can still be high in sugar and fat, especially if it’s processed. That’s why eating unprocessed foods as often as possible is the best way to go — no matter what type of diet you follow.
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Why A Pescatarian Diet Is Better For The Environment
Reducing meat consumption has been shown to have a beneficial environmental impact, says Jenna. In fact, findings from an EAT Lancet study found foods that harm our health are also those that most harm the planet.
The most damaging food of all is red meat, like beef and lamb. For us, eating too much red meat can increase your risk of serious illnesses, like cancer, heart disease and stroke, and when it comes to our environment the figures are alarming. The study found, for example, that producing just 100g of beef results in 105kg of greenhouse gases those emissions that are responsible for the greenhouse effect which has led to global warming. Thats almost as many greenhouse gases as flying from London to Paris would produce.
In order to optimise environmental impact its recommended to switch animal-based foods for plant food sources, says Jenna. The Pescatarian diet may be slightly more beneficial for animal welfare although it still encompasses dairy and animal-based products. Therefore, individuals with an ethical concern should generate their own views.