As more and more people become conscious of how a meat-based diet effects our delicate ecosystem, thousands are making the switch to a vegetarian lifestyle. Whether you make the transition by slowly weaning off meat products, or you’ve decided to go cold-turkey (pun intended), there are a few essential foods you should incorporate into your meals to ensure your body stays healthy and nourished. Here are Team Med’s Top 5.


We know that tofu can be a divisive food – some swear by it, and others don’t enjoy the texture. But tofu contains a plethora of nutrients that our bodies need, especially when you’re no longer sourcing them via meat. From tofu comes protein, zinc, iron, and calcium. Better still, tofu is versatile; it can be marinated in all your favourite flavours to suit the cuisine you’re cooking. If you’re poor on time or need a little help creating masterpieces in the kitchen, many supermarkets sell pre-marinated packs of tofu that are ready to be cooked and tossed atop a stir-fry or stirred into a curry.


Struggling to buy a gift for your vegetarian friend? Buy them a bag of lentils and watch their eyes light up (just kidding – please buy them a real gift). These protein- and fibre-rich ingredients are a staple for many vegetarian dishes and can form the base of meals from almost any cuisine. Lentils make a great substitute for meat in Bolognese sauces, can transform a soup into a hearty stew, or form the base of a delicious curry. Even when consumed in small quantities they can be quite filling, so they are a good option for lunches.

Leafy greens

Vegetarian dishes tend to be far more colourful than their meat-based counterparts, and that’s due to the sheer variety of vegetables that are incorporated into them; primarily dark, leafy greens. Spinach, silverbeet, broccoli, and kale are all essential items in the vegetarian’s fridge as they are great sources of iron and antioxidants. The darker the green, the healthier they are! An essential component of everyone’s diet, leafy greens are critical for vegetarians as meat is no longer their main source of iron. Combat the stereotype of an iron-deficient vegetarian by incorporating more iron-rich foods into your meals.


A great snack, or cleverly incorporated into meals, nuts contain healthy fats and protein. Eating foods that are high in natural fats can help your body absorb other nutrients better. Keep a container on your desk at work, or sprinkle them atop a salad or a curry – there are plenty of ways to make nuts part of your daily intake. The ‘healthiness’ of nuts exists on a scale – try almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and cashews to get you started. If you’re consuming nuts through products like peanut or almond butter, keep an eye on the ingredients list for sneaky added ingredients like salt or sugar. Where possible buy brands that don’t have additives.


It may surprise some people, but beans are actually a great source of calcium, particularly black beans, white beans, and soybeans. If you are cutting out dairy as part of your lifestyle, it’s important to substitute that for an alternative source that will contribute to bone strength. Great in cold dishes like salads, or equally delicious in hot dishes, curries, and as a substitute for meat in Mexican dishes, beans are a pretty versatile ingredient.

Vegetarian lifestyles are becoming more and more popular, but make sure you’re still treating your body properly and keeping your immune system fit! Team Medis dedicated to helping Australians stay healthy. To chat with one of our team members, contact us here.