Making the Switch From Meat to Veggies

Most people have heard at some point that vegetarianism is a healthy lifestyle choice, but a lot of people are afraid to try it. Maybe it seems like there won’t be enough food options, or perhaps giving up a favorite meat is too hard. The good news is that while a lifestyle change is never easy overnight, becoming a vegetarian is not as difficult as it may appear. But if you are looking for vegetarian recipes to get started, we have a bunch to get you started. 

Making the Switch From Meat to Veggies

Identify Your Problem Food

Maybe it’s bacon, maybe it’s barbecue, but there will probably be at least one meat option it seems like you cannot live without. Find a substitute that works for you to address these cravings. If it’s the salty crunch of bacon that you miss, maybe crispy tempeh fills the void. Or perhaps your favorite barbecue dry-rub works well as a seasoning on roasted root vegetables. Look for the flavors and textures you miss in meat and find replacements that help stave off your cravings. You won’t even miss the meat in this Vegetarian Chili recipe. 

Keep the Seasonings You Love

Many people worry that not eating meat means everything will taste bland, but the truth is that most vegetables are packed with flavor. Without the heavier meat flavors, the taste of the veggies shines through. Seasoning also plays a huge role in how food tastes, and it reminds our brains of what flavors we are looking for. By seasoning your vegetarian food with the same spices you used to season your meat with, you may find that the flavors you want are still there — in the spices, not the meat! Roasted Vegetable Frittata Recipe is a great example of a hearty dish with no meat. 

Keep Your Health in Mind

There are a lot of possible side effects of becoming a vegetarian, so it’s good to focus on the benefits, too. Vegetarianism is a great way to be mindful of your health. Not only does it help you lose weight, but a plant-based diet also naturally cuts out harmful fats and boosts your intake of beneficial fibers and nutrients. Not all nutrients are present in every food though, so it’s important to be mindful of what foods you are consuming and what benefit you are getting from them.

Eat Enough Protein

Protein is made up of amino acids. To get the protein your body needs, you have to eat a blend of different types of amino acids. This is why so many food combinations include a grain and a legume, like beans and rice. If you don’t eat enough variety, you’ll be stuck feeling hungry. Craving meat because you are protein-deprived makes switching to a vegetarian diet difficult. When you first become a vegetarian, keep track of what you are eating to make sure you are getting complete proteins in your diet.  Bean and Wild Rice Salad provides protein with whole grains. 

Focus on Your Environmental Impact

As people become more aware of and concerned about humans’ impact on the planet, vegetarianism is becoming a popular choice for sustainability reasons. A vegetarian diet has a smaller carbon footprint than a diet that includes meat. Reminding yourself of the positive impact your choices have on the world around you can help you stick to vegetarianism when meat cravings hit.

There are many delicious, healthy foods available to eat and some great reasons to pick veggies over meat. Both for your own health and the health of the planet, vegetarianism is a great option. With a little support, the switch is achievable. To start your kids on the meatless diet path, Be sure to 5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in Your Kids is a good read. . 



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