Our family is not 100% vegetarian, but we have made a concerted effort to go meatless as often as we can. The truth is, we could all eat more veggies and going meatless once in awhile is definitely not a bad thing. I believe everyone should do what is right for them, and I don’t try to push my way of eating on anyone else. That being said, if you are looking for ways to eat more veggies or meatless meals once in awhile, I’ve got ten easy tips to help you on your way.
TIPS FOR GOING MEATLESS
1 – Transform old favorites by revamping them without the meat. One of my favorite blogs, Oh My Veggies, has a series called “Make It Meatless” where classic recipes get a meatless makeover. Replace chicken, pork, and beef with cauliflower steaks, thick slices of eggplant or squash, substitute legumes and beans in soups, stews, and casseroles. Top pizza with thinly sliced veggies and mushrooms.
2 – Think beyond tofu. I love, love, love tofu. I really do. But there are other vegetarian protein options out there. Seek out veggie burgers and use them in creative ways. (See the slideshow below for some great ideas.) Try tempeh and seitan. Use finely chopped nuts in place of ground meat in tacos. Mushrooms are a popular “meaty” substitute that are incredibly versatile.
3 – Don’t focus on what’s missing, think about what you’re adding. Yes, the term is “meatless,” but think of it as “veggie-full“. Your body will thank you for adding more low calorie, high fiber and nutrient foods into your diet.
4 – Textures and colors are your friends. We eat with our eyes too! I think a common misconception is that vegetarian meals are boring. Oh, not so! Look for or create recipes using a rainbow of colors and different textures. Experiment, experiment, experiment! Pair up your favorite fruits and veggies in new, unexpected ways.
5 – Buy a vegetarian cookbook or magazine. Oh, I can’t tell you how helpful it was to stock up on vegan and vegetarian cookbooks in the beginning. When I started running out of ideas for meatless meals, all I needed to do was flip through my cookbooks and I was instantly inspired.
6 – Behold the power of a salad. Truly, a salad can be more filling than you might think. Load it up with leafy greens, veggies, fruit, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and a little cheese. It takes longer to chew raw food and brains will register that we are full when we are eating slowly. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover odds and ends in the fridge. Roasted veggies make the best salads in the fall.
7 – Go on a little trip around the world without leaving your kitchen. Many of the meals we make are Asian or Southeast Asian because they are typically already vegetarian. But there are also many, many vegetarian recipes from cuisines are the globe too.
8 – Ease into it. Start with one day a week or once a month even. Try one new ingredient or recipe a week. Do it sometimes – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Do some research beforehand. Team up with some friends. Join in on #MeatlessMonday and see what people are making around the web. Don’t make it a chore!
9 – Use veggies that are in season for best flavor and best prices at the grocery store, and learn how to properly cook them. You can add veggies into favorite dishes as another way to sneak some more into your day.
10- Lastly, plan it out, then go shopping…or don’t. Look at your fridge and see what you can put together to create a new dish. Let inspiration take you when you’re standing in the produce section. There are no hard and fast rules. Eating should be fun. You might even be surprised what you can come up with in the moment.
MEALS THAT ARE EASY TO MAKE MEATLESS
-Loaded baked potatoes
-Soups and Stews
-Noodles and pasta
-Pizza and flatbreads
Check out Meatless Main Dishes
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by MorningStar Farms as part of my partnership with Foodie.com. All opinions expressed are my own.