You just have to find vegetable alternatives to the meals you eat now. I have always eaten sandwiches for lunch so now instead of processed lunch meat I eat peanut butter, or hummus, or my favorite is chopped vegetables with vegan mayo. For dinner I cook beans in my crock pot to have with rice or add more vegetables and barley to make a soup. You can take some of your cooked beans and mash them into a veggie meat loaf or veggie burger patti. The easiest to do is buy a meat substitute and cook it. I press and cut tofu into sticks, season and bake, then eat it like it is chicken tenders or fish sticks. Goes great with baked sweet potato fries. You can cut tempeh into slices, sear and add to stir fry. I have found that if I season TVP I can use it in place of hamburger meat in tacos, spaghetti, or chili and my family can't even tell the difference. There is more vegetarian recipes on the internet than you can ever make in your life time. So just pick what looks good and have fun trying new things!
I've found without question that the best way to lead others to a more plant-based diet is by example - to lead with your fork, not your mouth. ~Bernie Wilke
I guess you first have to decide what kind of vegetarian you are going to be. Do you want to include Dairy like milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt? Do you only want to get rid of red meat? Some eat fish and chicken sometimes, too. I like this particular Spark group because they understand that sometimes when you must eat meat or you aren't morally against it and eat it once in a while, you aren't an evil person. I am doing it for health and because it seems to be my personality trend. I have just seemed to go that way since high school. I do like steak and hamburgers, but I don't want them all the time.
I eat mostly Multigrain Cheerios or Total or Wheaties for breakfast. Occasionally, a cream of wheat with fiber and protein. I do eat oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit and sometimes an egg in either of those. I love my skim milk and yogurts. Cheese is my friend, but I eat the 2 % kind.
My lunches are cheese and crackers with fruit and maybe nuts like Blue Diamond Bold Almonds. I love Mexican so, lately I have been having a lot of drained and rinsed canned black beans with fresh avocados, mesclin salad mix, salsa, Simply Kraft light sour cream, tomatoes, corn tortillas with fiber and protein under the broiler to get crispy. I have had apples with peanut butter and greek yogurt or Campbell's Healthy Request tomato soup (410 sodium) with some cheese and crackers and fruit. I love Morning Star black bean or regular burgers and sausage links. The chicken nuggets are ok, I haven't tried the buffalo ones yet. The chicken patties are ok, too. My family loves a breakfast sandwich with the links, an Egglands Best egg, some cheese and Thomas Everything bagel thin!!
I use the nutrition tracker and enter as I go because my life is not predictable. If you can plan ahead the the meal planner is for you. You can set the tracker to have a scale for limits on your protein, calories, fat, carbs and even more things like fiber, sodium and others, too. I love this site!!
I was living the life last summer with the help of a UPick Farm. You can look back at my blogs during the summer for not only ideas, but pictures. Here are my basic helpful suggestions:
Stirfries - a bunch of vegetables with some nuts for flavor Hot Salad - a bunch of greens tossed with a fruit dressing (mango, berries etc with some balsamic vinegar, with some hot topping - depending upon your type of veg trend poached egg flavored with smoky paprika,or eggplant and squash with goat cheese, or marinated tofu Fruit Smoothies with protein powder (vegan you can use rice) "dip tray" - tons of sliced, peppers, cucumbers, etc with homemade hummus Peanut butter and fresh fruit sandwiches - sliced strawberries are the best! Ratatouille - make a base of tomatoes, red wine and onions - reduce and then put over the top summer squash, eggplant and zucchini Mushroom stroganoff (Alton Brown has a great one, use UNO instead of sour cream)
Have fun....this is the best adventure, trust me the flavors of cooking with vegetables is the best. Today I made a crock pot stew with red onions, potatoes, red peppers, mushrooms, buttercup squash and a dash of worchestershire sauce and applesauce....trust me I'm not missing the meat.
Way to go with your lifestyle change goals! One idea is that you an choose a 'menu plan' option when you use the 'Nutrition Tracker' option on SparkPeople (under 'My Trackers'). You can choose a plan with no meat if you like. That's just one idea that I thought I'd share with you.
I am trying to meet a weight loss goal of 33 pounds in three months and part of that goal is to try the vegetarian diet plan. I've never done it and I have no clue as to what foods to buy or where to start. Help please with a decent meal plan would be nice...any input...??
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