Health Insider Update


Make the Switch: Tips for going Vegetarian

Make the Switch: Tips for going Vegetarian
March 04
10:57 2016
A vegetarian diet has been proven to promote weight loss, but making the switch from a meat-based diet to a plant-based one can be hard. If you are considering vegetarianism as a way to lose weight, keep reading for some helpful tips that will make the transition easier.

Pick a Strategy

Are you the type of person who jumps right into new endeavors? Or do you like to take things slow? Be realistic when it comes to your strategy. If you decide to make a slow switch in diet, make a specific plan. For example, start by eating just one vegetarian meal per day. Gradually increase that number over a span of a month or so.

If you think you can quit meat cold turkey, go for it! But don’t beat yourself up if you fail. A gradual approach can be your plan B.


What happens when you’re craving a burger? The experts recommend fighting cravings with plant-based proteins. Did you know that insufficient protein can lead to sugar cravings? Try these options instead:

• Tempeh
• Protein rich grains such as quinoa and amaranth
• Meat substitutes
• Legumes and beans
• Fortified plant-based milk
• Seeds and nuts

Make Easy Substitutions

You don’t have to give up your favorite foods, but you will have to alter them. Look at it as an opportunity to have fun in the kitchen. Try replacing ingredients in burritos, burgers, and pizza with new ingredients:

• Top your pizzas with grilled vegetables, soy cheese, and spices
• Fill your burritos with lentils or beans
• Grill up a big Portobello mushroom and eat it as a burger.

“Fake meats” are also an option, and have vastly improved in recent years in terms of texture, taste, and appearance. Try topping a veggie burger with your favorite ingredients and see for yourself!

Visit Ethnic Restaurants

Vegetarians often cave when they are faced with a menu from a sports bar or diner. Explore local ethnic restaurants and you’ll find there are lots of vegetarian options on the menu. We suggest the following cuisines:

• South American
• Thai
• Asian
• Indian
• Middle Eastern

Not only is this a great way to explore new foods, but it gives you the opportunity to take family and friends along for the ride!

Meet other Vegetarians

Hanging out with people following the same diet will take a lot of the stress out of meals. Many cities have vegetarian groups and stores (like Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc.) that cater to vegetarians and vegans.

The Internet is also a great place to look for new friends and recipes.

Take a Cooking Class

Speaking of recipes, try taking a cooking class if you’re not familiar with cooking foods like tofu and tempeh.

Keep it Simple

Vegetarian cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few examples:

• Oatmeal with fresh fruit (use almond milk)
• Stir fried vegetables over brown rice
• Bean or lentil soup with vegetables
• Pasta with marinara sauce

Variety is the Spice of Life

vegetarianfood1Instead of sticking with the same five vegetables, try exploring new ones. Did you know most people don’t eat nearly enough veggies? That’s too bad, because vegetables are full of nutrients and fiber – which helps reduce cravings and overeating.

Vegetables should have a spot in every meal, even breakfast. The recommended daily dose of veggies is about 3 cups. Vegetarians typically eat more than this.

When trying new veggies, avoid thick sauces and fried foods. While fried okra might be vegetarian, it certainly won’t help with weight loss. Instead, try stir frying or grilling when exploring new vegetables like eggplant, cabbage, bok choy, and pea pods.



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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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