How To Add More Vegetarian Meals Into Your Life

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 13. Holy mackerel tofu that’s a long time! It started out because I just didn’t like meat very much, but over the years it’s become a vehicle for health.

Now, vegetarianism certainly isn’t for everyone—I understand that, for a variety of reasons, eating meat just isn’t for me, but I also understand that, for a variety of reasons, many (most?) people do want to eat meat.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, studies have shown that a vegetarian diet, specifically one rich in fruits and vegetables (yeah, donuts are vegetarian, but they’re certainly not doing your health any favors) can help manage and even prevent type 2 diabetes.

Even if going whole hog carrot isn’t for you, here are some ways to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your rotation.

Eat at least one meatless dinner a week

I know “Meatless Monday” is a thing, so maybe you’ve already tried this, but if you haven’t, why not do it this week? My husband eats meat, but my daughter and I don’t, and last night the whole family had veggie-filled minestrone soup with a side of homemade cornbread. No meat in sight, yet the meat eater of the family was still happy.

Make your favorite meat-centric dishes veggie-centric

Try moving away from the meat/starch model toward meals where the vegetable is the star. Ever heard of cauliflower steak? It’s a thing, for real! Another great idea are tacos filled with tons of sautéed veggies, beans, and your usual salsa and guacamole, or whatever else you like.

Try meat replacements

Yeah, there’s some weird stuff out there, and I know not everyone wants to eat a soy burger. The thing is, the faux meat game has really, really upped the choices available out there, and you’d be surprised at what is offered. In my family we love pre-baked and seasoned tofu: no prep needed, you can just cut it up and put it on a salad or in a sandwich. It’s nice and firm, nothing wobbly about it. There are also lots of faux sausage/meat type products made from grain extracts, which are still high in fiber and have a great texture (try the brand Field Roast).

Try ethnic

There are a whole lotta ethnic dishes out there that don’t have meat in them, but you won’t even miss it because there’s so much flavor! I’m thinking chana masala (an Indian chickpea dish), veggie enchiladas, or any Thai curry dish with just veggies or veggies and tofu. Eating ethnic dishes is how I learned that I actually liked vegetables.

Scour the web

There are soooooooooo many vegetarian blogs and recipes out there now. You can find everything from gluten and dairy free mac and “cheese” to eggplant parmesan to tempeh gyros. It’s all there and you’re guaranteed to like something.

Like all changes to your diet, it can take a while for things to feel natural and normal. Still, if you’re interested in incorporating more fiber and nutrients to your diet, try more vegetarian meals.

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