Considering becoming a vegetarian? Whether you’re taking the plunge to become healthier, try new flavours, or simply out of pure curiosity, there’s a lot to think about if you’ve been a meat eater for most of your life. The transition isn’t an easy one, which is why being prepared is always the first step to changing your diet, as well as your lifestyle. So, what are our tips for going vegetarian?
What can vegetarians eat? What can't vegetarians eat?
Knowing what to eat as a vegetarian isn’t as simple as meat or no meat. Though becoming a veggie is probably not as tricky as going vegan, it might surprise you to learn that many foods contain animal by-product, which are best to avoid if you want to stick to your new regime. It’s always worth checking certain food items including sweets, alcohol, sugar and cheese for animal by-product ingredients like gelatin, isinglass and rennet. Luckily, most items are usually clearly marked if they’re vegetarian friendly, but it’s always worth a second glance before throwing it in your shopping basket.
Easy Vegetarian Meals
So you’ve decided to become a vegetarian, but don’t know what you’re going to do without bacon on a Saturday morning, or what’s going to fill that steak-shaped hole on your plate. Surprisingly, some of the best vegetarian recipes are the ones you already know, meaning you might not actually have to adapt your taste buds all that much.
Breakfast – Avocado on toast, porridge, vegetarian sausages, boiled eggs – there’re plenty of filling breakfasts for vegetarians, both high in protein and full on flavour.
Dinner – Lentils, quinoa, rice and potatoes are great as filling protein and carbs, while Quorn and tofu can be used as healthy, tasty meat substitutes.
Dessert – Luckily the best course of any meal isn’t affected much by the vegetarian diet. Gelatin is the main thing to watch out for, but most other desserts are fine!
Find more dinner inspiration in our deliciously easy meals range, from spinach and ricotta tortelloni to tomato and mozzarella pizza.
Things to remember
While the main change will be what you’re eating each day, there are also other things to remember that come with the vegetarian lifestyle.
- Nutrition – while largely healthy, it’s important to make sure you replace the protein and energy you’ll miss out on from certain foods. See our 12 months of healthy eating inspiration for more ideas on healthy vegetarian meals.
- Label-checking – no more can you throw any old thing in the basket without a second thought. At least while you get started, some labels may need to be checked before they make it in the basket – but who doesn’t like a good read while shopping? Look out for the right symbols to steer you on your way.
- Go-to dishes – mastering a few quick vegetarian recipes will be your saviour on those busy weekday evenings or on a lazy Sunday. Mushroom stir fry is a great one to get you started. It’s tasty, filling and packed with nutrition, a must-have for your vegetarian repertoire.
Becoming a vegetarian is easy once you get started – even if you’re used to a carnivorous diet. With a little effort and some handy knowledge, you’ll find yourself getting into the swing of things in no time. Start your new diet right, find your local convenience store for all your favourite ingredients.