If you’ve been a carnivore all your life, you may not think twice about dishing up a steak for dinner or cooking up some ham for lunch. But more and more people are starting to turn to the vegetarian way of life and now it might just be time for you to do the same.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat every meal in the vegetarian way however transitioning some of your normal meals to a meatless variety can be a wise move.
What are some of the key benefits that vegetarian diets will provide? The main things that you can expect to see include:
- Reduced risk of heart disease. Those who consume a healthy balanced vegetarian diet are often at a lower risk for heart disease than those who are eating a meat focused diet plan
- Improved body weight control. While those who make poor food choices while going vegetarian will not experience any bodyweight control benefits (in fact, it may be the opposite), most people will notice that eating in this manner helps them shed a few pounds and maintain a healthier body weight.
- Lower risk factor for cancer. While again, this will vary based on the specific foods you’re taking in, having less meat in your diet plan typically means fewer carcinogens that could lead to long-term damage and harm
- Animal friendly. Let’s not of course forget the benefit of vegetarian diets being animal friendly. While for some people this matters more than others, it’s still a benefit that can’t be overlooked.
- More energy. Finally, those who consume a balanced vegetarian diet also typically report more energy than their meat eating peers and this could be largely due to the fact they’re keeping their calories in check better. Any time you eat a meal loaded with calories and saturated fat, there is the risk that you are going to experience sluggishness and an overall feeling of tiredness.
The key when adopting the vegetarian way of eating is to ensure that you are eating a balanced diet with all the macros included in. This means getting enough proteins, carbs, and fats. Usually getting enough fats and carbs is not a problem for vegetarians as there are many plant based sources for these macros. Getting enough protein however is a much different story and can be far more trying.
So this said, let’s walk you through a couple recipes that you can put into play in your menu that will promote a vegetarian way of eating without having you shun taste. Many of these are still focused around the typical recipes you’d make with meat but with a few food swaps in place that will help you keep them vegetarian friendly.
Protein Packed Protein Pancakes
If you’re a lover of pancakes, you know that one of the best ways to make them healthier is to add protein powder and balance out those macros. Typical pancakes are sky-high in carbohydrates and have barely any proteins or fats and this is going to result in doing great damage to your waistline.
By making protein pancakes instead, you’ll ease that issue. The problem becomes however is that if you’re trying to eat using a vegetarian approach, you can’t use whey protein powder as it’s a dairy product.
Enter rice protein powder. There are actually many vegetarian friendly protein powders out on the market today and these can be great to use as a substitute to keep the protein high but stay on track with your diet plan.
Let’s give you one recipe that does this so you can get started today.
1 cup rolled oats
1 banana, peeled
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp. Vanilla flavored rice protein powder
1 tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tbsp. Coconut or olive oil for frying the pancakes on the pan.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Then pour the milk in, stirring while you do until the batter is smooth. Pour onto a hot skillet and then cook, flipping at half time. You’ll see bubbles forming on the surface just before they need to be flipped.
Once finished, serve with some sugar free maple syrup or some fresh berries and nut butter.
This is a great way to start your day or can be served at any point as a snack as well.
Tuscan Lentil Stew
Another food you must make use of if you’re trying to go vegetarian is lentils. Lentils are a great option as they’re not only rich in carbohydrates and dietary fiber, but also provide the much needed protein you’re after as well.
Lentils taste great and can work with so many different recipes, so there’s no reason not to start including them in. This tuscan lentil stew recipe is the perfect way to get started and will prove to you just how good this vegetarian protein source can taste.
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 green peppers, diced
1 bunch of Tuscan kale
2 tbsp. Olive oil
1 tbsp. Dried oregano
2 tbsp. Dried basil
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp. Red pepper flakes
1 tsp. Kosher salt
2 28. Oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
Parmesan cheese for garnish
First dice up the onions, peppers and garlic together. Wash the kale and slice it into ribbons.
Next, heat the oil and then pan-fry the onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Mix in the spices.
Add the lentils, water, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then once boiling, turn down and then add in the kale and liquid from the tomatoes. Dice the remaining tomatoes and then add them into the pot. Simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Once finished cooking, top with Parmesan cheese and then serve. This recipe also tastes great reheated so don’t be afraid to put it in the fridge and serve left overs during the week.
So there you have a few vegetarian friendly recipes to get you going on your meal plan. It really doesn’t have to be bland or boring going vegetarian. There are lots of delicious meal ideas you can try out.