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Transitioning to a Vegetarian Diet

Most of us eat the same foods and the same meals week after week. This actually makes transitioning to a vegetarian diet a somewhat easy task.  One approach is to write down what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for one week.  Decide how fast a transition you want to make and go from there.  You may want to transition at a slower pace and start with just one day a week. A different approach is to eat vegetarian for one meal a day.

Let’s start with dinner. Some examples of what you may be eating for dinner are: spaghetti with meat sauce, beef burritos, hamburgers, chicken stir-fry, a turkey sub, cheesesteaks and hot dogs and baked beans with bacon.

Simple vegetarian meals to replace these dinners are: spaghetti with marinara sauce, bean burritos, veggie burger, tofu stir-fry, a sub with turkey “deli slices,” seitan cheesesteaks and tofu pups with vegetarian baked beans. Along with these quick easy substitutions include a variety of healthy vegetarian foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.

Make your weekly shopping list substituting your old favorites with your new ones. The next week change your lunches and the following week change your breakfasts.  In three weeks you have transitioned to a vegetarian diet.

A slower approach to transition to vegetarianism is to eat vegetarian one day a week or even one meal a week. The continuum of health tells us it is better to embrace small changes and stick with them than it is to take on too much and revert back to old habits.

Other suggestions to help with your transition: visit recipe sites; try one new recipe a week, go vegetarian with a friend, start frequenting the produce aisle in your favorite grocery store, visit health food stores for alternatives to meat, subscribe to Vegetarian Times or Veg News and join or start a local vegetarian group.

More suggestions to support your transition are to try the vegetarian option at your favorite restaurant, check out cookbooks at the library and host a vegetarian potluck.

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