As a vegetarian, I get asked these two questions a lot:
“How do you stick with your diet?”
“What do you eat?”
I understand why people ask me these questions. After all, I haven’t always been a vegetarian. So, I’ve been on the wondering side, too. To be quite honest, it took me three times to commit to a vegetarian diet. Nonetheless, I’ve succeeded and I will happily tell you how I did it with these following tips.
1. Communication is key. Talk to your loved ones about your decision to be a vegetarian. Keep in mind that everyone is different with various viewpoints. It’s okay to disagree with each other. The important thing is that there is an open line of communication. That way, any guessing games are out the window.
2. Educate yourself. Since you’ll be missing out on meat, it’s beneficial to research which vegetables, or other foods, are a great source of protein. Also, you want to research what kind of meals, quick or complex, you want to make. That way, you won’t find yourself staring at the inside of fridge wondering if you made the right choice. Lastly, research fast food restaurants that provide vegetarian meals or items. This is really helpful when you’re out and get a little hungry but don’t know where to get tasty vegetarian food.
3. Make a meal plan. After you’ve researched your heart out, make a meal plan for the week ahead. This will keep you committed because you’re not going to have to guess what to eat during the day. This is a great way to stick to your preferred budget as well. Fortunately, there are vegetarian meals plans already made public on the internet. Here’s a great example of a great vegetarian meal plan.
Extra tip: Have your meal plan readily available to you. Make a printout and place it on your fridge, take a picture of it on your phone, jot it down in your physical or digital calendar, etc. Whatever works for you. Just make sure you have it at all times to help with any confusion, preparation, and for simple reminders.
4. Order your meals online or by downloading an app. If you want to skip research and planning, that’s fine. Some people are too busy to even grocery shop, let alone make a meal plan. The solution: HelloFresh. You can download the app or place your order online, either way, it’s fast. You select the ‘Veggie Plan’, customize your meals for the week, then your ingredients along with preparation instructions will be sent to your door. It’s really that easy.
5. Bring snacks everywhere you go. This helps feed your hunger. If you’re not hungry, you’re less likely to crave meat. After you get past your cravings (which lasted two weeks for me), you won’t need the snacks anymore; they will just serve as fun treats rather than training materials. Snacks I like to carry around are mini or chopped carrots, apples, celery, pistachios and/or assorted nuts, Cheerios, raw broccoli, crackers, and various granola.
All of these tips have really helped me commit to my vegetarian diet. I only wished I had done the majority of these sooner to help relieve the stress of transitioning from carnivore to herbivore. Remember, if you don’t successfully commit the first time, there’s another chance to give it a try. There are many people just like you trying to accomplish this goal, so you’re not alone in your journey!