It’s veggie time this summer!

Have you been considering dropping red meat for tofu, tempeh or legumes? Before jumping into vegetarian cuisine with your eyes closed, here are a few tips that will introduce you to this type of diet, one meal at a time.

Rule no. 1: Have fun

Why are you going vegetarian? Are you doing it to improve your health, for environmental reasons, or simply to infuse a little variety into your diet?

Don’t just do it to lose weight. Yo-yo and deprivation diets don’t usually work. Life’s too short and you should enjoy every single meal.

Being introduced to vegetarian cooking is like discovering a world of flavours you never knew existed, one that you’re sure to love!

Go into it with an open mind and positive attitude. The recipes you sample should be everything but boring!

Start by being informed

If you want balanced and diverse veggie dishes, do your homework first.

You have to look into how to replace animal proteins by plant-based proteins and make sure your body is still getting all the daily nutrition it needs.

Protein

  • Legumes
  • Cereal
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables

Calcium

  • Soya
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • White kidney beans
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fortified plant-based beverages (soya, cashew, almond)

Iron

Did you know that your body absorbs iron from animal sources better than plant-based iron sources? You should therefore opt for ingredients that are rich in iron and combine them with foods that contain vitamin C to prevent anemia:

  • Legumes
  • Some nuts and seeds
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Tofu
  • Oat flakes
  • Dry fruits
  • Dark chocolate

Omega-3

  • Chia, flax or hemp seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Canola oil

Vitamin B12

  • Milk
  • Cheeses
  • Yogourt
  • Fortified beverages (almond, soya, rice)

Vitamin D

  • Fruits
  • Organic soya
  • Button mushrooms

Vegetarian meals in small doses

Check out stores that specialize in vegetarian cooking before you start preparing your meals. Walk through the aisles to see what options are available.

Still not ready to dive in? Reduce the amount of meat you consume and replace some of it with tofu or tempeh.

These two magic ingredients blend in wonderfully with the flavours of your spaghetti sauce or shepherd’s pie. Even the kids will love it!

Over time, you can add plant-based products like soya, bulgur and legumes. When seasoned right, they are just as tasty as meat.

Go slowly, maybe try one meal a week. Then increase the frequency as you become more familiar with vegetarian cuisine.

A new world on your plate

Opting for a vegetarian diet doesn’t mean you will only be eating salads. Expand your horizons. Experiment!

Jazz up your meals by adding various herbs and spices. Try new sauces.

Is there one ingredient you don’t like? Get rid of it and replace it with something that gets your mouth watering!

Get creative and try out dishes from around the world:

  • Mexico, where vegetarian dishes are marinated in avocado and peppers
  • Italy, with its wide variety of pastas
  • India, and its plethora of flavourful spices
  • Asia, where crunchy vegetables rule the day
  • Mediterranean region, where you can stock up on Omega-3 fatty acids

If you break

The smell of burgers or ribs too hard to resist? Just give in! It’s ok to eat a delicious meat dish here and there.