Meatless Monday for Beginners

Vegetarian mushrooms chickpea stew in a iron pan and rustic grilled bread on a gray background, top view. Healthy vegetarian food concept
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As vegetarian and vegan diets gain in popularity even some meat-eaters are trying out “Meatless Mondays.” If you’re interested in reducing your consumption of meat, but feel intimidated to start, you’ve come to the right place.

Types of Meat-Free Eaters

“Meat-free” is actually a very broad term that includes a variety of different diets:

  • “Vegan” – no animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs or honey
  • “Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian” – no meat or seafood; does contain dairy and eggs
  • “Lacto Vegetarian” – no meat or seafood; does contain dairy
  • “Ovo Vegetarian” – no meat or seafood; does contain eggs
  • “Flexitarian” – mostly meat- and seafood-free
  • “Pescatarian” – contains no meat and does contain seafood

Getting On Board

If you typically only prepare foods that include meat, it may be hard to break the cycle and get started with meatless meals. Here are three tips to get you going:

  1. Start with What You Know
    Do you already have a few meals you occasionally make that are meatless? Make these more regularly while you ramp up your comfort with vegetarian cooking skills.
  2. Stick with the Fundamentals
    If you’re still learning to cook with tofu, tempeh or seitan, stick to more familiar vegetarian protein staples such as beans, nuts, seeds and lentils.
  3. Keep It Simple
    Easy-to-prepare vegetarian options such as veggie or black-bean burgers are a great way to reduce meat consumption.

Go Online

Find vegetarian inspiration from websites and blogs. Check out Stone Soup’s collection of vegetarian recipes and tips and visit the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.

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Maria Tadic, RD
Maria Tadic, RD, is a registered dietitian currently working in the field of Bariatric Surgery and Nutrition. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. She's a foodie, runner, blogger and self proclaimed home chef! Read more from Maria on her blog, Bean A Foodie, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.