While there are plenty of reasons to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet, whether they are environmental or health related, committing to such a big change can be overwhelming. For most of us, the best way to start is by simply eating less meat, not trying to eliminate it entirely right away. While exploring the versatility of vegetables, chances are you’ll soon find it quite easy to eat even less meat and ultimately eliminate it from your diet completely.
Here are five simple ways to get started on your plant-based journey.
1. Introduce one fixed meatless day in your week
Schedule at least one day a week where you eliminate meat from all meals. During that day, familiarize yourself and your family with new vegetarian or vegan recipes and possibly try out meat substitutes. Put the emphasis on whole ingredients and try to eat as minimally processed as possible.
2. Get inspired
While you might find it difficult to imagine a meal without meat, there are so many sources available to gain knowledge, encouragement, and a whole new perspective on plant-based cooking and eating. Gain inspiration for vegetarian and vegan dishes by eating out or preparing recipes yourself. Buy a cookbook or look online for recipes.
3. Make plants the star of your dish
If you don’t want to make the switch all at once, reduce the amount of meat by putting more emphasis on the vegetables. Think of the vegetables and grains as more than side dishes, and put more effort in their preparation. As you can, move toward them as more than just meat substitutes.
4. Set realistic goals
Eliminating meat right away is not easy. A better option for many is to phase out categories gradually. Start by cutting out red meat and then continue on to other types. Once you’ve eliminated a few things, maybe you’ll be ready to try eating completely vegetarian for a week. For some, it’s not that difficult at all!
5. It's all about planning and preparing
Planning ahead will make it easier to avoid falling back on meat-based dishes. The better prepared you are to cook plant-based recipes and then complete meals, the less likely you will be tempted by meat or even junk food.