Do you want to eat more vegetarian? But maybe you crave meat. And truth be told, being vegetarian isn’t the right choice for everyone. But how do you pacify the desire to eat more vegetarian meals if you find it impossible to give up meat.
Full disclosure – I eat a mostly vegetarian diet. That works for me. And I’ve craved vegetables over meat since I was in diapers. But everyone isn’t wired like me. So I don’t think everyone should eat like me.
There are many vegetarians who assume that just because they do well eating vegetarian meals, everyone else will too. But we’re all biochemically unique. Which is probably why we all crave different foods.
So what do you do if you feel like cutting back on meat, but aren’t ready to go “whole hog” with the vegetarian thing? Today we’re going to talk about finding a happy medium between being a carnivore and an herbivore. And how to enjoy more of vegetarian meals without going cold turkey on meat.
But first, what do I mean by meat?
A lot of times people assume that I’m only talking about beef and pork when I say the word meat. Or perhaps I’m also talking about chicken. Some people think of meat as anything that used to be alive and move on its own free will.
In the end, if you would like to cut back on meat, it’s up to you to decide what that means. You can cut back on as little or as much as you’d like. For the purpose of this post, I’m defining a vegetarian diet as no beef, pork, chicken, turkey, seafood, or fish.
And when I talk about cutting back on meat, I mean cutting back on those same foods. But feel free to adapt this information around your own needs. And decide for yourself how you’d like to eat.
So here are some ways to work more vegetarian meals into your diet. You’ll get some of the benefits of being a vegetarian. And you don’t have to give up meat it that doesn’t seem like the right choice for you. And this are also great if you want to transition to a more vegetarian lifestyle.
Limit Meat to One Meal A Day
A great way to bring more vegetarian meals into your diet is to limit yourself to one meat meal a day. This could be any meal you’d like. For the other two meals, you choose vegetarian options.
New vegetarians often don’t get enough protein. Making complete protein from vegetables is a learned skill. But one meal a day of good quality protein should supply enough protein for most people And you then balance this with good sources of vegetarian protein at your other meals.
I love that this let’s you enjoy meat in moderation. But it also potentially gets you to eat many more healthy vegetables, fruit, and good fats. But beware, this is only healthy if you choose whole foods for your vegetarian meals. Fill up on a bunch of fake meats and refined carbs and you lose all the benefits.
Have One Meatless Meal A Week
Many people enjoy having a day of rest from animal consumption. Just think of it as one day of eating “lighter”. What day of the week should this be? Well, that’s up to you. It could be maybe on Monday after the packed, busy weekend. Or Friday as you take a break after a long week.
Again, you want to make this a healthy day – not a day to eat a bunch of pasta. Think of maybe starting with oatmeal with nuts and berries, Have a lunch of a lentil salad with whole grain bread. And dinner could be a vegetable quinoa curry topped with avocado.
Or skip the hard to digest foods like lentils, and focus on a day that is mostly vegetables. You wouldn’t want to eat like this every day. But there’s no harm in doing this once a week. And this gives your whole body, including your digestive system, a day of rest.
Have a 75/25 Split At Mealtimes
Go to a nice restaurant, and the meat portion of the meal will fill the entire plate. But that was never the way things were supposed to be. Meat was meant to be a side dish, kind of where we put the vegetables now. So let’s rethink things.
Have the animal protein take up just 25% of your plate. And fill the rest of your plate with healthy vegetarian foods. This is a great way to add a lot more vegetables to your diet while not giving up entirely on meat.
If you feel good like this, you can play around with it further. Maybe you have meals where meat takes up just a tiny part of your plate. And other meals where it plays a bigger part. This is a great way to transition to a more vegetarian lifestyle while consuming meat as needed.
These are just a few ways to eat more vegetarian meals without giving up meat. You may feel good like this and opt to continue eating in a vegetarian direction. Or you may feel that certain days you need more animal protein. Listen to your body.
But even as a meat eater, it’s good to incorporate some more vegetarian meals into your diet. You won’t go into protein starvation from one meal. Eating vegetarian on occasion is just a different way of thinking about food.
So give this a try. And remember, do it in a healthy way – with a focus on whole, unprocessed foods. It might be different. Your mind might complain at first, But your body will eventually thank you for bringing more of a variety of nutrient rich foods into your diet.