When we think vegetarian, most of us think of plates piled high with tasteless green stuff. Or worse, we have suffered through this in a vain attempt at losing weight. With this thought roaming free in our minds, we think of vegetarianism as a long term starvation diet or a trip in the fast lane to going broke. As it turns out neither belief is true and you can enjoy foods you love without filing for bankruptcy.
To tackle the first issue of what to eat as a vegetarian, try looking at the big picture instead of the details. So when planning what to stock in your pantry, think in terms of meals. The Happy Cow Vegetarian Guide is a great place to find great recipes to support the lifestyle you are trying to obtain. Look at the recipes you want and then shop for those ingredients. This way you have what you need at your fingertips when you are ready to get started. You will be surprised to find that one of the mainstays of the vegetarian lifestyle are grains and beans not salad greens. And there are a wide variety of them, each with their own flavor. And it cost less to purchase dry beans in bulk than it does to purchase them in cans.
Black Eyed Peas
Chickpeas ( in salads or to make hummus)
Couscous (whole wheat)
We all like a good snack now and again; and the same holds true for vegetarians. Living a healthier lifestlye does not mean you are condemed to a sentence of raw broccoli and carrot sticks. Think trail mix, you know that expensive stuff in the tiny bags that you see in grocery stores? Did you know you could make it yourself, get three times as much and cost less per serving?
Try these for a great mix:
Dry Fruits (apricots, figs, raisins, blueberries, etc.)
Now if you are anything like the average person, you like to have flavorful foods. Nothing will put you off track to a healthy lifestyle than tasteless foods. If you have a green thumb you may want to consider growing your own herb garden. Not only will they dress up your kitchen window, they will kick up the flavor in your foods. For those of us without that special gift, we can still have the same options. Being a vegetarian may also open up your options to things you may never have considered before. By Any Greens Necessary by Tracy Lynn McQuirter offers a wonderful list of herbs and spices that can dress up any dish.
Complementary Condiments Herbs and Spices:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Living the vegetarian lifestyle does not have to mean that you are doomed to a life of lettuce and beets. Gather your resources together so that you can learn about your choices. Understanding your options will make the choice easier and more palatable. “By Any Greens Necessary” provides a great beginners shopping list for the emerging vegetarian. While you are reading that book check out page 175 where there is a terrific recipe for Chocolate Mousse Tarte or look for the recipe All Hail the Kale Salad. You might be surprised to find that many of the dishes you love, have vegetarian alternatives or were inspired by the life to begin with.