- Breakfast: Green Smoothie + Overnight Oats
- Snack: Post-workout protein + recovery shake
- Lunch: Salad full of delicious toppings like garbanzo beans, quinoa, walnuts, beets, onions, tomatoes, etc.
- Snack: Larabar or Carrots + Crackers + Hummus
- Dinner: Different every night but last night for instance I made a big pot of Minestrone soup (with gluten-free noodles) + a slice of this “Cake“
Some people might like at that and say ,”wow, that’s a lot of food,” but I also am extremely active and do some form of activity/exercise/yoga everyday. I don’t let my body get “starving” because I know exactly what will happen.
Below I’ve outlined my top tips on goin’ veggie, in case you are one of the ones questioning either how in the world could you go vegetarian/vegan or even if you want to consume less meat.
Top Nine Tips on Goin’ Veg
- Don’t give it all up at once. Go slow. For me, it was a long process. I gave up red meat first. A few months went by, I listened to my body, and then gave up chicken and turkey. Next was fish, with the exception of wild caught salmon. And then once I was prepared, I gave up that too. Eggs were the last thing I gave up and I did this by educating myself of the farmed chicken industry. I was in no hurry, just listening to my body and knowing when I was ready. (And just to note, I am lactose intolerant so I stopped consuming dairy (with the exception of Greek yogurt) years before I had any idea I would one day be vegan.)
- Don’s skip on your favorites. If you love Mexican night with your girlfriends, don’t skip on this because “you’re no longer eating chicken quesidillas.” Order veggie quesidillas, veggie fajitas, veggie tacos, etc. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods or you will never last. Just make vegetarian/vegan versions of them.
- Explore recipes. Just as when you were/are a carnivore, food can get boring unless your exploring new meals. Use Pintrest, websites, or buy a vegetarian/vegan cookbook to keep things fun and delicious in the kitchen. Not only that but you will learn about new foods and seasonings.
- Keep staples on hand. Oats, rice, quinoa, frozen fruit, frozen veggies, beans (canned or go ahead and soak dried beans and then freeze them for quick use), nuts and nut butters, etc. This way if you find yourself needing to make a quick meal, you can.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. Don’t let yourself get hungry. This goes for carnivores and herbivores. We all make unhealthy choices when we let ourselves get hungry – and if chicken fingers happen to be the only thing around when you are hungry, chances are you’re eating them. One of my favorites are these roasted chickpeas.
- Increase your water intake. A vegetarian/vegan diet tends to be much higher in fiber than a animal based diet because of the high amount of fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables compared to animal protein which doesn’t contain fiber. With this increase in fiber, more water is needed to keep your GI system moving properly.
- Don’t choose vegetarian junk. French fries are vegetarian. So are potato chips. I’d rather you have a small amount of organic chicken than vegetarian junk. Remember, keep healthy snacks on hand, not junk.
- Think outside of the box. So you’re used to a meat and two (or at least if you’re from the south you are!). Erase that from your mind. Your plate is whatever you want it to be. For me, sometimes it’s a side salad and two sides or other times four sides. Side dishes are your new heroes. Grain + beans + veggie + fruit – a well balanced meal!
- And lastly, know why you are choosing to eat this way and be confident about it. Is it because of health reasons? Is it for preventive reasons? Is it because of animal reasons? Or do you even know why you want to consume less or no meat? If you don’t know this answer, the second someone orders a cheeseburger at lunch, you’ll be saying, “Make that two!”
**And just to note, unless you are a strict vegan, you absolutely CAN get all of the nutrients you need by eating a well-balanced, healthy vegetarian diet so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to make sure, check out this nutrient table that I made to help guide you or consult with a registered dietitian.