Switching from a meat-eating diet to a vegetarian one can be hard at the beginning.
At first, when I stopped eating meat, it was confusing because I had no one to give me advice on what to do. But, thanks to my supportive family, I learned how to stay healthy, whilst fulfilling my wish to not eating meat.
Here’s a guide to help anyone struggling with switching to a vegetarian diet…
I made the mistake of not researching what to eat or how much protein I needed before I stopped eating meat. While I learned on the way, it’s definitely a lot easier if you research beforehand what types of food you should use as a subtitle for meat. It’s really important that your body still gets all the nourishment that it needs.
Planning your meals can help the transition to a meat-free lifestyle be easier. Planning your meals in advance will ensure that you’re not eating the same tofu or chickpeas every night. Also, planning your protein intake, at least for a few weeks, will help you to stay healthy.
Another thing to plan is your budget. If you’re buying your own food, as some vegetarian food such as vegetarian chicken can be expensive, while things like tofu and lentils are generally much cheaper.
Change Your Diet Slowly
When I stopped eating meat, I cut it out of my diet all at once. I definitely don’t regret switching to a vegetarian diet, but it could have been so much easier.
Start slow, by choosing vegetarian food when you dining out or having a meat-free day once a week. Over time, you can gradually cut out meat, which makes the transition much easier!
Learn Some Vegetarian Recipes
If you already cook often, you can try different meat substitutes for your current meals. You’ll be able to cut out meat, while still eating what you love.
Alternatively, you can find cheap vegetarian recipes online. SuperValu has a great range of recipes online to check out!
Know Your Body
For some people, they can’t eat a purely vegetarian diet, and that’s okay! Different people need different nutrients. If you feel like you’re not getting enough nutrients, your body isn’t adjusting or you just don’t feel the best, you can switch back to eating meat (Be careful though, eating too much meat after not eating it for a few months can make you sick. Transition back slowly).
Also, if you’re unsure please speak to your GP or look for a local dietitian to advise you. It’s important to say that a vegetarian diet is a lifestyle choice for a number of reasons and shouldn’t be used to crash diet.
It’s totally okay if a vegetarian diet doesn’t work out for you. You can always try to cut out meat consumption in other ways, such as Meatless Mondays or a flexitarian diet!