How to Go Vegetarian: Diet Guide

How to Go Vegetarian: Diet Guide

You will learn about:
  • The different types of vegetarianism
  • How to go vegetarian
  • Pros and cons of being a vegetarian

29 min – Estimated reading time

How to Go Vegetarian: Diet Guide

How to Go Vegetarian: Diet Guide

Whether it’s for animal rights, religion, health issues, or concerns about antibiotics and hormones in livestock, there are many reasons to consider going vegetarian. Becoming a vegetarian is easier than ever thanks to the year-round availability of fresh fruits and veggies, more vegetarian dining options, and the growing influence of vegetarian cultures. 

This guide will give you a complete summary of vegetarianism, from your first shopping list to actual recipes you can start using today. Whether you’re simply curious about vegetarianism or want to jump right in, we’ll give you all the information you need to get started.

What is Vegetarianism?

Vegetarianism is the dietary practice of not eating meat, poultry, fish, and sometimes other animal products. For some, the slaughter of millions of animals every year is the primary reason for going vegetarian, but religion and health reasons can also play a role. About 6-8 million adults in the U.S. do not eat meat, while several million more have eliminated only red meat but still eat chicken or fish. 

Types of Vegetarianism

There are a variety of ways to practice vegetarianism depending on your preferences. Here are the different types of vegetarians:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians do not eat meat but do consume dairy products and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
  • Lacto-vegetarians do eat dairy products but avoid eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarians do eat eggs but not dairy products.
  • Pescatarians do not eat meat, except for fish.
  • Vegans do not eat or use dairy products, eggs, or any products derived from animals.

Vegetarianism has its roots in ancient Greece. Followers of the philosopher Pythagoras adopted his dietary restrictions believing it would increase longevity and promote harmony between animals and man. In Asia, abstaining from meat was a key part of early religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. The word “vegetarian,” however, was officially coined around 1847 in Ramsgate, England when the first vegetarian society was created.

While it may seem like a challenge to become a vegetarian, it’s actually quite simple. There are quite a few misconceptions that people frequently bring up when discussing vegetarian diets and its followers. For instance, many people believe that vegetarians don’t get enough protein; however, eating a variety of plant-based sources of protein is sufficient to fulfill your body’s protein needs. Foods like nuts, beans, soy foods, and seeds provide the body with necessary nutrients. The key to accomplishing proper nutrition as a vegetarian is meal planning and a thorough knowledge of foods’ nutritional content.

Another myth posits that vegetarians are iron-deficient, which is hardly the case. Foods like beans, tofu, and spinach all provide iron. And eating them along with vitamin-C-rich foods will boost absorption of this key nutrient. If you’re not convinced that a vegetarian diet is for you, read on to discover some of the benefits of saying no to meat.

Pros of Going Vegetarian

Plant-based diets have a lot going for them when it comes to your health. If you’re not convinced that you would benefit from becoming vegetarian, here are a number of physical, social and ethical advantages to changing up your diet.

  • Reduced risk for chronic diseases. According to a study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, compared with meat-eaters, vegetarians tend to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol, and there are more vitamins and minerals prevalent in plants. Veggie eaters are also more likely to have lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower Body Mass Index (BMI). All of these indicators are associated with fewer chronic diseases.
  • Fewer cardiac events. The same study concluded that vegetarians are 25 percent less likely to die from heart attacks and heart disease.
  • Cancer protection. Hundreds of studies suggest that eating more veggies and fruits can reduce the risk of developing some cancers including colon cancer, according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch. There’s also evidence that shows that vegetarians have a lower overall incidence of cancer.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that a largely plant-based diet can reduce the risk for diabetes. One study, by the Harvard-based Women’s Health Study, concluded that the risk of diabetes was cut in half for vegetarians.
  • Lower risk of death. Vegetarian diets are associated with a 12 percent lower risk of death from all causes—not just cancer, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The benefits were especially strong for men.
  • Animal rights.A vegetarian diet means contributing less to animal slaughter and suffering.
  • Go green. Your carbon footprint is much smaller with a plant-based diet. It takes three times as much land to support a meat-based diet, along with a whole lot of wasted water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams.
  • Culture-savvy. Vegetarianism will introduce you to a whole host of new recipes from other cultures and can open up your palate to new flavorful experiences.
  • Save some cash. Meat accounts for about 10 percent of Americans’ food spending. Eating fruits and veggies instead of 200 pounds of meat saves about $4,000 per year.

Cons of Going Vegetarian

Vegetarianism has a lot going for it, but it’s not without its downsides. You’ll have to pay a lot more attention to what you’re eating and put in extra time to prep meals. It also won’t be as easy to eat out at restaurants or social events. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Read on and decide for yourself.

  • Bone health. Vegetarians need to pay more attention to getting the right amount of key nutrients for bone health like calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K.
  • Vegetarian junk food. If you fail to follow recommended guidelines on nutrition, becoming a vegetarian won’t improve your health. Soda, pizza, and candy are all technically vegetarian, after all.
  • Not quite cruelty-free. Eating dairy and eggs still contributes to animal suffering and millions of dead chickens and cows per year.
  • Getting your nutrients. It’s important to pay attention to the nutritional content of your food, which can be a bit of a pain. You may need supplements to get vital vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, iron, and zinc.
  • Eating out. Depending on where you live, the options for vegetarian restaurants may be plentiful or slim. If it’s the latter, be prepared to call restaurants ahead of time to ask about their options, or suggest a home-cooked dinner party instead.
  • Body adjustments. Your body may take some time to grow accustomed to plant-based proteins. Drink a lot of water and expect some gassiness.
  • Learning to cook. If you’re someone who makes frequent use of a microwave to make meals, you may need to brush up on your cooking skills to be a successful vegetarian. While there are some frozen and pre-packaged vegetarian foods, they’re sometimes high in sodium or other unhealthy additives.
  • Born-again vegetarian. Preaching the benefits of a plant-based diet is a frequent symptom of becoming vegetarian. You may find yourself posting a lot of links to PETA and Greenpeace, too. Just be prepared for some annoyed looks from friends or reduced “Likes” on your posts.

What Is Your Reason for Going Vegetarian?

Being a vegetarian definitely takes some adjustment and may be difficult, at least at first. So it helps to have one or more strong reasons why you have committed to eating this way. Here are some common reasons that vegetarians cite.

It’s Better for the Planet

Meat production is a major driving force in climate change. Animals raised for meat, particularly cattle, create greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and methane. In fact, meat production produces the same amount of greenhouse gases as every car, airplane, and truck in the world. JBS, the largest meat producer in the world, is responsible for around half as much carbon as fossil fuel companies like Shell or Exxon. 

Raising animals for meat takes up a huge amount of clear land and many forests like the Amazon are being cut down to make room for cattle farms and farms growing cattle feed. Because it is so land-intensive, meat production is inefficient. If everyone switched to a plant-based diet, we would need only a quarter of the farmland that we currently use and would reduce carbon emissions by two-thirds.

Reduce Animal Suffering

The vast majority of the meat we eat is raised in factory farms. These farms are optimized for efficiency, not animal welfare. As a result, animals are crowded into small dark spaces, may have parts of their bodies removed (like beaks for chickens and tails for pigs) and are often sick because they are confined with their own waste. And, of course, the animals suffer when they are slaughtered.

Mitigate the Spread of Illness

Sick animals often pass along contagious infections to each other in their crowded pens. Eating meat from an infected animal can make people sick. When the animal is treated with antibiotics, their meat contributes to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and more virulent forms of illness in humans. 

Trichinosis and salmonella are two diseases that can pass from contaminated meat to humans. Three-quarters of new infectious diseases like COVID, swine flu, and ebola come from animals. Clear-cutting of forests causes habitat loss and brings wild animals closer to humans where they can pass along their diseases.

Improve Health

While meat has certain vital nutrients such as protein, zinc, and vitamins B3 and B12, it also tends to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Red meat, including beef, lamb, pork, goat, veal, and mutton, is particularly high in saturated fat which increases bad cholesterol and can lead to heart disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), processed meat such as salami, bacon, and bologna, is “carcinogenic to humans.”

Studies show that eating a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 62% and can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, specifically colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are all high in fiber, which has many benefits including protecting against cancer, improving digestion and assisting in weight loss and feelings of satiety.  Whole food plant-based diets are rich in vitamins and minerals including antioxidants that boost immune response.

Health Implications

If you are considering going vegetarian for health reasons, great! However, you should know that just cutting out meat from your diet does not automatically make you healthy. There are plenty of health hazards in non-meat foods too. For example, if you replace meat with filling up on pasta, lots of cheese, fried food, soda, baked goods, and processed foods, you will probably not get healthier and you may actually harm your health. Like meat, full-fat dairy and fried food have a significant amount of saturated fat, which can clog your arteries. Sugar and salt can still lead to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure even if you don’t eat meat.

The healthy part of being vegetarian comes from eating fresh vegetables, fruit (preferably fresh, not canned, juiced or dried), whole grains (whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.), legumes and beans and a limited amount of nuts and seeds. These foods are filled with nutrients, including a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, complex carbohydrates, healthy fat and protein. When you eat a balanced diet of these foods, you can meet nearly all of your nutritional needs (although you will still probably need a vitamin B12 supplement).

Will You Lose Weight?

Again, the answer to this question is “it depends.” Weight is regulated by a complex system that includes genetics, physical activity, diet, your gut biome, and many factors that scientists just do not fully understand. However, people who are vegetarians tend to have lower BMIs (body mass index) than meat-eaters. 

Fiber, which is in most of the healthy food choices listed above, improves digestion and helps you to feel more full, and therefore eat less. Vegetables have low caloric density, which means fewer calories for the amount of food. If you cook your veggies with a small amount or no fat, like steaming, most will be pretty low in calories. Starchy foods like beans and legumes, potatoes, corn, high-fat foods like avocado, and high sugar foods like dried fruit should be eaten in moderation if your goal is to lose weight. 

Nutrition

While it is true that vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, there are some vital nutrients that are more common in meat, poultry, and fish. To make sure that you are getting everything that your body needs, pay attention to these nutrients.

  • Protein – Meat, poultry, and fish are all high in protein, but there are also plenty of sources of plant-based protein. These include soy products like tofu and tempeh, seitan which is made from wheat gluten, beans, and legumes. If you are lacto-ovo, you can easily get enough protein from eggs and dairy.
  • Omega 3 fats – These come primarily from fish and seafood, so if you are a pescatarian, you will be fine. However, if you are a full vegetarian, it can be challenging to get enough omega 3 fats. Consider taking a supplement.
  • Vitamin B12 – This essential nutrient is in dairy and eggs, which is good news for lacto-ovo vegetarians. For everybody else, you may be able to get enough via fortified products like alternative milk (almond, soy, rice, oat) or cereals. If you are unsure, you may want to take a supplement.
  • Iron – Red meat is high in iron, but actually Americans get most of their iron from fortified cereals. However, meat from iron is more easily absorbed than plant-sourced iron. To increase absorption, pair with foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruit, broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Also, avoid drinking coffee or tea with iron-rich meals since it reduces absorption. Other tips for upping your iron are to cook in a cast-iron pan, soaking, sprouting, or fermenting grains and legumes and pairing with foods rich in lysine like legumes and quinoa.
NutrientDaily recommendationFoods with nutrient
Protein99g (3.5 ounces)– Eggs – 6 g each
– Dried beans (boiled) – 8 g per 100 g serving
– Green peas – 5 g per 100 g serving
– Tofu – 8 g per 100 g serving
– Lentils – 18 g per 1 cup serving
– Quinoa – 8 g per 1 cup serving
– Mixed nuts – 6 g per handful
– Nut butter – 6 g per tablespoon
– Cottage cheese – 11 g per 100 g serving
– Oats – 6 g per 1 cup serving
– Seeds – 6 g per handful
Omega 3 fats3g– Flax seeds – 2.3 g per tablespoon
– Chia seeds – 5 g per ounce
– Walnuts – .76 g per ounce
– Canola oil – 1.3 g per tablespoon
– Edamame – .3 g per ½ cup serving
Vitamin B122.4mg– 2% milk – 1.3 mg per cup
– Plain fat-free yogurt – 1 mg per 6 oz container
– Fortified cereal – .6 mg per serving
– Cheddar cheese – .5 mg per 1 ½ ounces
– Egg – .5 mg each
Iron14 mg for men and post-menopausal women32 mg for menstruating women
49 mg for pregnant women
– Soybeans – 8.8 mg per cup
Tofu or tempeh – 3 mg for 6 ounces
– Lentils – 6.6 mg per cup cooked
– Chickpeas and black-eyed peas – 5 mg per cup
– Pumpkin seeds – 2 mg per two-tablespoon serving
– Hummus – 3 mg per ½ cup serving
– Leafy greens (spinach, kale) – 4 mg per cooked cup
Unpeeled large potato – 3.2 mg each
– Palm hearts – 4.6 mg per cup

For a 2,000 calorie daily diet, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following daily breakdown for vegetarians:

  • Vegetables – 2 ½ cups
  • Fruits – 2 cups
  • Grains (mostly whole) – 6 ½ ounces
  • Dairy – 3 cups (if you are not eating dairy, you will have to increase the amount of protein and B12 foods you eat)
  • Protein foods – 3 ½ ounces
  • Oils – 27 g

All foods are assumed to be in nutrient-dense form, lean or low-fat, and prepared without added fats, sugars, refined starches, or salt.

How to Go Vegetarian

Getting Started

The best way to adopt a new lifestyle change is to take it slow. The challenges of becoming vegetarian are handled much more easily when you’re making small changes that build up to big ones. Don’t expect to completely abandon meat on day one. It’s much easier to start with a so-called “flexitarian” diet—a ratio of 70 percent plant foods and 30 percent meat. Start with two meatless days per week, then gradually decrease the amount until you’re no longer eating meat. Think of meat as an occasional side dish rather than the main event, and soon you’ll hardly miss it. 

Start experimenting with vegetarian recipes until you find around ten that are your favorites. By having these recipes handy, you will feel prepared with a variety of delicious dishes to make. You will probably find yourself cooking more, so it’s a good idea to get some good knives and cutting boards, a food processor, tofu press, a variety of spices and seasonings, and maybe even grow some fresh herbs. If you have a go-to recipe with meat that you love, try substituting a plant-based food for the meat. For example, you can use soy crumbles to stand in for ground beef. Legumes like lentils and chickpeas are versatile and hearty meat substitutes as well.

Some people like to phase out animal meat gradually. They start by cutting out meat from four-legged animals (cow, lamb, and pig). After they have done that for a while, they eliminate two-legged animals (chicken and turkey) and then finally, fish and seafood. At first, you might want to keep dairy and eggs in your diet for that filling feeling from protein, calcium, and B12. If you want to go vegan later, you can always do that.

Shopping Tips

While shopping at Whole Foods or your local farmer’s market might make you feel cool, it can also take a toll on your budget. Consider shopping at regular chain grocery stores like Aldi or Trader Joe’s and only occasionally buying luxury foodstuffs from places like Whole Foods. Some vegetarians join produce co-ops where they get regular shipments of whatever fresh produce is in season.  Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season is kind to your wallet and also ensures that you are getting produce at its freshest.

You may be tempted to buy all organic vegetables and fruits, but this adds up quickly. If you are concerned about pesticides, limit your organic choices to the “dirty dozen,” foods that are grown with a higher amount of pesticide use:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, mustard greens, collard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell and hot peppers
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

If you’ve got a green thumb, think about starting your own garden—it’s a fun activity that’ll help you save a few bucks and it doesn’t get any fresher than a garden to plate. In particular, try to grow fresh herbs, as these make a huge difference in taste and cost a lot more in the store. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk online; you can buy long-lasting staples like chickpeas, black beans, rice, nuts, and more from Amazon or Costco.

While prepared vegetarian foods in the frozen food aisle are convenient, they can also have a lot of additives including fillers, fat, and salt. Buy a few to use in a pinch, but try to make most of your meals from fresh ingredients. 

Vegetarian Staples

To make meal preparation easier, it helps to keep certain vegetarian staples on hand. Consider buying these staples to make a variety of yummy dishes:

  • Dried red or green lentils – Unlike many dried beans, lentils do not need to be soaked and they cook up pretty quickly. They are a filling addition to many different dishes like curries, soups, and salads.
  • Quinoa and brown rice – These whole grains have protein and fiber and are great as a side dish or to add to burrito bowls or stuffed peppers.
  • Avocados – These fruits are essential for guacamole or avocado toast and a great addition to salads, tacos, and sandwiches.
  • Canned beans (chickpeas, black beans, cannellini beans) – Since dried beans need to soak before being cooked, it is quicker and easier to use canned beans in tacos, chilis, salads, and soups.
  • Tahini – This paste made from sesame seeds can be used to add flavor to grain bowls, make hummus, or as a base for salad dressing.
  • Vegetable stock – Use this as a base for soups and to braise vegetables.
  • Canned peeled tomatoes – Another convenience item, these are great for soups, chili, or pasta dishes.
  • Canned coconut milk – This is a must-have ingredient if you like curries. It’s also a rich addition to rice, smoothies, and chia pudding.
  • Eggs (if you are eating them) – They can be eaten alone hard-boiled or in frittatas or in a bowl of veggie ramen.
  • Tofu – This versatile bean curd takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking. It can be used in practically limitless ways, from stir-frying to baking, grilling, and as a base for miso soup. There are different consistencies, each of which is suitable for different ways of using it.
  • A variety of vegetables – Cauliflower is extremely versatile and can be used as a pizza crust, riced or cooked in florets. Sweet potatoes add bulk and a touch of sweetness to veggie dishes like buddha bowls and burritos. Leafy greens are always good to have on hand too.
  • Onions and fresh garlic – They add a delicious flavor profile to nearly any vegetable dish.
  • Meat substitutes – There are a variety of meat substitutes that can make your transition to vegetarian easier. This includes Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, Gardein, Morningstar Farms and many others in the frozen and meat sections of your grocery store. Just keep in mind that the pre-packaged stuff can be less healthy than the real thing. It’s always important to read the nutritional labels of everything you buy.

Preparing to Be Vegetarian

When embarking on a lifestyle change, it helps to have all of the necessary tools. Consider buying these kitchen tools. 

  • Good knives
  • A knife sharpener
  • Cutting boards
  • Set of mixing bowls of various sizes
  • A colander
  • Food storage containers with air-tight lids
  • Can opener
  • Cast iron skillet
  • Immersion blender and/or regular blender
  • Grater/zester
  • Pressure cooker
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Air fryer
  • Metal strainer
  • Steamer basket
  • Tofu press
  • Salad spinner

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you give in to that tempting, juicy burger, it’s okay. In fact, it may be just what you need to remind yourself why you went vegetarian in the first place. Everyone struggles when they’re trying something new. The important part is being able to get back up, dust yourself off and carry on.

Finding Vegetarian Inspiration

Being vegetarian is more than just eating salad. To really get the full benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, it is important to find and try a variety of different types of recipes. There are delicious vegetarian recipes in many different cuisines including Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Italian, Greek, Lebanese and Mexican. 

Try combining sweet and savory flavors, soft and crunchy textures and a rainbow of colors. Using fresh ingredients can really punch up the flavor. For example, instead of using store-bought salad dressing, create your own by blending oil, vinegar, fresh garlic, fresh herbs, honey, lemon juice and avocado. Experiment with using ingredients you may not have used before like coconut milk, za’atar spice and jackfruit. 

Vegetarian Cookbooks and Blogs

There are many wonderful vegetarian cookbooks on the market. Here are some you might want to check out:

  • The Wicked Healthy Cookbook
  • Sweet Potato Soul: Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul
  • The Oh She Glows Cookbook
  • How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
  • Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion
  • Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking
  • Plenty

You can also find vegetarian recipes online for free. Here are some vegetarian blogs with great recipes.

  • With Food and Love
  • Naturally Ella
  • 101 Cookbooks
  • Cookie and Kate

Eating Out

Too tired to cook? Yes, you can still dine at restaurants, but it’s best to be prepared. Some kinds of restaurants like Argentinian or Brazilian are very focused on meat and may have limited vegetarian choices. Others, like Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian and Middle Eastern usually have plenty of vegetarian dishes. Take a look at the menu online before choosing a restaurant to avoid that awkward moment when you realize that there is nothing there that you can eat.

More and more restaurants are designating dishes on their menus with a “V” for vegetarians to make it easier to choose. Many fast-food restaurants are now offering veggie burgers or veggie sausage patties in addition to their meat-based menu. There are also a selection of restaurants popping up in which you can select items to go together into a bowl. Since you are the one deciding what goes in,  you can ensure that it is all vegetarian. When ordering at a sit-down restaurant, you can specify that you want something to be prepared vegetarian and you may want to ask how dishes are prepared to make sure that none of the ingredients are animal-sourced.

When dining at a friend’s house, the best practice is to bring a vegetarian dish. This takes the pressure off the host and ensures that you have something good to eat and share.

A Day in the Life of a Vegetarian

Not sure if the vegetarian life is for you? Check out these delicious recipes and see if they help change your mind. There’s no reason why vegetarian meals have to be boring; in fact, going vegetarian might just bring out the creativity you never knew you had as an amateur chef. Here are a few recipes simple enough for any vegetarian newbie to make.

Breakfast: Gluten-free banana oat waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups (200 grams) oat flour, certified gluten-free if necessary
  • 3 tablespoons packed coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk of choice (almond milk is a good option)
  • Scant ½ cup melted coconut oil or 7 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Suggested toppings: thinly sliced banana, maple syrup or honey, nut butter and/or toasted nuts, whipped cream or coconut whipped cream
  • Waffle iron required

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, sugar, starch, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Then add the milk, coconut oil or butter, mashed banana, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Stir with a big spoon until combined (the batter will still have a few lumps). Let the batter rest for 10 minutes so the oat flour has time to soak up some of the moisture. Plugin your waffle iron to preheat now (if your iron has a heat setting, set it to medium-dark).
  4. Once 10 minutes is up, give the batter one more, gentle swirl with your spoon. The batter will be pretty thick, but don’t worry! Using a measuring cup, pour batter onto the heated waffle iron, enough to cover the center and most of the central surface area, and close the lid.
  5. Wait to check on the waffles until most of the steam has stopped billowing out the sides (this takes 5 to 6 minutes in a typical waffle maker). Once the waffle is deeply golden and crisp, transfer it to a cooling rack or baking sheet. Don’t stack your waffles on top of each other, or they’ll lose crispness.
  6. If desired, keep your waffles warm by placing them in a 200-degree oven until you’re ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter and serve with desired toppings.

Lunch: Egg fried cauliflower rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, grated or you can cheat and buy the already prepared type
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Few slices of red, green, and yellow pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tamari soya sauce (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a wok or frying pan, add onion and peppers, and fry for 3 minutes.
  2. Next, add cherry tomatoes and frozen peas; stir-fry for further 2 minutes.
  3. Time to add the eggs. Pour the beaten eggs over the veggies and spread them around so all the veg is covered. Don’t stir though, just spread gently around. After half a minute or so, mix the eggs to create a scrambled texture.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the wok and fry for another 4 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked and soft.
  5. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and tamari sauce if using it. Enjoy!

Dinner: Lentil quinoa salad with spinach and citrus

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • ½ cup dry lentils (rinsed, drained, and cooked according to package directions)
  • ½ cup dry quinoa (rinsed, drained, and cooked according to package directions)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2-3 clementines (segmented)
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • ½ cup halved grape tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup raw pecans
  • 4 big handfuls of fresh spinach

For the creamy oil-free balsamic vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Mix all salad ingredients, except spinach, in a medium bowl.
  3. When ready to serve, add one big handful of spinach to individual bowls and top with lentil quinoa mixture. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
  4. Store spinach, lentil quinoa mixture, and vinaigrette all separately if you have leftovers.

Snack ideas: Apples with peanut butter, popcorn, dark chocolate, carrots and hummus, nuts, roasted sunflower seeds, baked pears with walnuts, and avocado toast.

Beverage suggestions: Ginger tea, hot chocolate, kale, and green apple smoothie, coffee, and kombucha.

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