Thinking of making the meat-free switch? Here’s how to go vegetarian safely and sustainably.
Vegetarian diets and sustainable living are trending these days. Before you jump in head first, let these tips guide you on following a vegetarian diet. They will ensure you start on the right footing, and make your vegetarianism plan easier to sustain in the long run.
Track your intake
While tracking of calories is not always recommended as obsessing over them can lead to unhealthy eating habits, it’s good to have a rough idea of your food intake when you first make the vegetarian transition.
This is because veggies are less dense than meat, so you can eat a giant bowl of salad but still consume fewer calories than if you had a steak. Many first-time vegetarians end up under-eating and feeling lethargic because they are unaware.
(Also read: 6 Common Vegetarian Diet Mistakes You’re Making)
Don’t just go for meat alternatives
Meat alternatives provide you with a familiar taste that allows you to recreate your favourite meals. They are good in boosting your calorie intake, but they might not always be nutritionally beneficial.
If you’re craving a meaty texture or taste, limit your intake to once or twice a week. Remember that piling up on processed foods is never a good idea. You can also try recreating your favourite meals using vegetables.
Make your own food
On the topic of recreating meals, it’s a good practice to cook at home as you’ll know what you’re really putting into your body. It is a common misconception that being vegetarian or vegan is expensive – it becomes a costly affair when people opt for fancy cafes and organic food.
Buying your vegetables at a grocery store is much cheaper, and you’ll be able to have fun experimenting in your own kitchen.
(Also read: Recipe: Vegetarian Dhokla Tarka and Chutney Dip)
Be kind to yourself
Last but not least, don’t be too hard on yourself. You may slip up a few times, but you’ll learn from it. For instance, how to better gauge your portions if you’ve been under-eating or overeating.
You’re doing something good for your body and the environment already, so you deserve a big pat on the back!