Have you ever thought that you would like to switch to a vegetarian diet, but you don’t know if you could handle never eating meat again?
Why not try it for a week and see how it goes? You might find that you enjoy the variety in foods so much that you don’t even miss meat at all.
You will never know until you try it. Today we are going to talk about the benefits of going vegetarian for a week, and the best way to do it so that you don’t miss meat too much.
Benefits of Going Vegetarian for a Week
There are several benefits to going vegetarian. Even if you only do it for one week, you will notice some of these benefits. A vegetarian diet leads to better health, it is better for the animals, and in a week, you may even lose a couple of pounds.
Here are some of the biggest benefits to going vegetarian.
You do get a lot of protein from meat, but you also end up with a lot of unhealthy, unsaturated fat in your diet. When you cut meat from your diet, you won’t be getting all of the fat, and you will be replacing the meat with foods that contain the good fats that your body needs.
This is going to help to reduce your risk of a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
If you follow a healthy vegetarian diet, you will be getting better nutrition than you have in years. The meat in your current diet will be replaced with things like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts, beans, etc.
These are all foods that are rich in the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and ward off diseases and other health problems. You will also have a lot more energy.
In most cases, vegetarians tend to be slimmer than meat eaters, and they are much less likely to become obese. As long as you aren’t filling yourself up with junk food, such as potato chips (technically, they are vegetarian, but they are not healthy), you are likely to lose weight.
If you have been trying to slim down, a vegetarian diet may be just the thing you need in order to see results.
Less Risk of Food Poisoning
Millions of people suffer from food poisoning every year, and in many cases, it is due to eating tainted meat. When not properly stored or prepared, meat can be loaded with harmful bacteria.
When you cut meat out of your diet, you significantly reduce your risk of food poisoning. Your risk decreases even more if you cut dairy and eggs out of your diet as well.
Less Animal Cruelty & Suffering
In many cases, animals that are raised for food are not treated well before they are slaughtered. In fact, many animals go through a great deal of suffering thanks to the meat industry.
When you cut meat out of your diet, you are taking a stand and saying that you no longer want to be a part of this animal suffering and cruelty.
Help the Environment
You will be doing your part to help the environment when you eliminate meat from your diet. Not only are you not supporting the cruel practices of the meat industry, you are also not contributing to the waste of resources that are used for animal farming.
The amount of grain used to feed farm animals could feed the human population of the entire world. You are also not contributing to wasted fuel and pollution.
The Easiest Way to Go Vegetarian for One Week
If you are regular meat eater, and you enjoy meat, it is not going to be the easiest task in the world to take on a vegetarian diet for a week. But, you can do it if you are prepared. The trick is to make sure that you are well-stocked on a lot of different types of vegetarian foods, and to have a lot of meatless recipes on hands.
You can even prepare a lot of your favorites without meat, substituting other ingredients instead. Here are some tips that will help you to enjoy your vegetarian diet for a week.
You are going to stay fuller, and have more energy, when you eat several small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals.
This is a good habit to get into anyway, even if you decide that you don’t want to continue following a vegetarian diet after the week is over.
Make Simple Meals
If you jump right in and start trying to prepare complicated meals, you may end up becoming overwhelmed. Instead, look for recipes that are quick and simple to make.
You might even want to make up a few meals in advance, so they are ready when you want them.
Flip Your Meals
Instead of making dinner your biggest meal of the day, flip that, and have a large breakfast instead.
You need energy for the day, so it is best to fill up in the morning on the foods that are going to give you that energy. Eat light in the evening for a better rest.
The Best Way to Eliminate Meat for One Week
It is a good idea to prepare for your week-long vegetarian diet in advance. One of the first things you should do is find some recipes that you would like to try. There are thousands of vegetarian recipes online that are easy to prepare, and they taste wonderful.
Other ways that you can prepare for your vegetarian experience include:
If you are seriously becoming a vegetarian if this week-long experience works for you, make sure that others know about it. Tell your family and friends that you are trying a vegetarian diet for a week, and that you are considering giving up meat all together.
This way, if there are any family or social gatherings, they will be able to have something prepared that you can eat, or you can make arrangements to bring something yourself.
Learn about Substitutions
Now is the time to start thinking about how you can make substitutions in the recipes you use now, so you don’t actually have to give up your favorite foods.
For instance, instead of making a meat lasagna, try a spinach lasagna. There are also meat alternatives that you can use if you really need to have that meaty texture.
Consider Dietary Staples
Think about the things that you currently eat, and the ingredients that go into them. Make a list and look at the ingredients that are already okay for a vegetarian diet. Then, look at where you can make some of those substitutions we discussed in the previous paragraph.
For example, consider using tofu to replace chicken in your favorite stir-fry dishes. Once you have your list of staples made, it is time to stock up on them.
Learn about Ethnic Foods
In order to have a good variety in your diet, you are likely going to start trying new foods. There are many ethnic dishes that are made with no meat or other animal products, and there are delicious vegetarian dishes to be found in every corner of the world, from Italy to India to China to Mexico and many more.
You might even want to consider adding a few ethnic dishes to your week-long vegetarian diet.
How to Not Feel Hungry
Because you won’t be eating meat, which is very filling, you may find that you are not full enough after meals. If you don’t have any vegetarian food ready to eat, you may revert to old standbys, and end up fudging your vegetarian diet.
It is a good idea to make up a bunch of meals and snacks ahead of time, so you always have something good to eat when you are hungry.
Cook up a huge pot of vegetarian chili, chop up vegetables for snacking, etc.
Make sure that you are eating foods that are high in protein, including nuts, seeds, beans, and other legumes. Also, eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber, as this is going to help to fill you up, and keep you feeling filled longer.
Sample Week-Long Vegetarian Diet Plan
It is easy to prepare a vegetarian breakfast. You don’t even have to cook if you don’t want to (although a hot bowl of oatmeal is great on a cold, winter morning).
Some delicious and filling breakfast options for your vegetarian diet include Greek yogurt (plain, with your own fruit stirred in), veggie omelets with eggs or tofu, whole grain toast with cashew or almond butter, fruit, or even a delicious fruit smoothie. If you have to eat on the go, a smoothie is ideal, or you can boil up eggs and eat them anywhere.
There are all kinds of options for vegetarian lunches, starting with healthy salads. You can start your salads with mixed greens, and then add other chopped vegetables, nuts, cheese, hard boiled eggs, etc. Mix it up and try different ingredients so you aren’t eating the same old, boring salads every day.
Some of the tastiest, and most filling salad ingredients include black beans, chickpeas, and tofu. If you aren’t a big salad eater, there are plenty of other lunch options, including a whole wheat pita with veggies and hummus, and even leftovers from dinner on the previous night.
Here is where you can really start to get creative in the kitchen. You can make your favorite dishes, substituting the meat for other protein foods. Or, try new recipes that you are sure to love, such as grilled veggie sewers with marinated tofu, brown and wild rice, baked beans, vegetarian soups, black bean burgers with guacamole, baked falafel in pita pockets, and so much more.
Of course, you can also have some delicious salads, and if you want something more filling, try making some different types of pasta salads.
conclusion - sample menu
As you can see, it isn’t overly difficult to make the switch to a vegetarian diet for a week, or even permanently. You just need to be prepared for the experience and be willing to give up meat. The following is a sample vegetarian menu for one day. You can switch things up and try different ingredients, so you don’t get bored with the diet.
Try to avoid increasing your cheese and carb intake in order to get what you would have gotten from meat. It is best to try and eat mainly whole foods instead of processed foods that are loaded with ingredients you don’t need, including too much salt, sugar, and fat.
Scramble up some eggs and add broccoli, tomatoes, and cheese. Serve with a side of whole wheat toast and some delicious orange juice.
Or, enjoy hard boiled eggs on whole wheat toast, with a piece of fruit and a glass of carrot juice.
You will need a pick-me-up between breakfast and lunch, and that can be as simple and filling as a smoothie made with bananas and strawberries, and a couple of granola bars.
Or, enjoy some unsalted popcorn that has been air-popped, or a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
As we already mentioned, salads are always a great option for lunches. Or, you may want to enjoy a delicious noodle soup.
If you want something a bit heartier, have a pita stuffed with Caesar salad.
Keep fruit washed and cut so it is ready to snack on in the afternoons.
Or, enjoy some nuts and seeds, which are high in protein and will give you that boost of energy you need later in the day.
Since it is better to have light meals later in the day, have lighter food that you once had for breakfast for your dinner instead. Enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, or some whole grain pancakes with blueberries.
If you really want a heavier meal, make sure that you do so before 7 pm so it has time to settle before you go to bed.
It is not a good idea to eat anything heavy before bedtime, but if you are still hungry, there are some delicious, light snacks that won’t overfill you.
One of the best choices is a delicious fruit smoothie.