the basics

How To Go Vegetarian (Without Going Hungry)

Ready to try a meat-free way of eating? Here's where to start.

Now is as good a time as any (i.e. post December holiday rush and pre New Year’s Eve celebrations) to consider how to better yourself in the next year, and one way we are considering doing just that is via our diets. But how to go vegetarian, exactly? As in, how does one get started?

For starters, let’s address the elephant in the room: Hunger. If you’re a meat eater who’s considering adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, the leap from meat to no meat might seem a little daunting. Often times folks worry about how they’ll get all the nutrients they need when they’re running on kale. Yet while it might be true that meat products content the essential protein that help you feel full, adopting a vegetarian diet won’t leave you hungry. Why? Plant-based foods can supply you with the energy your body needs. Even better: A plant-based diet is wonderfully diverse, meaning you can find all the things you need to stay fit and healthy naturally. By focusing on a diet consisting of beans, legumes, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables, you’ll get all the essential nutrients your body needs. So! Ready to try a meat-free way of eating? Here, our top tips on how to go vegetarian (without feeling hungry all the time).

Increase your portion sizes. When adopting a vegetarian lifestyle, it’s important to consider the quantity of food you’re eating. A single steak might provide you enough energy to last a day, but a bowl of salad won’t offer the same amount of energy. And so, it’s important to make sure you eat a heaping of greens with a liberal dose of healthy fats and some legumes for good measure. Swapping your regular side dish serving for a large bowl instead should do the trick. Still feeling hungry? Try adding some nuts and seeds for extra protein and crunch.

Spice it up. One of the things folks miss when they give up meat is the flavor a juicy steak can bring to a meal. Adopting a vegetarian way of eating doesn’t mean you need to compromise on flavor. You can spice up your veggies using peppers, herbs salts and oils. In addition to giving veggies an extra kick, these ingredients provide you the right blend of nutrients you need to stay full and healthy.

Snack smart. If you feel your energy levels dip after meals, you can easily get them back up by having a healthy snack. Stuck for snack ideas? Try vegetable juices, fresh fruits, nuts, raw chocolate and green smoothies. And if you’re worried you’re hungrier than usual with this new way of eating, don’t stress, it’s only temporary.

Load up on plant protein. Think the only way to get protein into your diet is meat? Think again! You can get protein from plant-based sources too. In fact, the plant kingdom contains much more sources of protein then you might have thought. To get your protein hit, adding try quinoa, chickpea, almond milk, broccoli, spinach, sweet potato and soy beans into the mix. These excellent sources of plant protein make a great addition to pretty much any meal.

Consume nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are a good source of nutrients, as well as energy. They’re perfect to keep on hand in case of the munchies. Nuts contain loads of healthy protein and fats to keep you fuller, longer.

What are your top tips on how to go vegetarian? What hunger-busting, vegetarian-approved meals do you enjoy?

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