Friday Five // Simple Vegetarian Food Swaps

I’ve officially been vegetarian/vegetarian-adjacent for six years now! I say “vegetarian-adjacent” because while I can pinpoint the exact moment I decided “hmm, maybe I should be a vegetarian”, I didn’t quit chicken cold-turkey (haha).

I was sitting in the backseat of my parent’s car, Atlantic-city bound and I was flipping through an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. There was a little sidebar-article in there suggesting simple swaps to help you live a meat-free existence. I was at a point in my life where I felt heavy and quite unhappy and uncomfortable in my own body, so I was pretty open to making a change in my diet. The only problem was, with ALL of the information available out there and my inability at that point to understand my body and know what it needed, I was confused and I didn’t know the difference between dieting and being healthy. My early days of vegetarianism consisted primarily of pasta and PB&J’s, and I simply swapped out meat for its soy alternative (which in all fairness is fine when you’re starting out, but soy meat is a highly processed food and it’s not exactly healthy).

So if you’re thinking about making the jump into the plant-based life or even just looking to cut back on your animal-intake, here are my five super healthy vegetarian swaps:

Almond milk – It’s clean, it didn’t come from a cow (seriously, yuck) and it’s rich in protein and healthy fats. I’m not a big fan of straight up eating almonds, so incorporating almond milk into my diet actually gives me those nutrients I’d otherwise miss out on. Score!

Quinoa – Quinoa is the only grain that’s a complete protein, and it’s my main source of protein. It’s very clean, it’s INCREDIBLY healthy, and you guys – it’s delicious. I even eat it in place of pasta, adding whatever sauce I’m in the mood for.

Lentils – This would be my second-biggest source of protein. I LOVE adding cayenne pepper and chili powder to cook up some seriously smokin’ hot lentils! Beat that, barbecued wings.

Fruit – In place of breakfast meat. Whenever I go out for brunch and I say “no meat” on the side, many places are super-nice enough to give me fruit on the side inside. It might not be as protein-packed but it’s refreshing enough that it wakes me up just the same.

Veggie broth – In my opinion, there’s no reason not to swap out chicken/beef broth for veggie broth at every turn. It’s so flavorful – just, yum.

 

Tell me in the comments – what are some of your favorite vegetarian food swaps? Whether you’re a full-on herbivore or not, we’ve all got our little tricks. I want to hear from you!

 

 

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{{Cover image provided by FreeRangeStock}}

 

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