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2:04 PMTips for Making the Switch to a Vegetarian Diet + Free Presentation "Top 5 Foods You Can't Live Without"
If you are making the switch to a vegetarian diet for its health benefits, you’ll be pleased to discover a wonderful additional benefit to vegetarian eating: It’s a delicious and fun way to explore new foods. A vegetarian meal can be as familiar as spaghetti with marinara sauce, as comforting as a bowl of rich potato soup, or as refreshing as Cucumber, Mango, and Spinach Salad.
The switch to a vegetarian diet is easier than you might think. Most people, whether vegetarians or meat-eaters, typically use a limited variety of recipes; the average family eats only eight or nine different dinners repeatedly. You can use a simple, three step method to come up with nine vegetarian dinner menus that you enjoy and can prepare easily.
First, think of three vegetarian meals you already enjoy. Common ones are pasta primavera, vegetable stir-fry, and vegetable stew.
Second, think of three recipes you prepare regularly that can easily be adapted to a vegetarian menu. For example, a favorite chili recipe can be made with almost the same ingredients; just replace the meat with beans or texturized vegetable protein. Prepare bean burritos (using canned vegetarian refried beans) instead of beef burritos, veggie burgers instead of hamburgers, and grilled eggplant and roasted red peppers instead of grilled chicken in sandwiches. Many soups, stews, and casseroles also can be made into vegetarian dishes with a few simple changes.
Third, check out some vegetarian cookbooks from the library and experiment with the recipes for a week or so until you find three new recipes that are delicious and easy to make. Just like that, with minimal changes to your menus, you will have nine vegetarian dinners.
After that, coming up with vegetarian options for breakfast and lunch is easy. Try muffins with fruit spread, cholesterol-free French toast, or cereal for breakfasts. Sandwiches, with spreads like hummus or white bean pâté with lemon and garlic, pasta salads, or even dinner leftovers make great lunches.
Tips for Making the Switch
to a Vegetarian Diet
• Convenience foods cut cooking time. Supermarkets and natural foods stores stock a huge array of instant soups and maindish vegetarian convenience items. Many canned soups, such as minestrone, black bean, or vegetable, are vegetarian. Flavored rice or other grain mixes, like curried rice or tabouli salad, can be stretched into an entrée with a can of beans. Visit the frozen food section for internationally inspired vegetarian frozen entrées such as corn and bean enchiladas, lentil curry, or vegetarian pad thai. Or try vegetarian baked beans, refried beans, sloppy joe sauce, and meatless spaghetti sauce from the canned goods aisle.
• Ask for it! Even restaurants that don’t offer vegetarian entrées can usually whip up a meatless pasta or vegetable plate if you ask. If attending a catered affair, catch the waiter before you are served and ask him or her to remove the chicken breast from your plate and slip on an extra baked potato.
• When you’re dining out, the best bets for finding vegetarian food are international restaurants. Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, and Indian restaurants all offer a wide variety of vegetarian dishes.
• Summer barbecues are healthy and fun with meatless hot dogs and burgers, which are now available in most supermarkets. Or, for a real change of pace, grill thick slices of marinated vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, or tomatoes.
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