A Weekly Vegetarian Meal

With the rise of the vegetarian movement among the culture of foodies, those who eat meat are pressured to change their ways fast in order to save the planet and become more conscious of the meat industry. However, what so many fail to see is that eating vegan or vegetarian is a privilege in itself! It’s hard to become completely vegetarian on a budget. If you’re like me and still want to help the animals and the environment, I implore you to challenge yourself to at least eat one vegetarian meal a week.

You’d be surprised as well as to how many people eat vegetarian unbeknownst to them! Now I say vegetarian meal in contrast to vegan because I think that eliminating eggs, butter, and cheese can be hard for us college students. There is a common misconception that vegetarians only eat salads, but vegetarians still eat dairy and eggs so it’s a good start to a healthier lifestyle without completely deleting some of life’s best pleasures. (I personally love cheese!)

When I started being consciously aware of which meals I ate, it made planning my one meal a week very, very easy. So here are five tips for you to start incorporating one vegetarian meal a week!

Your breakfast is probably vegetarian already.

Most of the time our breakfasts are very very quick and easy. I think the most common college breakfast is cereal which is already vegetarian! Unless you’re eating meat cereal which I hope you’re not, your cereal is most likely vegetarian.

Carbs are your best friend.

The best part about vegetarian meals is that you can carb up since you’re eliminating the fat from meat. My favorite meal is pairing a side of fresh rice with stir fry vegetables and tofu. I have it almost every night and it’s filling! If you’re not into rice, try pasta with tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms and any jar of sauce you’d like! Throw in some spinach and the meal is wholesome.

Nut milks are the move.

I have to laugh every time I say nut milk. There is now a vast variety of nut milks in almost every single grocery store. And, to be honest, the taste isn’t that much different as well. You get as much flavor and calcium as regular milk but with fewer calories! For coffee creamer, I love coconut, oat, or soy milk and for cereal, almond milk is always a go-to.

Protein from beans.

I think the biggest argument I’ve heard from carnivores is that eating vegetables does not give you the protein you need to build muscle, However, a block of tofu gives you 10 grams of protein per serving! Black beans and pinto beans are also a great source of protein. More importantly, beans have a neutral taste and you can make it taste like anything you’d like! I like to season tofu with garlic salt and pepper and pan fry it to make it crispy and delicious.

Start with red meat.

Now, if you are a hardcore meat eater (I was one before I incorporated my weekly veggies), that’s okay too. The goal of this is to gradually incorporate more and more vegetables and lessen meat intake. Instead of ordering a burger, try a chicken sandwich. Instead of buying beef or pork, try switching to lean chicken or fish! Even just eliminating red meat from your diet can make a big difference. More importantly, red meat is very expensive. Removing red meat from your grocery list will improve your grocery budget.