We’ve partnered with Blue Apron to bring you all the best ways to try out a vegetarian diet in 2023. The subscription service’s pre-packaged meal kits can help transform you into a well-seasoned vegetarian for $7.99 per serving depending on the plan you choose.
Trying out new special diets including vegetarianism and veganism are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But let’s be honest, removing meat from your grocery list can be intimidating even for the most ambitious newcomer. Whether you have resolved to completely cut out animal products or simply want to cook more plant-based meals, the transition is easier than you might think—especially with expert advice to guide you. To find tried-and-true strategies for making the switch, we asked practicing dietitians and nutritionists for advice on how to become vegetarian and stick to it.
Each of their five tips below are paired with a hand-picked pre-measured vegetarian meal kit from Blue Apron to help you easily make your plant-based aspirations for 2023 a reality. With tips from experts to guide you, meeting your veggie-centric eating goals will be a piece of cake.
Up Your Plant-Based Pasta Game
Start your vegetarian journey with a protein-packed version of something everyone loves: pasta. “Try one of the bean-based or lentil-based pastas, and skip the meat,” says Miami-based Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Sports Dietitian. “There’s chickpea pasta, black bean pasta or lentil based pasta.” For the best texture, don’t overcook it and be sure to rinse the cooked pasta with cool water immediately after draining.
While we’re on the topic of Italian-inspired meals, Ehsani says there are excellent options for making homemade pizzas as well. “You can find a high-protein pizza crust in the freezer department. There’s tons of protein in just one serving of these products plus plenty of fiber too, so [it’s] guaranteed to keep you full for longer!”
Don’t Change Overnight, Swap Slowly
Meatless Monday is a worldwide phenomenon for good reasons, including reducing the occurrence of heart disease and being gentler on the planet. However, swearing off meat cold-turkey can be difficult for life-long meat eaters. The key to long-term success is to avoid leaping headfirst into a new eating habit that you have to learn from scratch.
That’s why Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim suggests that eating vegetarian one day per week, or one meal per day, is a low-risk way to dip your fork into vegetarian eating without going whole-hog. “For example, instead of eggs for breakfast, try oatmeal with almond milk and crushed nuts,” adds Young. You can even swap plant-based meat substitutes into your favorite dishes (burgers included) to get started.
Get Acquainted With Meat Alternatives
If you’re worried you won’t get enough protein on a vegetarian diet, Stephanie Wells, MS, RD, LD, ACSM-CPT of Thyme to Go Vegan recommends picking up some protein alternatives to round out your diet. “These include beans and legumes like black beans, chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans, as well as soy foods like tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy curls and textured vegetable protein—which is great in chili,” says Wells.
“Nuts, seeds and nut butters like peanut butter are also good sources of protein. There are also so many brands of meat alternatives available that have similar flavors and textures to their meat counterparts.” For a low-commitment routine, try a new type of plant-based protein each week until you find your favorites.
Try A Vegetarian Meal Kit
Switching up your diet can be overwhelming, says Gisela Belen Bouvier, MBA, RDN, LDN, MIEP. “Oftentimes, people don’t know how to start a vegetarian lifestyle. Purchasing vegetarian meal kits that get delivered to their home is a great way to start. That way they get all of the ingredients and cooking instructions to try new plant-based foods.”
Trying new recipes will teach you new techniques and challenge your brain to rethink your approach to meal planning. The feeling of accomplishment when you put a delicious, healthy new-to-you meal on the table is well worth the effort.
Get Creative And Explore New Cuisines
“Drop the ‘meat and potatoes’ mindset,” says Wells. “People often struggle with knowing what to eat as a vegetarian when they come from the traditional formula of including meat, potatoes and a vegetable side dish for meals—with meat being the main component. Get creative with your meals by trying new combinations like chickpea curry with rice, black bean burrito bowls or a tofu vegetable stir-fry.”