What do vegetarians eat (or vegans or plant based eaters…)? I think a lot of times one of the biggest hurdles for people who learn that a plant based diet might be better for their health is just trying to make a mental shift from an animal-centered meal to a plant-centered one.
When you grow up eating the standard American diet (SAD), the meat is the basis of the meal and then some sides are added to complete it. When faced with trying to make a meal without the meat, many people are just at a loss.
I know when I was growing up and asked my mom “What’s for dinner?” the answer was usually the animal – “chicken”, “pork chops”, “ham” were typical responses. I think many people would say they got similar responses from their moms.
So maybe you’re here because you’re looking for ideas about how to structure a meal without the animal centerpiece, or maybe you’ve got vegetarian friends who are coming for dinner and just don’t know what to feed them! Maybe you just can’t imagine what people who exclude the animal products from their diet could possibly have left to fill their bellies!
So let’s look at this – what do vegetarians eat?
We’ll start with the familiar favorites, and look at how a vegetarian, vegan or someone on a plant-based diet might enjoy it.
Lasagna, spaghetti, and most other pasta based dishes can be made without the meat and/or cheese. This yummy tofu lasagna is completely plant-based without eggs, cheese or meat.
There are loads of delicious soups, stews and chilis that can be made without meat or meat broths – minnestrone, split pea, noodle or vegetable soups, broccoli, asparagus or butternut squash soup, bean or lentil soups…
You can still have a typical American meal by substituting the meat centerpiece for other foods like baked tofu, tempeh or seitan, lentils or beans, and increasing the amount of side dishes like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, veggies and salad. This is actually my favorite way to eat.
Think ethnic foods – Indian, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Ethiopian – most of these cultures have a great many choices of non-meat dishes. Burritos and tacos (my son’s favorites) can be made with beans instead of meat. Curries, dals, wats, stir-fries and pasta or polenta dishes are all frequently made with just veggies and legumes.
What Do Vegetarians Eat? Soooo Much!
The truth is, most people who eat the standard American diet only eat a handful of different foods. When you start to think about moving towards a plant based diet, the whole world of food opens up before you. The variety of foods available to all of us today is just amazing and when you change your diet, you start to experiment with new things.
So the next time you think – what do vegetarians eat? – just think about all your favorite meals and look for ways to make them without the animal products. Cheese and cheese sauces can be made from nuts like cashews, meat can be either left out or replaced with beans and legumes, tofu, tempeh and seitan and whole grains, potatoes and vegetables can take a more prominent role on the plate.
What do vegetarians eat? Healthy vegetarians eat hundreds of varieties of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds! A plant-based world is a delicious one! It may take some time to have that “shift” in thinking that allows you to really see the abundance that a vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diet offers, and that’s okay. When we focus on the variety of what we CAN have, instead of what we choose not to have don’t feel
deprived at all!
Benefits of a whole food plant based diet…
Ever wonder – what is healthy eating?