Choosing a vegetarian diet makes sense for many families, but you may need to set time aside to plan your meals. The foods you eat in this type of diet will depend on how restrictive you are. Some vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products, while others allow dairy but not eggs in their diet. Vegans follow a completely plant-based diet. Knowing the foods you plan to avoid will help you create a meal that fits your dietary choices.
If you allow eggs into your diet you can hard boil, poach or scramble eggs to make up part of a protein-packed breakfast. Flexible vegetarians or vegans can choose cereals or grains such as oatmeal, and for added flavor, use soy milk or other milk alternative instead of water. Top with fresh berries or apples, and you have a plant-based breakfast. You can also break up soft tofu into a skillet, season and cook until lightly brown to mimic an egg dish. For a quick breakfast to go, vegans can put the scrambled tofu in a tortilla with salsa for an easy burrito; other vegetarians can use scrambled eggs, shredded cheddar and creamy dressing with Southwestern-style seasoning in their breakfast burritos.
Sandwiches are easy to turn vegetarian: opt for a sandwich or wrap with plenty of cheese, lettuce and mustard or creamy dressing and simply leave out the meat. Vegans can put avocado slices, sprouts and tomato slices between slices of wholegrain bread. Dress up a salad by adding leftovers from the refrigerator such as cooked, diced sweet potatoes or black beans. Top with other flavorful items such as cilantro or chopped green onions. Toss with your favorite creamy dressing.
Vegetarians who allow dairy into their diets will find they can eat many of the same comfort foods they've always enjoyed, but without the meat. Foods such as lasagna, soup and pizza fall into this category. However, if you want to eat a plant-based meal that does not have any animal products, you'll need to alter those comfort foods. You can place tofu in a food processor with a variety of herbs and garlic, blending until you have a creamy sauce. Use this instead of the cheese traditionally placed between the lasagna noodles, and you have a plant-based lasagna. Tofu also makes a good base for an Alfredo-style white sauce or other sauces.
Although not a meal, snacks play an important role in your diet. A peach or handful of grapes fit with vegetarian diets, but this may not provide enough sustenance to keep hunger away. You may add a handful of almonds or other nut. Vegans can dip carrots and cucumbers into hummus, a protein-rich dip made from garbanzo beans. Other vegetarians can choose between that and creamy dips like ranch or sour cream blended with dry dip mix.
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