Healthy Eating: Vegetarian

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For the next few weeks, here at Lacuna Loft we’re going to explore some different aspects of healthy eating!  We’ll talk about various alternative eating styles, healthy eating on a budget, creative ways to fit all those fruits and veggies into your day, and much more!  We’ll call upon cancer survivors, nutritionists, and others to offer their expertise.

While we are definitely not pushing one way of healthy eating over another, knowing all you can about the foods we eat is a great thing.  We want to give you all the awareness we can in order to help us all make healthy eating choices.

Today we’ll talk about vegetarian eating!

Over the past few months, I’ve been exploring vegetarian eating.  My reasons for vegetarian eating aren’t really important to this post but I have definitely learned lots in the process, which I thought I’d share.

While transitioning to vegetarian eating, I learned a lot about the quality of the foods that I put in my body.  While the act of cutting meat out of my diet was pretty straight forward, figuring out how to consume enough calories and also enough protein took a little finagling.  Adding protein into your diet when you’re used to eating meat can seem cumbersome at first.  Brit.co has a great article on adding protein to your salads though eating more vegetables doesn’t mean that you have to eat only salads!  (My husband knows exactly how I feel about eating salads for a full meal…it just isn’t a full meal!)  😉  And, did you know that there is plenty of protein in beans, eggs, nuts, dairy, avocados, and other very healthy foods?  I now smear peanut butter on my pancakes (thanks to the great advice of a very good friend of mine 🙂 ), grab a handful of cashews in a baggie on my way out the door, make garbanzo bean tacos or add garbanzo beans to soups and salads, continue eating plenty of eggs, have a bowl of plain yogurt with fruit for a snack, eat more whole grains, and pay closer attention to the amount of sugar in my diet.

While eating vegetarian, I’ve also discovered the easiest way to eat healthy in general…start with intention at the source…the grocery store!  If I only make healthy decisions while standing in my kitchen, I will be severely limited by the quantity and variety of healthy food in my pantry.  If I decide to buy healthy choices then healthy food is what I’ll most easily have on hand when my hunger arises.  Eating vegetarian also has its cost benefits.  Some of my family has started including vegetarian meals just a few times a week to cut grocery costs.

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I will fully admit that I don’t stick to a 100% vegetarian diet…while 98% of the time I eat only veggie, sometimes there aren’t any veggie options (depending on where you’re eating with friends, family, etc.) and I’d rather eat a little meat than skip a meal.  Everything in moderation 🙂

How do you enforce healthier eating habits?  Have you tried eating vegetarian before?