Plant-based diets can be a healthy choice when done consciously. After doing your research and understanding the pros and cons, if you believe this path is the right one for you, here’s how to start a vegetarian diet.

Consider Your Motivation 

Knowing why this is the right choice for you is an important first step before you learn the specifics of how to start a vegetarian diet. If you’re doing it because your friend is or because it’s “trending,” this might not be the right path for you. If you’ve done your homework and understand the pros and cons, you’re more likely to stick with this dietary choice. 

Start Small

It’s a good idea to take small steps forward when you’re learning how to start a vegetarian diet. Rather than cutting all meat on the first day, consider going meatless for a single meal each day and progress from there. Your body may adapt better to this incremental change in your diet and you may transition better emotionally as well. If you’re looking for a good place to start, begin by skipping the red meat before moving to other forms of meat.  

Prepare Well

Find some great recipes before you move toward a vegetarian diet. With its rise in popularity, plant based recipes are more abundant than ever. As you’re researching how to start a vegetarian diet, it’s important to have some appealing options so that you excited to move forward with this new lifestyle. Consider a goal of trying one new recipe each week to keep your palate interested.

Include Protein

One of the biggest challenges for those who start a vegetarian diet is including a healthy amount of protein in their meals and snacks each day. This necessary macronutrient keeps bones strongs, metabolisms revving, and satiety high. Know your alternative meat sources, like eggs, tofu, seitan, lentils, and beans.

Tell Your Friends & Family 

Having social support is one of the most important components of successfully changing your nutritional habits. You need others to know what you’re trying to accomplish and, ideally, be supported by them as you make the changes you desire to avoid sabotage from them, inadvertent or otherwise. They may even ask you how they can start a vegetarian diet, too.

Prepare Ahead

Prepping vegetables is a time-consuming endeavor. Committing to this weekly habit is an important step when you’re learning how to start a vegetarian diet. If you don’t like the idea of washing, cutting, and chopping veggies, you can choose freshly prepared options, but you will spend more money on these items. In most cases, you can use no salt added canned and frozen as alternatives to fresh without sacrificing nutritional quality. 

Set Your Expectations

Decide ahead of time if this is something you want to try for a season or if you are planning a permanent change to your daily diet. Have fair and reasonable expectations of what you expect as a result of changing your nutrition. A health improvement or environmentally conscious goal is likely to be longer lasting than a weight loss goal. 

Knowing how to start a vegetarian diet is an important first step before committing to this kind of nutrition. Once you’ve prepared well with the steps above, you are ready to give it a try!