Nutrition : How to Be a Vegetarian

Nutrition : How to Be a Vegetarian


My name is Christine Marquette and I’m a registered
dietitian with the Austin Regional Clinic and lots of people ask how do I become a vegetarian?
People have a variety of reasons for becoming a vegetarian, religious, ethnic, even health
reasons. One of the first steps is to look at your current diet, see how much meat you
are already eating, how many meals you are eating meat in and also think about what meals
are you eating that already do not have meat, maybe you eat bean burritos or bean chaloopas
or maybe you have spaghetti with marinara sauce or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
All of those things are meals that have protein in them and that protein doesn’t come from
meat so you want to start thinking about those types of things. You also want to think do
you want to become just a vegetarian or do you want to be vegan? The main difference
is that someone who is vegetarian may still include eggs, cheese, milk or yogurt in their
diet. They are just avoiding any type of meat, poultry or sea food, whereas someone who is
vegan is going to avoid all sources of animal derived proteins including eggs and dairy
products. Once you have made that decision you want to start thinking about how many
meals or how many days of the week you can actually start having meatless meals. Once
you have got a few of those under your belt whether it is again having the spaghetti with
the marinara sauce or something similar, you may want to try some different ethnic restaurants,
tai food, Indian, Chinese, they often have very many vegetarian options to give you ideas
of things that you may try making at home. You might want to consider trying things like
veggie burgers, tofu, tempe, textured vegetable protein, those are all additional sources
of protein that you can use to help cook meals and there are many vegetarian websites and
recipe booklets you can get to help you with actual meal preparation. Just make sure that
all of your meals are still including plenty of fruits, other types of vegetables, other
types of whole grains like whole grain bread, rice, pasta and again those non meat sources
of protein.