If you’re thinking about trying to be vegetarian, that’s awesome. Going vegetarian doesn’t mean a healthy diet right off the bat. I only say that because people think going on a vegetarian diet is the healthiest, and can easily be underestimated. If you want to ensure a healthy diet, it always takes effort.
Vegetarianism is more of a life choice/lifestyle for some people and is only really considered a diet if you are being cautious about what you are eating. Many people do it for multiple reasons, and while a lot of the times it's for animal-loving reasons, it also has to do with control, willpower, health benefits, or just a healthier lifestyle. Here are some tips based on my experience as a vegetarian.
1. Eat lots of protein
Because you are cutting meat out of your diet, you are going to need that extra protein in your body. Just because you’re not eating meat doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives for that missing protein. Some examples being nuts, eggs, cheese, lentils, quinoa, and peanut butter (the ones without all the sugar.)
2. Always make sure you’re eating enough and not missing meals.
If you’re hungry, you’re probably not eating enough. Be prepared and carry snacks.
3. Avoid eating more than the recommended carb intake for your body
This includes bread, chips, etc. It’s very easy to just eat bread, because who doesn’t love bread? Although it might wanna be your friend, too much of it will make you gain weight.
4. Consider vitamin supplements*
It has been acknowledged and studied that vegetarians should be on a B12 vitamin. I have not taken any extra supplements, but for now, I can only say to make sure you’re eating foods that supply you with a B12 vitamin for the moment. Some foods can be cheese, eggs, almond milk, nutritional yeast, cottage cheese, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, etc.
*Note: Please look into any vitamin supplement intake and measurements because this is only based on my experience as a vegetarian. I am no nutritionist. I never used supplements, so if you feel like you should please talk to a doctor/nutritionist about it.
5. Start off slow
I would recommend to start off as pescatarian for beginners. I say this because this is how I started. It guarantees an extra source of protein and gives you an extra option if you need a last resort. This tip is up to you, but salmon and tuna are my favorites to go seafoods. A lot of seafoods also carry vitamin B12.
6. Eat lots of veggies
Vegetarianism does guarantee weight loss, if you do and eat the right way.
Have fun enjoying different kinds of food. Becoming vegetarian for me opened better and more diverse eating styles. There are so many foods out there for you to try. And no, we don’t only eat salads.
P.S. People will call you vegan a million times. Either because they don’t know the difference or because they just like irking you, so don’t take it too seriously. Just do you.