10 Food Ideas For Beginner Vegetarians And Vegans

In Case You're Considering A Vegetarian Or Vegan Diet, Here Are 10 Food Ideas Perfect For Getting Started

It's easier than you think!

2674
views

When people talk to me about cutting out animal products, the number one complaint I receive is, "There are no options for vegetarians/vegans! I can't eat a salad every day!" Well fear not my animal-helping friends, it's not a terrible adjustment. In fact, people frequently feel happier and healthier after adding more fruits and vegetables into their diets. Here are 10 food ideas/advice that will be super helpful in your diet change!

1. Soup, soup, soup!

Soup is a great way to get started. There are so many ways to make it, the possibilities are endless! And it's very easy to make it vegetarian-friendly and still taste amazing. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and explore the different vegetables and starches you can use!

2. Fruity meals for breakfast (trust me, it's great)

Wondering how to replace the bacon and sausage of the morning time? Smoothies, açaí bowls, fruit salad, fruit and yogurt, or even just plain sliced fruit with or without a dipping sauce — all great options. Not only are they great tasting and add to your meal, but fruit also gives a great energy boost for starting your day.

3. Tacos and burrito bowls (yes, Chipotle counts)

Personally, a lot of Mexican food has turned out to have easy vegetarian and vegan options. Instead of meat, there are lots of choices for substitutes, such as black beans, refried beans, grilled veggies, or sofritas if you're at Taco Bell. If you prefer vegan, choose guac over sour cream. Still so delicious!

4. Speaking of certain cultural food groups...Asian food!

From Chinese to Thai to Japanese and more, you cannot go wrong here. Lots of options for soups, noodles, and other dishes, lots of which are easy to make at home or order online! If you like tofu, you can always replace meat with tofu and enjoy your meal!

5. What about vegetable dishes and side dishes?

Learning how to work with vegetables is an important part of being vegan or vegetarian, and it's helpful for health reasons, as well. Roasting and seasoning broccoli sounds kind of difficult when you never do it, but once you start trying, it's pretty simple. One of my favorite meals to this day is string beans, roasted potatoes, and veggie burgers, all three of which take less effort to make than one main course of chicken cutlets.

6. Eggplant is a godsend

Craving chicken cutlets? Try eggplant cutlets! Want pizza without all the dough? Make eggplant pizzas! Want Italian food? Eggplant rollatini! It sounds strange, but eggplant is extremely versatile and very underrated. Eggplant dishes are egg-cellent.

7. And cheat day snack foods

Yes, you can be vegan or vegetarian and have fatty foods. If you're craving sugar, Oreos are great for cookie lovers, strawberries and whipped cream is great for vegetarians who love fruity sweets, or there are lots of candy options (just read the nutrition labels). Salt lover? You can still enjoy your potato chips, corn chips, salted popcorn, and more!

8. Be careful about nutrition and keep a variety

When switching to vegetarian or vegan diets, it's easy to stick to a few foods you already know you love. This is why lots of people get bored as vegetarians and switch back to eating meat. It's especially bad to do so if those few foods are unhealthy — you can't just eat pasta all day. Keep rotating food options and make sure to try new (or even previously disliked) foods! Before being a vegetarian, I never gave asparagus a chance, and now it's one of my favorite vegetables. If you are going vegan, you may have to be careful about vitamin B12, as it is difficult to obtain through veggies... BUT that's what supplements are for!

9. Like eggplant, cauliflower will be your BFF

Cauliflower is admittedly boring on its own, but ironically that makes it perfect for a variety of dishes. Some recipes include buffalo-sauced cauliflower, mashed cauliflower, cauliflower breadcrumbs, sesame cauliflower, cauliflower soup, cauliflower hash browns — the list goes on and on.

10.  Can't think of what to make right now? Use the Internet!

Googling recipes or finding guided recipes on YouTube are some of the best ways to decide what to eat. In addition, I highly recommend an app called Yummly. You can put in your food preferences and dietary restrictions when you download, and it will suggest recipes for you daily!

Popular Right Now

​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
1469519
views

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Sweet Potatoes Are The Most Underrated Vegetable Of All Time

Everything you need to know about the pieces of edible gold we call "sweet potatoes" and why they will always perish over any plain old potato.

321
views

The potato. The heart of the American food industry. A versatile vegetable crop soaked in grease that brings us some of our favorite appetizers and sides. From french fries, to curly fries, to tater tots, to baked potatoes, to hash browns, this hallowed vegetable has become the Johnny Depp of the vegetable family. Now, we are all aware that the configurations of potatoes are limitless, but we commonly disregard the potato's delicious and neglected brother: the sweet potato. I, a credible food connoisseur and highly experienced eater, am here to tell you why you are missing out on a world of flavor if you choose to dismiss the beloved sweet potato and its many entities.

Let me first start this tirade by proving to you my credibility...I, too, once believed that regular french fries were better than sweet potato fries. I scoffed at the idea of choosing those ridiculous orange sticks over my tried-and-true plain boys. I could not be convinced that any sweetness should impede on my savory snacks.

These were dark times.

It was not until a mere month ago that my mind was changed forever.

It was a sunny (scary) Sunday morning, and my pounding head led me on a mission to indulge myself in the finest breakfast foods. I entered my favorite breakfast diner, Angelo's, and waited anxiously for my waiter to stroll over. She filled our water cups and asked if we wanted to start with any appetizers. Before my stingy self could even decline the offer, my best friend ordered a round of sweet potato fries for the table and the waiter scurried away. I stared blankly at her for a solid minute. I could not wrap my head around the concept of munching on sweet potato fries at 8 in the morning. She just stared back and said, "Trust me." Suddenly, a tray of blood orange sticks and a mysterious tan sauce appeared in front of my face. As much as I wanted to ponder the morality of this decision, the hunger began to take over, and I shoved one of the fries into my mouth.

In an instant, it was as if time and space had lost all meaning. When my teeth hit the fry, the perfectly crusted outer shell crunched softly making a sound much like your foot crushing a dried leaf. The now exposed inside of the fry was the perfect blend of mush and warmth that felt like your mouth was receiving a hug. The flavor...unbelievable. It didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't a fry — this was a culinary experience. This fry single-handedly blew the roof off of any predisposed ideas I had about American cuisine.

I am well aware that my fry experience cannot be simulated again by any average food-goer, but I challenge you, the reader of this article, to get out there and enjoy a sweet potato in any form. Stray from your basic fries or tater tots and dabble in a sweet treat which will undoubtedly bring you flavorful satisfaction.

Related Content

Facebook Comments