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

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!

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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!

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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11 Tips For The College Vegetarian

Eating healthy doesn't have to break the bank and leave you rushing out the door to class.

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Five years ago I decided to become a vegetarian. I have learned so much about healthy eating as a student, making meals cheap and quick yet still delicious. From dorm room smoothies to making the most of dining halls, this list will help you follow a vegetarian diet while attending college.

1. Smoothies are your best friend 

Drink your morning breakfast on the go easily by mixing up your favorite ingredients into a blender. Throwing frozen fruit such as strawberries and bananas in a blender with some milk and yogurt creates the perfect morning smoothie. Adding things like almond butter, almond milk, and protein powder will provide you with enough protein to get through your morning. I like to throw some granola on top of my smoothie for an added crunch as I'm drinking it.

2. Cook in bulk 

Pick a day during the week to cook in bulk. Most halls will have a kitchen somewhere in them and you can utilize it to make some food to eat throughout the week. Cook up a large quantity of rice or pasta on the stove top and keep it contained for eating throughout the week. For a quick healthy lunch take some pre-made noodles and heat them up with some vegetables in a microwave.

3. Research opinions on your campus 

College campuses have a variety of places to eat, but the key to finding places that will fit a vegetarian diet is research. You won't find a lot of opinions at commercial fast food chains, such as Chick Fil A or Mcdonald's, so it's important to know what spots to eat at. At the salad bar, you can load up on fresh veggies and dressings. If your campus has hot bar options, you can pick out things like rice, potatoes, vegetarian soups, etc.

4. Master the microwave 

You can make all kinds of meals in a microwave, which will save you time out of your busy college schedule. Amy's makes plenty of frozen vegetarian meals that you can stock up on at your local supermarket (shown in the video above!!) and Gardein makes tons of meat alternatives packed with protein that will satisfy your hunger.

5. Savor some soup 

Whether it's cold on campus or not, a bowl of warm soup is the perfect way to get a quick meal in. Supermarkets carry a variety of soups that only require water and a quick trip to the microwave that tastes great! Next time you're trying to figure out what to eat, try a hearty soup with some crackers and your stomach will thank you.

6. The power of snacks 

Don't neglect your snacks! If you're ever hungry in class, make sure to have healthy snacks with you so you aren't tempted to splurge on expensive unhealthy food. A hangry mind never makes the wisest food choices. Bring along granola, nuts, fruits, and your favorite snacks to munch on.

7. Drink lots of water 

Most health professionals would recommend drinking about half a gallon of water a day to stay hydrated. Water boosts your metabolism, helps your body break down food, flushes out toxins, and other many other health benefits. Vegetarians, vegans, and meat lovers alike all need to drink plenty of it to take better care of their bodies.

8. Talk to your doctor 

Doctors are the best people to talk to when going through a dietary change. They are educated and qualified to answer the questions you may have. For newer vegetarians, they have packets full of advice and recipes that can start you out. For long-time vegetarians, they often recommend a B-12 vitamin to make sure you don't become vitamin deficient while not eating meat.

9. Replace unhealthy foods 

Don't bring unhealthy food that is going to tempt you into your dorm. Try to avoid super sugary foods and instead eat some fruit if your sweet tooth comes calling. Replace candy with healthy snacks such as nuts, and opt for whole grain options rather than refined grains (white bread/rice).

10. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.

Most colleges will have a fitness center that you can use to workout in. Part of taking care of your body is exercising it often. Find time in your schedule for a quick trip to the gym or maybe even consider taking a fitness class such as boxing or yoga.

11. Listen to your body 

The vegetarian diet isn't for everyone and there is no reason that you should let yourself go hungry ever. Maintaining it while living in a dorm, surrounded by fast food, makes it a difficult task to manage. So if it is something you want to do and believe in, go for it! If not there's no reason to beat yourself up over it.

Lastly, celebrate yourself. Maintaining a vegetarian diet is no easy task, especially for a busy student looking to save cash. Give yourself a pat on the back for eating healthy and contributing to the betterment of the planet. You deserve it.

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