As a dietitian, I hear many questions about vegetarian diets. Confusion on the topic has increased as vegetarianism has grown in popularity and acceptance. So let’s explore the basics of a vegetarian based meal plan.
What Is a Vegetarian Based Meal Plan?
There are so many ways to follow a vegetarian based diet pattern that you’re bound to find one that works well for you. Generally, a vegetarian diet is based on plant foods and excludes animal proteins. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common vegetarian diet patterns:
- Semi-Vegetarian or Flexitarian – Includes dairy and eggs and possibly meat, poultry, and seafood occasionally. May exclude red meat.
- Pescatarian – Includes dairy, eggs, and seafood but no meat or poultry.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – Includes dairy and eggs but no meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Lacto-Vegetarian – Includes dairy but no eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Vegan – Includes only plant-based foods. No animal foods or byproducts, so no dairy, eggs, honey, gelatin, or animal rennet as well as no meat, poultry, or seafood.
I can help you create a vegetarian meal plan that meets your needs. Email me at email@example.com or call 855-958-9958 for more info.
So What is the Difference Between Vegetarians and Vegans?
Simply put, a vegetarian may eat some animal products like eggs or milk while a vegan eats only plant foods and refrains from all animal products including gelatin, honey, and rennet.
Why is a Vegetarian Based Meal Plan Beneficial?
A vegetarian based meal plan can offer many benefits. First, vegetarian meals can be delicious! A wide variety of foods are considered vegetarian, so it can suit almost every palate and preference. Plus, vegetarian diets tend to have more fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and phytonutrients and fewer overall calories and calories from fat than meat-based diets. Also, people who follow vegetarian based diets have been found to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity as well as lower blood pressure.
How Do I Transition to a Vegetarian Based Meal Plan?
As you can see, there are many ways to be “vegetarian.” The key to transition to a vegetarian based diet, then, is to plan. You won’t really reap the benefits of a plant-based diet if you switch from a moderate and balanced diet that includes meat to a vegetarian diet that consists mostly of cheese and eggs. Take your time! Slowly and steadily replace a few animal foods with beans, whole grains, and vegetables. Enjoy smaller amounts of meat as a garnish rather than the centerpiece. Try going meatless once a week (Meatless Mondays, perhaps) at first and work your way up.
If you’re interested in transitioning to a vegetarian food plan at your pace, I can help you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-958-9958 for more info.
Do you think you’ll try going vegetarian at least once in a while? With so many options and even more health benefits, it seems worth a try! If you’re curious about creating a plant-based meal plan, I can help you choose the best options customized to meet your needs and preference. Click here for more information.