10 Vegetarian Habits Omnivores Should Steal

10 Vegetarian Habits Omnivores Should Steal superheroyou

Did you know that September is National Vegetarian Month? Maybe you’re not ready to cut steak out of your diet – but it’s undeniable that vegetarians have several healthy habits that even omnivores can and should adopt. Here are our favorites.

1. Eat less meat.

Before you freak out, note that I said less – not none. The average American eats about 200 pounds of animal flesh each year, which is shockingly double the global average. Cutting down on that amount can do wonders for your health and the environment. Why not try meat as ingredient instead of a main – like pasta with bolognese sauce instead of chicken with buttered noodles? Another option is to become a “part-time vegetarian.” Try participating in Meatless Monday. But you don’t have to restrict yourself to rabbit food! Eggplant parm is just as delicious as the chicken variety.

2. Find plant-based alternatives.

Every meat-eater can find a way to reduce their consumption of animal products by replacing them with plant-based ones. Always snack on beef jerky? Try veggie sticks and hummus. Can you live with just black beans in your chili or tacos? You can also experiment with the ingredients in your baked goods. It sounds crazy, but you really can’t tell with certain substitutes. If these ideas sound terrible, start simply – with the fats you’re using! Pick olive oil instead of bacon grease to cook your food in. You’ll hardly notice the difference.

3. Be prepared.

Depending on where you live, it can be tough to go out to dinner as a vegetarian. That’s why many vegetarians make sure their kitchens are stocked – and you should do the same. In particular, focus on building up your spice rack and pantry staples. Having these on hand will make you far less likely to order sodium-laden takeout when you get home starving.

4. Pay attention to your nutrition.

Going vegetarian has many health benefits – but it also puts you at risk for nutritional deficiencies like B12 and iron. That’s why vegetarians pay attention to the specific nutrients they’re eating. Sometimes that means supplements, but it also means knowing what constitutes a complete protein and exactly which vegetables contain the most vitamin K. It’s a knowledge base omnivores should create as well.

5. Eat seasonally.

When you’re eating vegetarian, you want the produce on your plate to be fresh and delicious, not slowly wilting. That’s why many vegetarians eat seasonally – and why you should do the same. Eating what’s in season in your region is great for your wallet and the environment. Plus, the fresher your produce, the more nutrients you’ll get.

6. Read ingredients lists.

You would be shocked by how many animal products are in seemingly vegetarian products. That’s why vegetarians are religious about reading ingredient lists – and why you should be too! Nothing like reading about the 6 types of sugar in a processed food to stop you from buying it.

7. Go international.

Traditional “American” meals are heavy on the meat. But that’s not the case for hundreds of cuisines around the world. There are several delicious vegetarian recipes that come from several different countries, like India or Greece. Plus, eating international cuisines exposes you to a variety of ingredients and flavors – which is great for your health. For example, you could try a fermented vegetable like Eastern European sauerkraut or Korean kimchi.

8. Go gradually.

Going vegetarian is tough, which is why so many people do it gradually. This is a process you can apply to any healthy habit, whether you want to eat less meat or go to the gym more. Going all in on a habit leaves you ripe for burnout and reverting back to your earlier ways. Doing it slowly increases the chance you’ll follow the habit for a lifetime.

9. Get variety.

If you couldn’t eat meat, would you eat broccoli at every meal? So why do you only ever have one vegetable? There are literally hundreds of kinds of fruits and vegetables – and vegetarians take advantage of a large portion. The more different kinds of foods you have, the more nutrients you can incorporate into your diet. So diversify as much as possible.

10. Be picky.

Ever gone out to eat with a vegetarian? Unless you went to a produce-only establishment, chances are he/she asked your server a lot of questions! This habit can be annoying – but it also ensures that you know exactly what’s going into your food, and that you are happy with all of those ingredients. Don’t go overboard. But if what’s in your food matters to you (and if should), you shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

Liked this? Check out 14 Ways to Add More Vegetables Into Your Diet!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Did you know that September is National Vegetarian Month? Maybe you’re not ready to cut steak out of your diet – but it’s undeniable that vegetarians have several healthy habits that even omnivores can and should adopt. Here are our favorites.

1. Eat less meat.

Before you freak out, note that I said less – not none. The average American eats about 200 pounds of animal flesh each year, which is shockingly double the global average. Cutting down on that amount can do wonders for your health and the environment. Why not try meat as ingredient instead of a main – like pasta with bolognese sauce instead of chicken with buttered noodles? Another option is to become a “part-time vegetarian.” Try participating in Meatless Monday. But you don’t have to restrict yourself to rabbit food! Eggplant parm is just as delicious as the chicken variety.

2. Find plant-based alternatives.

Every meat-eater can find a way to reduce their consumption of animal products by replacing them with plant-based ones. Always snack on beef jerky? Try veggie sticks and hummus. Can you live with just black beans in your chili or tacos? You can also experiment with the ingredients in your baked goods. It sounds crazy, but you really can’t tell with certain substitutes. If these ideas sound terrible, start simply – with the fats you’re using! Pick olive oil instead of bacon grease to cook your food in. You’ll hardly notice the difference.

3. Be prepared.

Depending on where you live, it can be tough to go out to dinner as a vegetarian. That’s why many vegetarians make sure their kitchens are stocked – and you should do the same. In particular, focus on building up your spice rack and pantry staples. Having these on hand will make you far less likely to order sodium-laden takeout when you get home starving.

4. Pay attention to your nutrition.

Going vegetarian has many health benefits – but it also puts you at risk for nutritional deficiencies like B12 and iron. That’s why vegetarians pay attention to the specific nutrients they’re eating. Sometimes that means supplements, but it also means knowing what constitutes a complete protein and exactly which vegetables contain the most vitamin K. It’s a knowledge base omnivores should create as well.

5. Eat seasonally.

When you’re eating vegetarian, you want the produce on your plate to be fresh and delicious, not slowly wilting. That’s why many vegetarians eat seasonally – and why you should do the same. Eating what’s in season in your region is great for your wallet and the environment. Plus, the fresher your produce, the more nutrients you’ll get.

6. Read ingredients lists.

You would be shocked by how many animal products are in seemingly vegetarian products. That’s why vegetarians are religious about reading ingredient lists – and why you should be too! Nothing like reading about the 6 types of sugar in a processed food to stop you from buying it.

7. Go international.

Traditional “American” meals are heavy on the meat. But that’s not the case for hundreds of cuisines around the world. There are several delicious vegetarian recipes that come from several different countries, like India or Greece. Plus, eating international cuisines exposes you to a variety of ingredients and flavors – which is great for your health. For example, you could try a fermented vegetable like Eastern European sauerkraut or Korean kimchi.

8. Go gradually.

Going vegetarian is tough, which is why so many people do it gradually. This is a process you can apply to any healthy habit, whether you want to eat less meat or go to the gym more. Going all in on a habit leaves you ripe for burnout and reverting back to your earlier ways. Doing it slowly increases the chance you’ll follow the habit for a lifetime.

9. Get variety.

If you couldn’t eat meat, would you eat broccoli at every meal? So why do you only ever have one vegetable? There are literally hundreds of kinds of fruits and vegetables – and vegetarians take advantage of a large portion. The more different kinds of foods you have, the more nutrients you can incorporate into your diet. So diversify as much as possible.

10. Be picky.

Ever gone out to eat with a vegetarian? Unless you went to a produce-only establishment, chances are he/she asked your server a lot of questions! This habit can be annoying – but it also ensures that you know exactly what’s going into your food, and that you are happy with all of those ingredients. Don’t go overboard. But if what’s in your food matters to you (and if should), you shouldn’t be afraid to ask.

Liked this? Check out 14 Ways to Add More Vegetables Into Your Diet!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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