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I used to be a vegetarian, but when I was pregnant with my second child, I abandoned full vegetarianism for a modified version, reintroducing poultry into my diet. Shortly thereafter I brought fish back into the rotation. Although my small-city grocery options are limited, I can always find antibiotic-free chicken as well as wild-caught fish. Red meat is still off the menu.
Despite my effort to make ethical choices with meat, I know my conscience would be eased if I went back to full vegetarianism. My stress levels, however, would probably skyrocket. My two young sons are picky, and a major change in diet wouldn’t go over well with them. As they get older, I’ll educate them about the health, ethical, and environmental benefits of eating less or even no meat. The decision will ultimately be theirs, but in the meantime, we eat about 50/50 in terms of meat and meat-free meals.
If you’re considering eating less meat but have reservations, here are some fast facts and quick tips:
- Don’t worry about flavor. Many years of vegetarianism made me a better cook because I learned to be creative.
- Use your spices! If your collection is bland, buy a few bottles of spices you’ve never used. Think outside the box.
- Use flavor enhancers like lemon juice and vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you’re a part-time vegetarian like me).
- Condiments, toppings, and sauces can make the dish. Think: sesame salad dressing (not just on salads), pesto, hummus, guacamole, salsa, nuts, and berries.
Bowl meals are a great starting point for those new to meat-free meals. They’re trendy in the food world, and for good reason: Bowls are quick, affordable, and simple to put together. Get a great start on healthier eating with these three recipes. Each one is a great vegetarian or vegan option on its own, but you can also add grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp!
- Big vegan bowl: This is a classic power bowl. Not vegan? No problem! Just add your favorite meat.
- Moroccan salad bowl: This yummy bowl is inspired by Moroccan flavors and filled with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint.
- Rainbow winter bowl: Taste the rainbow with this delicious bowl of squash, mushrooms, avocado and your favorite greens!
Soon enough, your palate will find a whole new world of flavor! Share your favorite meat-free meals in the comments below!