I recently decided to try out the world of vegetarianism. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good steak as much as the next person, but the health freak in me was determined to trade cholesterol for chickpeas.
Although there are many acceptable reasons for indulging in meat, labeling yourself as a veg-head has an endless list of heath benefits.
Vegetarianism can seem daunting at first if you don’t know how to curb your carnivorous side. To help ease your anxiety, here are five simple ingredients that are a must have for first time vegetarians:
Getting enough protein can be challenging when finding the vegetarian diet that’s right for you. As a new vegetarian, your most important task is finding foods that have as much protein that meat has.
Although small in size, chickpeas are filled with protein. One small serving of chickpeas has 19 entire grams of protein (that’s almost as much as a chicken breast). Plus, the inexpensive cost of chickpeas is affordable for anyone on a student budget.
Never cooked with chickpeas before? Test your cooking skills with these simple hummus recipes for for beginners.
Whether they’re salty or sweet, nuts are a great snack for us veg-heads. Not only are nuts packed with protein, but a handful of almonds has more protein than a piece of salmon.
Are you craving a hamburger? A nut-burger provides a similar taste and texture to beef, so ditch the traditional veggie burger and start cooking with nuts.
You don’t have to miss taco Tuesday as a vegetarian. In fact, you can revamp your taco night with beans. 100 grams of beans has 22 grams of protein. Compare that to 100 grams of beef, which only has 14 grams of protein.
Beans may be good for your heart, but beans are even better for adding protein to a vegetarian diet. So pass the beans and lose the beef (just make sure you aren’t going on a date later).
Cheese is a staple food that’s extremely high in protein for any vegetarian diet. Fun fact: a single serving of cheese has just as much protein as two eggs.
If you’re into expensive cheese from the farmer’s market, or cheap grocery store cheese, you now have the perfect excuse to melt cheese on everything.
If you’re a hardcore carnivore, you’re probably gagging right now. But without eating red meat, it’s difficult to get enough iron as a vegetarian. Spinach is rich enough in iron to help vegetarians meet their daily iron requirements. Even a small spinach salad has 30% of your daily iron, which is about the equivalent to the iron in a steak.
Don’t want to trade in that juicy steak for some leafy greens? This spinach dip recipe might change your mind.
Vegetarianism doesn’t have to be hard when you know how to experiment with the right ingredients. If you’re planning to trade in your carnivorous lifestyle for vegetarianism, make sure to have these essential food items in your diet.
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