If you are a vegetarian, or you’re interested in becoming one, it’s important to have your food staples always on hand. Meat is a common source of protein, so you may need to focus on new ways to get enough protein each day when you adopt your new diet. Read on to help guide your next trip to the grocery store if you’re looking to start a vegetarian diet.
What to buy:
1. Beans and legumes
Canned beans are a great, shelf-stable way for you to get plant-based protein in your diet. Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, soy beans, and pinto beans are all great options to add to your grocery list. There are plenty of health benefits to beans and legumes, but the high amount of protein is a great choice for a vegetarian diet. Boiled soybeans, commonly known as edamame, have over 30 grams of protein per cup (1).
Quinoa is a complete protein, which means that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids (2). A cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein, which will help keep you full as you cut meat out of your diet. As a bonus, quinoa is a great base for meals.
Tofu is low in calories and high in protein, making it a great choice for anyone looking to cut down on calories. For under 200 calories, you can get 15 grams of protein from tofu. As a food, it is extremely versatile, too. You can add it to stir fries, salads, or pastas - really, anything you want! Sauces and crispness levels can help you achieve your desired taste.
If you’re unsure where to get your healthy fats from, look to avocados. Many people get their healthy fats from lean meats, but that’s not the only place you can get it. The fats in avocados can help cover the food groups in your burrito bowls or in your breakfast (thank you, avocado toast!).
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that vegetarians should keep a lot of vegetables on hand at all times. Vegetables are great for you, and they can be used in a broad range of dishes. You can throw peppers into your breakfast scramble, add in extra veggies to your soup, and create a sheet-roast of veggies to go with your dinner. Grocery stores make it easy to have variety in your vegetable choices, too. You may know that you’ll eat a head of broccoli each week, but you may be a little unsure about what else you will want. Instead of deciding at the beginning of the week, you can opt for a frozen bag of mixed veggies. These work great as sides, or can easily be mixed into a stirfry.
6. Spices and seasoning
Just because you’re not going to be seasoning meat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on the spices in your cabinet. People usually think to season their meat before they cook it, but the same should go for you veggies. Doing so can make sure your diet feels diverse, even if you are repurposing your favorite vegetables multiple times a week.