5 Tips for Sticking to a Meat-Free Diet

Most of us grew up eating meat at every meal; however, meat-free diets are becoming more and more popular with the help of popular media campaigns and even strong celebrity backing. You've probably heard that keeping meat off your plate is good for your physical and mental health, the environment, and also the best way to reduce animal cruelty. And, maybe you've been inspired to give up meat for good. While it may be challenging, one thing is for certain, a meat-free diet is possible and is bound to be the best decision you could make for yourself and the environment. Here are a few tips to help you stick to a meatless diet:

Figure out Why You Want a Meat-free Diet

The decision to stop eating meat is a personal one. Some do it for their health, others are concerned about animal welfare, others want to reduce their environmental impact, and others are following the trend. Whatever your reason is, ensure you're passionate about it. As mentioned earlier, this isn't going to be an easy journey. It's much easier to stick to your goals when you really care about why you're making the change in the first place.

Get Friends and Family Members on Board

Inform the people around you about your decision. They might be more understanding of your food choices if they know the reason(s) why you made the change. It would also help if they made the change with you, even if it's just once in a while. That way, you have someone to help you stick to it and you wouldn't have to prepare multiples at home.

Find Meat Substitutes

You are bound to crave something traditionally meaty. The good news is there are plenty of delicious plant-based alternatives that can help make the switch easier. If you miss the texture and flavor of meat, try patties or crumbles made from textured vegetable protein. You're also probably not going to get enough protein, especially at the beginning. Luckily, there are also plenty of plant-based proteins to help with that, including beans, lentils, tofu, seitan, mushrooms, tempeh, almonds, and much more. Keep in mind that meat offers more than just proteins. You also get other nutrients like Vitamin B-12 and iron. Make sure you're getting these nutrients from your vegan diet as well.

Create Meal Plans

As mentioned earlier, you'll find yourself missing meat or at least thinking about it more often. Rather than giving in, try to create a meal plan to deal with cravings. Think of an alternative way to satisfy your cravings. For instance, you might be craving a savory umami flavor, in which case you should eat mushrooms or Parmesan cheese. If your body is craving proteins, have a peanut butter sandwich instead of chicken. Be sure to keep some savory snacks like smoked nuts or roasted chickpeas to help curb your cravings for meat. Don't wait until you're hungry to decide what to eat. Instead, plan healthy plant-based meals ahead of time so you don't have an excuse to grab a meaty dish.

Don't Give Up

Last but not least, this transition takes time. After years of eating meat, it's not going to be easy to give it up completely. Don't abandon your meat-free diet all together just because you relapsed. Remind yourself why you stopped eating meat in the first place and work towards achieving that goal again. Consider joining a support group where you can interact, seek advice, share your success and challenges, and even get inspiration from like-minded people.

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