10 Tips for Smart Vegetarians

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Vegetarian diets can vary - even though you don't eat meat - your food choices are immense. Eating healthy should still be your goal. The first meat-less meals for me included lots of cheese and potatoes. Not good.

Your body doesn't work well if you only eat the bun from a hamburger. Don't stress out - start slow and easy. Here are 10 tips for smart vegetarians.

Learning over the years to try more colorful vegetables has helped. Following the list below may seem elementary, it does help to keep more focused on the goal – healthy and responsible eating.

Your Goal is Healthy Eating

1) Stay away from junk food

– twinkies aren't a fruit. Just eating all the “berries” can be fun.

2) Drive by the fast food joints

- fried french fries don't count as a vegetable. You can even love brussel sprouts.

3) Eat a variety of foods in all colors

– “paint” an abstract picture on your plate.

4) Watch your portions

- a cup is the size of a baseball, not a basketball. Try using your hand to learn your portions. Thumb to first joint is an oz of cheese for example.

5) Make your milk and cheese fat free or low fat

– 2% tastes just as good as whole.

6) Plan meals ahead of time

- until you feel comfortable with spur of the moment decisions – Just like with other diet plans, write down everything at first until it becomes second nature.

7) Buy organic whenever possible

- no extra chemicals for you. Watch the labels and make sure you understand the differences.

8) Shop locally

- farmer's markets for fun and fresh food. Eating local helps your community and get you fresher food.

9) Look for vegetarian choices at "regular" restaurants

- don't be afraid of going out with your meat eating friends. There are vegetarian choices at all restaurants now.

10) Try new things

- just because it looks ugly, doesn't mean it doesn't taste good. My mom always gave me a “no thank you” helping.

Vegetarians can be healthy or unhealthy in food choices. Be a Smart and Healthy Vegetarian using these 10 tips for smart vegetarians.

Becoming a Vegetarian

Do you have a great story about your personal journey to becoming a vegetarian? Why did you change your eating habits? What kind of vegetarian are you and why? Was the change difficult? easy? Share your journey.

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