Written by: Dawn Jackson Blatner
Vegetarianism is not just for vegetarians anymore. These days the growing health movement called flexitarianism is taking root and converting carnivores into veggie-loving folks.
A flexitarian is someone who eats vegetarian food without quitting meat cold turkey. This plant-based eating style is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts that can help you lose weight, reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer and add years to your life.
In addition to health benefits, eating this way is environmentally friendly because it results in less carbon emissions than a standard meat-heavy meal plan. Since meat and poultry tend to be the most expensive things on a grocery bill, cutting down will also help you save some cash.
Is there enough protein in a semi-vegetarian plan to keep you in top physical shape help you achieve optimum athletic performance? Absolutely! When preparing veggie meals, just be sure to include protein-rich beans, lentils, nuts and seeds such as edamame, white beans, black beans, lentils, tofu, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
Here are five fast and flavorful vegetarian meals that make meat-free easy, any day of the week:
Pesto Tofu Scramble with Toast
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 ounces (~1/4 package) firm tofu, drained & crumbled
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon prepared pesto
2 cups baby spinach
1 slice whole grain bread (such as EzekielTM)
Sea salt & pepper, to taste
Sauté oil, turmeric, and crumbled tofu for 1 minute. Add pesto and spinach for an additional 5 minutes. Serve mixture on toast and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
290 calories, 16g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 0g sugar, 16g protein.
Garden Lentil Salad Pita
1/4 cup canned lentils, rinsed and drained
2 medium stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup baby carrots, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon olive oil
Sea salt & pepper to taste
1 whole grain pita, cut in half
Toss lentils, celery, carrots, lemon juice, oil, salt & pepper. Serve in pita when ready to eat.
310 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 500mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate, 13g fiber, 8g sugar, 11g protein.