|Tips for Taking a Family Meatless|
When my husband and I were married 10 years ago we both made compromises and my vegetarian lifestyle gradually fell by the wayside until recently when we watched the movie Food Inc. I instantly knew I wanted to return to vegetarianism at least temporarily if not for good.
Men are sometimes a little different. Although he was strongly moved by the abuse in the movie...he likes his meat. So we are making compromises to eat less meat so that we can afford organic meat. Following are some tips on how I am successfully introducing this new lifestyle choice to our family.
Don't go 'whole hog' or 'cold turkey' so to speak. We have some friends that are missionaries to a third world country where food, especially meat is scarce. For several months before they make a mission trip they gradually cut back on their protein intake making it much easier for their bodies to adjust to the change in lifestyle.
Stock your pantry for success. If you already cook from scratch transitioning to vegetarian can be very simple. Stock your pantry with your favorite legumes, nuts, nut butters, whole grains and a large variety of fresh, frozen and organic canned fruits and vegetables. Stock your refrigerator with plenty of high protein dairy and invest in tools such as zip lock freezer bags and a food processor.
Introduce new meatless recipes as side dishes rather than main dishes. If your family really likes the new introductions you can make it the main dish next time. Remember to make it a meal by adding salad, sides and bread if appropriate.
Introduce naturally vegetarian recipes. For us this first introduction was Quiche, a huge hit at our house. The great thing about Quiche is that you can adjust the recipe to fit your pantry. Our pantry was low this week so rather than making Quiche with veggies, this week I used fresh herbs. I also found a recipe that uses a hearty potato crust rather than the traditional pie crust.
Start by re- introducing favorite family foods. I started with one of our favorite foods, Enchiladas. We love enchiladas and I remembered ordering Mushroom Enchiladas at a local Mexican restaurant and loving them. It was an instant hit and I built momentum for all recipes to come.
Go ethnic. One of the first things I discovered when surfing for hearty vegetarian recipes was that many ethnic favorites like rice and beans, felafel's in pita and egg plant Parmesan are naturally yummy and meatless.
Take it slow and know that your family will gradually begin to prefer more fruits and vegetables. I have observed that overtime both my husband and children are starting to ask for more of the vegetarian favorites I am cooking.