Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tips for Taking a Family Meatless or Vegetarian

Taking a family meatless
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.

Serve a complete protein at every meatless meal. Beans, tofu (if your family likes it), eggs and cheese are all good choices. Learn the winning combos to serve. Rice, organic corn and beans make a compete protein for example. Sometimes you can make a recipe complete by adding nuts or seeds.

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.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I did not consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I am normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. I did succeed in changing our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming where we are about to take an even bigger step and move out on a dirt road in the country where we can expand our hobby bees and more! You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8

Legal Disclaimer

While it is true that I am working on a PHD in Psychology and very smart and frugal, I am not a medical doctor, criminal, personal or accident lawyer. I do not sell insurance nor am I an accountant or mortgage advisor. While some of my posts may offer good ideas on home and business solutions, I am not personally responsible nor is Considering frugal for any advice, ideas, recipes or menu plans that you decide to use. This blog is intended to be helpful and fun. Any products you purchase from my Amazon store or any other retailer advertised on my blog must be returned to them. Any sponsors or advertisers are independent of this blog.