Everything you need to know about going vegetarian
Oct. 1 is World Vegetarian Day, which means it's the perfect time to enter your vegetarian era. There are so many fab reasons to give up meat: It helps the environment, encourages healthy eating habits and saves some of our animal friends. But you shouldn't go all in before doing your research. Keep reading for tips on how to stay happy and healthy while living meat-free!
Vitamins, vitamins, vitamins
A meatless diet can make it harder for you to get all the nutrients you need, including calcium, iron, zinc and B12 (a vitamin that helps create red blood cells and is only found in meat products). These vitamins are *so* important for our bodies—so if you decide to go vegetarian, you need to plan out how you'll get enough of them. Take a minute to look up food alternatives that can help you get all the vitamins you need. You can get your daily serving of calcium in a glass of milk, your iron from a handful of peanuts and your zinc from a bowl of lentil soup.
When cutting out meat, it can be super easy to turn to junk foods (Cheez-Its and Twinkies *are* meat-free, after all). Foods like french fries and Doritos may be vegetarian, but that doesn't make them a balanced meal (we know, we're crying about it too). Make sure to incorporate different types of food into your diet, including raw vegetables and fruits. You can totally chow down on a Twinkie from time to time, but don't forget to eat some strawberries here and there.
Try something new
Going vegetarian may cut down on some of your meal options, but that just means you have to more to try. Now is the moment to explore global vegetarian cuisine: Ethiopian injera, Indian sambar, Korean kimchi. There are so many non-meat options out there—you've just got to look for them!
Like the Boy Scouts always say: Be prepared. Make an appointment with a dietician or doctor to go over the health risks and benefits of a meatless diet. Research meat and vitamin alternatives so you know which foods are best for you. Make a shopping list so you can be sure to buy what you need. And maybe even check out GL's Eat Right section for some fun vegetarian recipes (*wink wink*).
Check out these GL web posts for some serious snack inspo:
🍓 How to recreate Hailey Bieber's strawberry glaze smoothie
🥭 Cowboy caviar is a thing — and we're kind of obsessed
🍊 Hate vegetables? These recipes will change your mind
Are you a veteran vegetarian? Tweet us your tips and tricks @girlslifemag!