Whether you want to be healthier, are concerned about the environmental impact of the meat industry, or just think we shouldn’t be killing and eating animals anymore, this vegetarian shopping list has you covered for the start of your healthy and ethical journey.
Vegetarianism goes as far back as the early 1800s. In the UK, the idea of “abstaining from flesh” was driven by the religious temperance movement and also growing health reforms. The movement and its ideas gathered momentum, and The Vegetarian Society was officially formed in 1847.
Over the centuries, the vegetarian movement grew and is now seen as a widespread dietary choice. There are even high profile vegetarians such as Sir Paul McCartney, advocating for people to switch from meat to a plant-based diet.
When you delve deeper into the way many meat producers treat their animals, and the statistics regarding the meat industries contribution to climate change and deforestation, meat doesn’t seem so marvelous anymore. Because of this, many find it difficult not to make the choice to go vegetarian, or at least flexitarian. You could even find yourself eventually settling for a vegan diet.
So, if you’re going vegetarian, we’ll do more than just cheer you on. We’ll answer some questions you may have about a vegetarian diet, and also provide you with a basic vegetarian shopping list to get you started. However, you’re more than welcome to skip straight to the free printable grocery shopping list template if you wish.
Vegetarian Diet FAQ
Is a vegetarian diet healthy?
It most certainly can be!
By cutting meat out of your diet, you’re cutting out a major source of saturated fat. Saturated fat has been strongly connected to heart disease and bad cholesterol (LDL) over the years, although a more complicated picture is starting to emerge.
If a veggie diet is done well, you’ll be increasing your fiber intake by eating more vegetables, grains, and legumes. This will help keep your digestive tract healthy, reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer, and also help lower your LDL. What’s more, fiber helps you feel full for longer, meaning you’re less likely to snack. This will make you eat less.
That doesn’t mean it’s healthy eating by default. You still have to be mindful of your intake of saturated fat from other sources such as cheese and cooking oil. Also, you’ll need to make sure you also watch your sugar intake. Sugar which is directly linked with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Remember, chocolate is mostly vegetarian, but you certainly shouldn’t eat too much of it. Salad dressings are also mostly vegetarian, but can be a major source of unwanted calories, saturated fat, and sugar.
You can make your own healthy salad dressing using just two ingredients: oil and vinegar. By mixing these together and drizzling it onto your salad, you can add flavor and zing without any extra saturated fat and sugar that store-bought brands often pack in. Use a healthy oil full of Omega-3 such as olive, linseed/flaxseed, or rapeseed. You can also use different types of vinegar such as balsamic or apple cider vinegar for a wider variety of flavors.
Will I lose weight on a vegetarian diet?
Being vegetarian will not automatically mean you’ll lose weight.
To ensure you lose weight, you still need to make sure that your calorie intake doesn’t exceed what your body burns during the day: 2,000 calories per day for women and 2,500 calories per day for men. The only surefire way to lose weight on a vegetarian diet is to stick to a daily calorie deficit.
Is a vegetarian diet cheap?
Meat is certainly more expensive than fruit and vegetables. Indeed, meat prices have risen more than produce prices in the last few years. So, generally speaking, sticking to only dairy, fruit, and veg will work out much cheaper.
But there are ways that a vegetarian diet can increase your outgoings. Cooking with healthier oil such as olive, rapeseed, and linseed/flaxseed can certainly put a strain on your wallet. The same can be said about some brands of meat alternatives, and organic produce.
However, a savvy vegetarian will know where they can save money where they can. Canned food is a great and cheap source of food that’s just as healthy as fresh. You can even take that one step further by buying even cheaper dried legumes as opposed to the canned variety.
Are meat alternatives worth it?
This is entirely up to you.
Some people find that using meat alternatives can help curb their urges for going back to meat. If you think you’re going to need this bit of comfort, then certainly go for them. However, we would certainly recommend buying and trying different brands and options in small quantities first to see if you like them or not. Some certainly taste better than others.
What we do recommend is trying as mainly fully vegetarian recipes and veggie alternatives for your favorite meals as possible. This way, you might actually make new favorites that will replace your taste for the meatier versions. This will also help better ease that craving for meat over time.
Is there any vegetarian food I should definitely eat?
Legumes, legumes, legumes.
Because they’re a high protein and high fiber vegetarian superfood. This also makes them a the key ingredients in many vegan recipes. This will ensure you get all the vital protein your body needs without resorting to meat. Both protein and fiber also help you feel full for longer. Legumes are an all-round winner, so definitely make sure they’re on your vegetarian food list and into your veggie meal plan.
Your Vegetarian Shopping List
Now that you’re stuffed full of some excellent vegetarian knowledge, you can walk away and start using our free printable vegetarian shopping. Feel free to take off things you’d rather not buy, and add things that you think we’re missing.
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Vegetarian Food List
Do you think legumes are a vegetarian superfood? What ingredients have you used to make your own tasty salad dressing? What would you add to our vegetarian food list? Let us know in the comments.