Welcome to the veg life.
There are many different reasons why people decide to follow a vegetarian diet, but it can be hard for first timers to find nutritious and delicious meals to cook. This is my second time following the veggie lifestyle and I still struggle with finding what I can make—especially since I’m no David Chang in the kitchen.
My best friend and I have been sharing healthy vegetarian-friendly recipes for the past two weeks on our quest to cook more meals with feel good foods that are easy to make. Both moms (and not the greatest chefs), we set out to find recipes that are simple, tasty and NOT time consuming.
Both former vegetarians (thanks a lot pregnancy cravings) looking to go back to a mainly meatless diet, bouncing meals ideas back and forth has become really fun.
Going back to a veggie life was actually my steak loving husband’s idea, as he is looking to clean up his diet. I am looking to learn how to make better tasting veggie meals for him, since he isn’t one to eat quinoa and having zuchinni noodles won’t fill him up as an entree. For me, I could live off of spinach-based salads and call it a day, but I get that he needs a little more substance. And since I am training for a half marathon, I really do too.
Thus started my recipe quest with my bestie, asking her for ideas and sharing mine. It was her who requested my food diary to see what I eat in a given week since my cooking kick has produced some tasty looking dishes—all while fueling my body for my recent beast mode status of running long distance and racing.
My response ? That I would be too embarrassed by writing down the amount of snacks and iced caramel lattes from Dunkin that I consume in a week. Her response? That would be the best part, of course—revealing that I am human, too.
I decided to go for it, since I haven’t kept a food log in forever and it would make force me to have some self control and focus on cooking.
So here’s a weeks worth of vegetarian meal ideas for those looking to start following this diet, featuring wholesome and nutritious, as well as sugary and delicious treats. Life is all about balance anyway!
2 cups of coffe with 3 tbsp of vanilla creamer each (It’s MONDAY!!)
Homemade strawberry banana bread (I used almond flour instead and added in walnuts)
1 large Portabella stuffed mushroom (added diced mushrooms to the stuffing, and substituted cheese for Gorgonzola. Also used champagne vinaigrette dressing instead of Italian.)
2 pieces of zucchini cheesy “bread”
Water with lemon and apple cider vinegar
Pistachios (a few handfuls)
Fruit & veggie green smoothie with almond milk
Veggie burger burrito (veggie burger, organic brown rice, spinach, yellow peppers and mushrooms, hot sauce and sour cream on a tortilla)
Englightened mint chocolate chip ice cream
Strawberry banana peach almond milk smooithie
Strawberry banana walnut bread
Cauliflower crack with Light Ranch dipping sauce
1 piece of zucchini cheesy “bread”
Workout: 5 mile run
Chocolate strawberry protein shake
2 stuffed Portabella mushrooms
Red pepper hummus with Ritz crackers
Wine night!! (about 4 glasses, sorry not sorry)
Mozzarella cheese stick and more crackers
Coffee with 3 tbsp of vanilla creamer
Cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter
Workout: 10 mile run
During workout: GU gel (100 calories)
Medium chocolate peanut butter plus shake from Smoothie King
Handful of corn poppers
Left over cauliflower crack with light ranch
Spinach salad with shredded carrots, roasted pecans, Gorgonzola cheese and champagne vinaigrette dressing
Hot peppermint tea with apple cider vinegar and raw manuka honey
Enlightened Birthday Cake ice cream 1/2 pint (140 calories; I ran 10 miles today, don’t judge me!)
2 scrambled eggs with a little ketchup
Coffee with 3 tbsp vanilla creamer
+ half a mini pancake (left over from toddler’s breakfast)
Spinach salad with shredded carrots, blue cheese crumbles, roasted pecans and strawberry balsamic dressing
Dunkin Donuts iced caramel latte with skim milk
1 Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Pepper (pepper stuffed with brown rice, cheddar cheese, broccoli and marina sauce)
1 small loaded sweet potato (sweet potato topped with broccoli, diced yellow pepper, cheddar cheese and sour cream
2 sweet potato cookies (recipe from Run Fast, Eat Slow)
2 sweet potato cookies
Coffee with 3 tbsp of vanilla creamer
Workout: Kickboxing class
Harvest Snaps – Chipotle Lime
Suja Green Delight fruit & veggie juice (apple, banana, mango, lemon, kale, spinach, spirulina, chlorella, barely grass, alfalfa grass)
Butternut squash noddles with Classico sun dried tomato alfredo sauce
1 small loaded sweet potato
Chinese takeout: salmon terrioyki and spicy tuna roll (this turned out to be a pescartarian week)
Workout: Max Challenege 5k race (did 3.8 miles)
Post run snack
Plain bagel (no butter or cream cheese)
Medium Dunkin Donuts caramel latte
Shrimp Po Boy
Fried Oreo (3 pieces)
Falafael sandwich with lettuce, tomato and hot sauce
Harvest Snaps- Sun dried tomato
(*Clearly this was a cheat day of unhealthy foods, but was a park fair so it’s all about enjoying the moment and eating in moderation.)
Coffee and vanilla creamer
Vegfest food festival- Vegan buffalo meatballs
Shrimp with cherry tomatoes and spaghetti (from Run Fast, East Slow cookbook)
What I learned from this week
Writing down what I eat made me want to think twice about snacking or reaching for unhealthy foods. With that said, looking at this diary made me realize I drink a lot of coffee and need to be more mindful about snacking better. I also learned to try new things in the kitchen. Not every meal is going to be amazing, but these are all meals I would make again give or take a few ingredients. Moving forward, I am looking to up my game in the kitchen and experiment more!