Food Tips for Vegetarian Meal Planning effortless and inspiring with Weekly Meal Planning Templates. Going vegetarian can seem daunting at first when it comes to meal planning. Without the familiar fallback of meat as the main protein source, what exactly should you eat? Have no fear – with some simple tips and go-to recipes, vegetarian meal prep can actually become second nature. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from hearty breakfast ideas to easy lunch templates to protein-packed dinners. You’ll find diverse recipes highlighting tasty vegetables, whole grains, beans, tofu, eggs, and dairy. There are even full weekly meal plans included! Equipped with these vegetarian meal planning pointers, your plant-based diet journey will get off to a delicious start in no time.
Weekly Meal Planning Templates
Structuring your weekly meals around consistent templates takes the guesswork out of vegetarian meal prep. It helps ensure you have balanced nutrition covered each day. Here are some simple meal plan formulas to follow:
- Overnight oats
- Tofu veggie scramble
- Yogurt parfait
- Veggie sandwich or wrap
- Soup or salad
- Leftovers from last night’s dinner
- Veggie burrito or rice bowl
- Meatless Monday: Pasta with veggies
- Tofu Tuesday: Tofu stir-fry with rice
- Well-bean Wednesday: Bean chili or curry with quinoa
- Thriving Thursday: Lentil shepherd’s pie with side salad
- Feel-good Friday: Veggie pizza night!
Weekend Brunch: As the highlight of the weekend, go all out! Quiches, breakfast casseroles, pancakes, crepes, and hash browns are all fair game.
Weekend Dinners: Explore more time-intensive recipes saved for days off, like veggie lasagne, lentil loaf or bean burgers. Pair with fun sides like sweet potato fries.
Protein-Packed Vegetarian Recipes
Without the usual meat entrées, getting sufficient daily protein can seem uncertain at first on a vegetarian diet. Not to worry – beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, eggs and dairy all serve up ample protein. For best results, include one or more of these foods in each meal. Some delicious high-protein vegetarian recipes to try:
- Tofu Breakfast Scramble Tacos – Crumbled tofu sauteed with veggies and seasonings, stuffed into corn tortillas and topped with salsa and avocado. 19g protein per serving.
- Overnight Oats with Nuts and Seeds – Steel cut oats soaked overnight in a yogurt and chia seed mixture, then topped with fruit, nuts and seeds in the morning. 15g protein per serving.
- Chickpea Avocado Salad Sandwich – Chickpeas, red onion, cucumber, tomato and avocado on whole grain bread makes for a protein and nutrient-packed vegetarian sandwich. 15g protein per serving.
- Lentil and Quinoa Buddha Bowl – Beluga lentils, cooked quinoa, roasted sweet potato, steamed kale and hemp seeds tossed in a ginger peanut sauce for a balanced complete one-bowl vegetarian meal. 19g protein per serving.
- Veggie and Tofu Coconut Curry – Tofu, green peas, bell peppers and onion simmered in a spicy coconut milk curry sauce and served over brown rice. 20g protein per serving.
- Lentil Pasta Bolognese – A meaty mushroom and lentil ragu served atop whole grain pasta makes for ultimate plant-based comfort food. 25g protein per serving.
Incorporating More Vegetables and Grains
A new vegetarian knows getting enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains is essential. But with so many options, what are the best ones to regularly eat? Fill half your plate with a creative combo of produce at each meal. Rotate grains and experiment with lesser-known varieties like farro, spelt and amaranth. Some nutrient-packed ideas:
- Leafy Greens – Kale, spinach, swiss chard, arugula
- Cruciferous – Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
- Root Veggies – Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots
- Onions/Garlic – Red, white, yellow onions, leeks, shallots, garlic
- Other Favorites – Bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, avocado
Fruits: Berries, bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit, kiwifruit, mango, melon, pineapple, pears
- Whole Grains – Brown rice, quinoa, farro, freekeh, bulgur, amaranth
- Whole Wheat Breads/Pasta
- Oats, Barley
- Corn Tortillas, Polenta
FAQs on Food Tips for Vegetarian Meal Planning
What are good sources of protein for vegetarian diets?
Excellent vegetarian protein sources include beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, edamame, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy products, and whole grains like quinoa. As long as you eat a variety of these foods daily, you’ll meet your protein needs on a vegetarian diet.
What are some easy vegetarian dinner recipe ideas?
Some simple veggie dinner recipe ideas include veggie fajitas with beans and roasted veggies, pasta primavera, tofu vegetable stir fries, lentil shepherd’s pie, bean and cheese quesadillas, and chickpea curry over rice.
What are good vegetarian breakfasts to meal prep?
Great breakfasts to make ahead for the week include overnight oats, tofu veggie scrambles, breakfast burritos or tacos, chia pudding, oatmeal, and yogurt parfaits.
What foods should I eat if transitioning to a vegetarian diet?
When first going vegetarian, focus on incorporating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and plant-based proteins like tofu. If including eggs and dairy, moderate your intake as high quantities can pose health risks. Continue eating balanced meals with a variety of nutrients.
How can I get enough iron, calcium and B12 on a vegetarian diet?
Iron-rich vegetarian foods include lentils, white beans, spinach and other leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, cashews, raisins and quinoa. For calcium, try almond milk, tofu, leafy greens, broccoli, okra and figs. Nutritional yeast, milk alternatives and cereals are often fortified with vitamin B12 as well. Consider a supplement if concerned.
With a little planning and some reliable plant-based protein sources, grains and vegetable sides in your vegetarian meal prep toolbox, eating meatless daily can actually become second nature. This guide outlined helpful meal templates, protein-packed veggie recipes and creative ways to incorporate diverse fruits, veggies and whole grains into your diet. Sticking to these vegetarian meal planning tips will set you well on your way to reaping all the delicious benefits a vegetarian lifestyle has to offer!