A vast amount of a student’s college career is spent around food, whether that be frequenting one of the school cafeterias, having late night snacks while churning out the research paper that had been procrastinated for several weeks or going out to socialize with some friends.
Personally, food is the great est love of my life, but as soon as anyone learns that I am a vegetarian, it sounds as if someone close to me had recently passed away. “I’m so sorry for your loss,” one would say as they pat me on the shoulder, offering a tissue for me to cry into. But I’m not crying, because to me, nothing is missing from my life.
Now, my experience as a vegetarian is pretty easy, since I never enjoyed eating meat before I decided to cut it out altogether. Before I decided to stop eating meat, I would probably eat one item with meat in it each week and only because, more often than not, I couldn’t find anything better and I really only wanted the french fries that came with the meat anyway. When I realized I would only order meat mostly for the accompanying side dish, I decided to stop wasting meat I didn’t want and committed to becoming a vegetarian (a few days before Thanksgiving break, with which my parents were not too thrilled).
Also, I should note that I’m technically pescetarian, which means I still eat fish occasionally. This is just another reason while “pure” vegetarians are probably having a harder time than I am.
“But what about protein” an amalgamation of voices scream into the night. If I had a nickle for every time I was asked this question, I’d probably have enough money to eat healthily. Honestly, it isn’t that hard to find sources for protein besides meat. Get ting enough protein in a vegan diet is much more challenging, and my deep love for cheese would make such a diet impossible for me. Protein can be found in dairy products like milk and cheese, eggs, beans, lentils and many other food sources. Let me offer an example.
The recommended protein intake for the average sedentary woman is 46 grams. For break fast, I could have 2 eggs for 12 grams of protein, a glass of 2% milk for 8 grams and a piece of toast with peanut butter for 8 grams of program. Here we already have 28 grams of protein, which is already more than half the required amount of protein. For lunch, I could have a grilled veggie and hummus wrap containing about 17 grams. And finally, for dinner I could make penne pasta with veggies for about 14 grams.
This would already put me at 59 grams of protein for the day, not including snacks that could also contain protein. While I’m not typically a healthy eater and am not likely to eat as much protein as this hypothetical day portrays, it is more than possible to get enough protein from sources other than meat.
An important tip to keep in mind if you’re a vegetarian or are considering cutting back on the amount of meat you consume is to switch up the types of food you eat. Believe me, if all you eat is the same kind of pasta every day, it won’t be long until you start to hate pasta. As a lover of pasta, I would hate for such a development to occur.
That’s why it’s crucial to try new meals and recipes. One way to do this is to try the cafeteria’s vegetarian special every now and then. While some are good and some are definite misses, trying vegetarian specials is a way to discover what kind of foods you like.
Don’t get me wrong; the amount of vegetarian options available at most places is minimal, but the options are out there! Sure, some days I just have to be okay with eating the quinoa vegetarian special for the third day in a row, but more of ten than not, there’s food avail able that I can really enjoy.