1. Cut back gradually
a. If you are in the habit of eating meat, poultry or fish for lunch and dinner, limit such choices to one meal a day and then cut back further.
b. Decrease or forgo the meat in our family’s favorite dishes.
c. When you do eat meat, poultry or fish, use it sparingly to flavor dishes such as rice and pasta entrees.
d. If your substitute cheese and other dairy products for red meat, choose low-fat or nonfat varieties whenever possible.
2. Get into grains
a. High in protein, millet is an excellent source of B vitamins and several minerals, including iron.
b. Buckwheat: Its nutty flavor and crunchy texture contribute to entrees and side dishes. Buckwheat can also be eaten for breakfast.
c. Barley: Whole hulled barley is more nutritious than pealed barley, which loses its outer layer in processing. Use barley as a side dish, in soups or as a breakfast cereal.
3. Dabble in beans
a. Dried peas and beans, which are a staple of vegetarian diets around the world, provide protein, B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc and fiber. Red lentils are one of the quickest to prepare requiring no soaking and less than 20 minutes or cooking.
b. To shorten soaking time, place beans in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the burner and let the beans stand, covered, in the pot for an hour or two.
4. A meal plan: Here is what a healthy lacto-ovo vegetarian (those who eat no meat, poultry or fish but do consume dairy products and eggs) diet should include daily:
a. Four or more servings of vegetables.
b. Three or more servings of fruit.
c. Six or more servings of whole grains (such as bread cereal, rice and pasta).
d. Two or three servings of nuts, tofu (a soyabean product) and legumes (dried peas and beans).
e. Up to three servings of low fat dairy foods.
f. An occasional egg or egg whites.