It’s World Vegetarian Day!!

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What’s on the menu for dinner tonight? Today is World Vegetarian Day so why not swap that juicy steak or chicken breast for a tasty vege stir fry or curry?

We’ve got all you need to know to change the way you eat, or find a tasty vegetarian recipe to serve up for tea…

TURNING VEGETARIAN:
There are three main types of vegetarian, they are:

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: excludes meat, poultry and seafood, but eats dairy and eggs.

Lacto Vegetarian: excludes meat, poutry, seafood and eggs but will have milk and other diary products.

Vegan: excludes meat, poultry, seafood, diary, eggs and any products of animal origin e.g. honey and gelatine.

VEGETARIAN FOOD GROUPS:

Cereals/Grains: Wheat (bread & pasta), rolled oats, barley, couscous, rice
Pulses: Kidney beans, baked beans, chick peas, lentils
Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
Fruit & vegetables
Dairy/Soya Products:
Tofu, tempeh, soya milk
Vegetable Oils/Fats: Margarine, butter, canola oil, olive oil

CHANGING TO A VEGETARIAN DIET:
If you’re thinking about changing to a vegetarian diet, here is a step-by-step guide from www.vegsource.com/

1. Start with familiar meals.
Most people have favourite dishes that are vegetarian or can be made into vege meals easily. If you like stir-fried vegetables, vegetable soups or bean dishes you can begin your transition by eating these meals more often. You might can also try converting your favourite meat dishes into meatless versions. Try spaghetti with a tomato and vegetable sauce instead of meat sauce, or a falafel kebab instead of a beef one. The idea of these changes is to make the move from a meat diet to a vegetarian one fairly smooth – best case scenario is you’ll hardly notice the change!

2. Experiment with substitutes.
The next step is to start substituting meat for other foods. Try replacing the meat in burgers with falafel, hash browns, mushrooms or tofu patties. You can also replace the meat in stir fries or curries with tofu, or try potato or kumara.

3. Broaden your horizons.
Moving to a vegetarian diet means you’ll find yourself branching out and trying foods from different cultures and ingredients you’ve never used before. Try cooking a few Indian dishes like aloo gobi (curried potatoes and cauliflower) and dahl (lentils cooked with spices), or Middle Eastern foods like falafel and hummus. Other tasty vegetarian options include Mexican (bean burritos, stuffed capsicum) and Thai (tofu-based curries and vegetable stir fries).

4. Buy convenience foods
Fill your pantry with vegetarian convenience foods – canned soups, baked beans, pasta/stir fry sauce, chilli beans, canned chickpeas, frozen vegetables, and falafel mix/pre-made patties. If you’ve got the basics to make a vegetarian meal already in the pantry it will be easier to whip up a meal if you’re in a hurry.

5. Buy a vegetarian cookbook.
A book of vegetarian recipes or recipes downloaded from the Internet will expand your culinary skills and give you more variety when you sit down to dinner.

ON THE WEB:
www.vegkitchen.com – A huge archive of vegetarian recipes and tips.
www.vegsource.com – Vegetarian recipes, health information and links.
www.vrg.org – Vegetarian recipes and nutritional information.

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