I remember many years ago I asked my husband what he would do if he came home and we were having only salad for dinner. The conversation went something along the lines of him mimicking Salad and then proclaiming how much he loves meat. Well fast forward to a few years later and here we are at Trader Joe’s gearing up for a week of plant based/vegetarian eating. I say vegetarian because we did have products that contained dairy such as yogurt, whey protein, and tomato basil soup.
I’ve watched several Vegan documentaries and I have gained a deep interest in finding alternative ways of eating. Today there are so many substitutes on the market, that make eating meatless a breeze. I found so many of these substitutes to be more appetizing than their regular meat friends. Doing this challenge with my husband was fun, it got us excited to try new recipes.
I will admit, eating meatless did take a lot more preparation and planning. The only reason it was more difficult, was because it was a new routine for us. We have mastered our standard meal prep, but trying something new gave us both a desire to learn new ways of eating.
One thing I did wonder was if my workouts would have been compromised due to not eating animal protein. In order to combat this, I made sure to eat sufficiently, and take in a lot of nutrients through vegetables and nuts.
We really enjoyed eating this way and we both said there were certain meat substitution products we would make key purchases. Ideally I would like to move towards a pescatarian diet in the future. I will continue to explore other plant based/ meat substitution products. Do you think you could challenge yourself to not eat meat for a week? If you are already a meatless eater, what are some of your favorite meals?
If you would like to see some meal ideas and tips to get inspired, keep reading!
I didn’t take a picture of my lunch, but it was delicious, quick, and easy. We bought the Italian meat-less sausages and prepped them the night before. As a side, we had steamed broccoli and cherry tomatoes on the side.
Tomato Basil Soup from Costco (contains dairy), I cooked lentils and added them into the soup for extra protein. We also roasted broccolini in the oven with balsamic as a side, and a piece of whole grain toast to dip into our soup.
I made fajita bowls without meat! Cut up bell peppers and onion and put it to sauté with chipotle sauce. I purchased canned black beans and Israeli couscous to add to the fajitas. It was my first time trying Israeli couscous and it was delicious, I can’t wait to use it again. Like I mentioned, one of the best parts about this week of eating was trying lots of new things!
For dinner we decided to make vegetarian tacos. We used cactus, onion, and soy rizo for the tacos. We added avocado to the tacos and my husband also added vegan cheese to his. It was my first time trying Soy-Rizo and it was amazing, it was not oily at all like regular chorizo and had a great flavor. We also used Mission organic tortillas to put the tacos in.
Trader Joes sells this amazing Vegetable and Soba Noodle stir fry kit. We prepped this the night before and we also added Edamame to it to add more protein! The kit comes with veggies and a pack of soba noodles (not pictured), it also has a sauce you stir fry everything with.
This dinner was one of the easiest ones. To be honest, everything we typically cook is easy and efficient. We bought the Quinoa Cowboy burger patties from Trader Joes and cooked them in the oven. As a side we did green beans and side salad with raspberry vinaigrette.
I made my husband an Avocado/Chickpea/Edamame Toast. The night before I prepped the avocado and put it in a to go container. Luckily Ed has a toaster at work so he was able to toast his bread.
Since I don’t have a toaster at work, I ate at my second job. I asked the kitchen to make me fajitas without meat, so it has cactus, bell peppers, onion, tomato, with a bit of beans and rice, so yummy!
This was my favorite meal that we did! We bought the brown rice and yellow lentil spaghetti which is packed with protein and tastes just like regular pasta. We then used an “Autumn Harvest” soup sauce which had tomato and pumpkin and butternut squash. My husband also cut up mushrooms and onion and cooked it into the sauce. The final part was my most favorite, meatless meatballs from Trader Joes. They had such a delicious flavor, I was craving them the next week.
Avoiding meat and dairy, is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on earth!!! You don’t have to completely cut certain things from your diet at once if you don’t want to, but you should strive to find alternatives. You never know if these alternatives are better tasting than the original ones. All the meatless substitutes we bought were better tasting than the original products are products we would buy over their originals. I’m looking forward to continue to find new ways of eating to reduce our environmental impact.