Did you know that October is Vegetarian Awareness month? Why yes it is! Vegetarian, vegan, flexatarian, pescatarian, reducatarian, these are all health buzz words that you’ve might have heard recently.

A vegetarian is a person who chooses to not eat meat. Some vegetarians choose to only not eat land animals but still eat animal products like cheese, milk, and eggs. Some vegetarians choose to eat fish while others choose not to. Vegans choose to not eat any animal and their products. Some vegans also don’t use animal products as well like fur or leather. Some people do this for health reasons while others for moral reasons. Each person’s tale is unique to them.

Plenty of studies have shown that eating a more plant-based diet is beneficial to the overall health of not only us humans but Mother Nature as well. In order to help the environment and improve our health, the Meatless Monday campaign was created. On Meatless Mondays participants choose to eat more plant-based proteins that day (no fish, chicken, beef, goat, etc). If you are like me and can’t completely give up meat Meatless Monday is a great way to transition into a healthier lifestyle.

If you are interested in reducing your meat intake but don’t know where to start or failed miserably at every previous attempt here’s a guide to help you on your way.

1.Learn Your Plant-Based Proteins

The first thing you need to do is get to know your plant-based proteins. You never want to just cut something out of your life without replacing it with something else. In this case, if you are taking out chicken or fish you have to know where you can get your protein. When I first started doing Meatless Mondays it ended up really being Carb Mondays. That’s because I didn’t really get to know my plant-based proteins. So I just stuck to pasta dishes. Simple, easy and quick. Some plant-based proteins are beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and even vegetables like spinach. Be sure to check the site out next week for a more detailed post on plant proteins.

2.Plan Ahead
Have you ever heard of the saying “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Good ol Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about. You’d be surprised at how much meat/fish are intertwined in our daily meals. That’s why it is important to plan your meals ahead. Planning ahead gives you a chance to pick out new recipes, go food shopping, and meal prepping. If you don’t plan ahead you’re pretty much at the mercy of your surroundings.

3.Start Slow
One must learn how to walk before they run and for that reason, I always recommend to start slow. If you want to do Meatless Mondays, in the beginning aim for one meal a day. Then work your way to two meals and then three meals. If you’re up for a challenging start with your most meat-heavy meal!

4.Snack, snack, and more snack
No one wants to be around a hangry person. Have your snacks planned and ready. Fruits, nuts, veggie chips, fruit pops, etc. Snacking throughout the day will help keep your appetite on check and will have you feeling happy.

5.Have Fun & Explore
Meatless Mondays are a great opportunity to get to learn different cooking techniques, different foods, and different cultural cuisines. Use this as an opportunity to channel your inner Julia Childs. Have fun and explore!

Do you have any Meatless Monday tips? What are your favorite meatless breakfast/lunch/dinner recipes? Now that you have this survival guide tell me are you ready for Meatless Monday?

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