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Making the Vegan or Vegetarian Transition

Going vegetarian is easy. Grocery stores are always stocked with colorful vegetables and plenty of other vegan foods. Almost all grocery stores now carry delicious faux meat products, too—from veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs to vegetarian chicken nuggets, ribs, steak strips, and more. With all these great products available, it’s easier than ever to whip up delicious meat-free meals at home. Going out to eat couldn’t be easier too! With more and more people becoming vegetarian these days, most restaurants now offer great-tasting, healthy vegetarian selections.

We’ve listed our top six tips for making your transition to a vegetarian diet easy and delicious. We have also provided some “everyday eating” ideas for each meal (and snack!) of the day. If you want more help making the transition, take our “Pledge To Be Vegan for 30 Days.”

Bon appétit!

Top Six Tips

1. Make vegetarian versions of your favorite meals.
2. Explore thousands of delicious vegetarian recipes.
3. Try some tasty faux meats and dairy alternatives.
4. Sample vegetarian microwaveable meals and convenience foods.
5. Search online for the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in your area.
6. Explore the amazing variety of meat-free ethnic foods.

Ideas for Everyday Eating

We have thousands of delicious recipes searchable by meal category and type of cuisine. Here are some of our favorites! (Click on the links below to read more.)

•    Breakfast and Brunch
•    Lunch
•    Dinner
•    Side Dishes
•    Desserts
•    Appetizers
•    Sandwiches
•    Pizza Toppings
•    Quick-and-Easy Snacks
•    Barbecues and Picnics
•    Accidentally Vegan

More Ideas for Vegetarian Living
(Click on each tip below to read more.)

•    Dining With Friends and Family
•    Eating While On the Road
•    Raising Vegetarian Kids and Teenagers
•    Where to Find Vegan Groceries
•    Eating On a Budget
•    Going Vegetarian: All at Once or Gradually?
•    A Note About Tiny Amounts of Animal Products in Foods
•    How to Go Vegan

Related Posts

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  • Gabby says:

    I have been a vegan for 6 months and I love it. I feel like I have more energy and I even lost a few pounds. I love being and vegan and I love that I’m helping defenseless animals :)

  • Larua says:

    “@ James in France with Celiac”
    There is a lady named Colleen Patric-Goudreau who is the founder of Compassionate Cooks and an author of “The Joy of Vegan Baking” and “The Vegan Table” and “Color me Vegan” which are all great books, in her recipies she says which ones are gluten-free, soy free- oil free, etc. she has some great ideas and also has a podcast that is called “Vegetarian Food for Thought” that you can get through itunes. She travels to other countries alot and gives great advice/recources for things in those areas. I have also heard her talk a bit about people who are vegan and have Celiac in her podcasts. I bet you could send her an email and she’d be happy to help you out with some resources. She may even have some personal recommendation of places in your area. Hope this helps.

  • Sharshar says:

    I have been a vegetarian for almost a month. I really enjoy the food. I love feeling healthy and great! I have more energy! I wanted to becomea vegetarian for a long time but finally did it! It was one if the best thungs I could have done for myself.

  • James says:

    Hi everyone,

    I live in France and have been thinking for some time to “make the switch”, the only problems are the French are not at all Vegetarian minded and don’t have any kind of vegetarian pre-packaged food such as soy bacon, vegetarian nuggets etc and to top it off, I’m also a celiac so can’t eat wheat/gluten of any kind.

    Does anyone know of a website or book(s) that can provide recipes that fit my country and no wheat/gluten diet?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    James.

  • Darkest Angel says:

    Thanks to my wonderful daughter who has opened my eyes :)

  • NurseErica says:

    I have been eating meat-free for a few months now and did it actually for digestive health reasons. I have never felt better. My life-saver has been Amy’s brand frozen foods because I work a stressful 12 hour night shift job and often dont have time to prepare my food. Amy’s brand has everything from mexican dishes, home style (veggie loaf is AMAZING) to light and lean and even indian. They have fabulous frozen burritos great for a late night snack. I have never loved the taste of food more than I do now. Also, Morning Star makes a Spicy Black Bean Burger that is delicious and “meat” crumblers that were so yummy my guy friends didn’t know the difference when I cooked Sunday night spheggetti!

  • vanille says:

    once you take this seriously and see how wrong and cruel animals are treated for food you really open your eyes and see how wrong it is, what an animal has to do to make it to your planet its not ok and the worst part is that we do this humans do this im not saying we should all stop eating animals(yes i am saying that) but the way we do it is so wrong and sad it gets me angry and sick. but it makes me so proud to be a vegetarian and to know that at least one cow one pig one chicken doesn’t have to die because of me it makes me feel like im doing something to make this sick place a better one. i now have three years being a vegetarian take the step and safe animals. but for those people who still eat meat and don’t know what an animal has to do to get to their planets tell them because all my life up until three years ago i didn’t know i didn’t think animals were treated so bad so i could eat them. thank you for reading

  • vanille says:

    once you take this seriously and see how wrong and cruel animals are treated for food you really open your eyes and see how wrong it is, what an animal has to do to make it to your planet its not ok and the worst part is that we do this humans do this im not saying we should all stop eating animals(yes i am saying that) but the way we do it is so wrong and sad it gets me angry and sick. but it makes me so proud to be a vegetarian and to know that at least one cow one pig one chicken doesn’t have to die because of me it makes me feel like im doing something to make this sick place a better one. i now have three years being a vegetarian take the step and safe animals. but for those people who still eat meat and don’t know what an animal has to do to get to their planets tell them because all my life up until three years ago i didn’t know i didn’t think animals were treated so bad so i could eat them. thank you for reading

  • Aly says:

    I have been a vegetarian for about 7 months now. I love it… I’m such an animal activist and knowing what people do to those poor, innocent animals for there own satisfaction. I sickens me that no matter how much people fight and argue about this, it is still going on regardless. It’s horrible! I totally regret eating eat for 20 something years. I am so glad I became a vegetarian I wish everyone would consider trying it to (not only for Lent) but permanently.

  • WeLoveGreen says:

    I’m 11 years old, and I’m vegetarian since I was 10. I have an idea,and I think it’s a very good one: Since I turned veggie, I made parties with my friends, but although I’m the only vegetarian, I make them try delicious and healthy vegetarian dishes, and I’m getting them to know more about this great green way of living, they are now trying to turn vegetarians, so let your friends know, because with more vegetarians we will have a greener world

  • Sofia Delgado says:

    Gracias por este sitio! Es Increible! Es una excelente forma de empezar a hacer algo por ellos y por nosotros! Necesito toda la info para ser vegetariana.

    Gracias!

  • jenn says:

    I just watched the video ‘meet your meat’ and I’m disgusted of myself for have being a meat eater all my life. for the environment, for my health and for the animals, i pledge to never eat meat again. I’m going to take baby steps though, from a vegetarian to hopefully a vegan.

  • CJGil says:

    I’m very seriously considering going vegetarian. I watched some videos recently about fishing and dolphin/whale hunting in Japan and it really sickened me. After a lot of thought though I was more sickened by my own hypocrisy. After all, fish and dolphin meat are to Japan what pork, beef and chicken are to us.
    The problem I have though is that I’m already underweight, I eat a lot but never gain weight. Would cutting out meat be bad for my health?

  • Ede says:

    I used to eat meat and I can’t believe I did. I’m sickened and saddened by what happens to animals and the horrible people that make it happen. I can’t wait to have kids to get them started on vegetarian/vegan diet

  • Caitlin says:

    I used to be a meat eater and loved chicken and beef, but not after I’ve watched those horrific videos of how they treat those poor animals in the slaughterhouses. I am ashamed of myself that I am buying meat from corporate companies that don’t care about anything but time and money. That is no longer happening. I am a few days into being a vegetarian and originally, I wanted to give it up for Lent, but now I am for sure going to stick with it and keep it as my only diet. No more meat for me. :)

  • Dsmith says:

    Brittany, first of all I wish you the best of luck. I was thinking of a few things that I wished to tell you, but I realized that someone has already said it, and much better than I could. Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4

    Also, I have a 4 year old that was raised vegan from birth. Be prepared for people to say that you should be giving your child milk and meat but from my, and many others, experience that is simply not true. My son has been consistently in the 90% or greater range in height, started walking at nine months and is incredibly intelligent and healthy.

  • brittany says:

    also giving my i year old son too much soy isnt good i hear how much is too much soy and why isnt it good for you?

  • brittany says:

    hi im starting today on being a vegetarian. i have been wanting to do it for me and my 1 year old son but im very hesitent for him. i would like to raise him vegan but we were raised to give our children whole milk for nutriation and they need meat for protein to grow so im just a little confused. is there any alterld to whole milk and how can i make sure he is getting the proper nutritation he needs to grow because he is a toddler… please help?

  • Sherry says:

    I am brand new to the vegetarin lifestyle..just started today actually, though I have been thinking about it for a while now. Will someone tell me the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan? Thanks

  • Christy says:

    @ymcapearl — vegetarian means eating no meat — that means beef, fish, pork, chicken — but they DO eat eggs and dairy.

  • bsawyer says:

    I love to cook and, looking for new recipes, I decided to try 2 weeks of vegan. I loved it and completely made the transition with no problems. I haven’t craved meat since and I feel great! I guess it was easier for me than most, but I highly recommend you look at it as a fun cooking experiment and go from there. It’s neat trying to figure out different substitutions for your favorite recipes. A word to the wise though, be careful of how much soy you consume as it can affect your estrogen levels.

  • Ashley says:

    I have been a meat lover my entire life (14 years old guys) but today when I was on Facebook, one of my friends posted something about meat.org and of course curiousity go the best of me, I can never ‘un-see’ that video and I am now going to try the vegitarian diet. It is going to be hard because I am allergic to ALL nuts, whole wheat, and many other healthy foods. But right now I am feeling unhealthy and I am going to change that starting now. My parents are meat lovers and believe that god gave us animals to eat, I kinda believe that but this has gone way too far >:( .

  • llesenia says:

    just made my pledge to try it for thirty days wish me luck.

  • ymcapearl says:

    For the past several months I have been toying with the idea of going vegetarian. I am going to start today but….no eggs??? no fish??? no dairy?? Ok I will take baby steps and start!!

  • Annika says:

    Wonderful article. I started this vegetarian/vegan journey when I was 15 or 16 (I am 25 now). Ten years ago, being a veg was incredibly difficult to stick with since we only had one tiny health food store and not many supermarkets carried vegetarian friendly products and restaurants did not go beyond veggie burgers. These days, veg-friendly foods are EVERYWHERE. I am so happy.

  • JoyAntoine says:

    thank u for the tips i just strated the transition

  • Tammy says:

    This is all new to me. I want to be a vegetarian and I’ve been doing a lot of research. I plan to detox first then make the transition fresh. I to want to stop eating (dead things). I see so many people getting cancer and other illnesses more today than ever. I believe it’s the food. No doubt. This has helped me to make this decision.

  • Katrina says:

    I saw Alicia Silverstone on tv and read her book “The Kind Diet” and it was a great book, just WRONG time! I had JUST had my fourth baby and just could NOT get it all out of my head! After months of trying to convince myself to NOT be vegetarian, it didn’t work! I’m a full vegetarian and on my way to being a vegan! The stores and companies are so wonderful for making and carrying such yummy “meat alternatives”, otherwise my nursing baby and I would be starving! ;0)
    But yes, my husband wants to gain weight and is curious as to what he could eat/drink that would be vegetarian as well?!?

  • Megan says:

    I have been Vegetarian since January 2009, everyone thought it was a phase but I’m still going strong to help show the meat industry we will NOT support animal cruelty. I now have went from a size 13 to a 4 and I feel healthy and happy and I am sooo proud to be a vegetarian.

  • Ashley-P says:

    Gabriella – check out: http://www.petaenespanol.com/

  • Gabriela says:

    is there PETA in Spanish? it would be great if there was one…

  • alicedilworth says:

    Being a vegetarian can be difficult at times. My parents are against it so it makes it hard. They believe that “god” put animals here for us to eat and I don’t believe that. Eating vegetarian is the easy part it ‘s just hard when your family doesn’t support it.

  • Kiki says:

    I am JUST starting to explore all of this, and I am intimidated by the kinds of foods I will need to replace or stock my cabinets with. I loathe trying to find a recipe, then having to make special trips to get all of the ingredients. Is there a general “grocery list” – just a “You’ll want to stock your pantry with these items because you will likely use them often”?

  • Sheena says:

    I would love to see a section on how to diet as a vegetarian. I am thinking extreamly hard about becoming vegetarian but I’m very nervous about the transition. I want a healthier lifestyle and the poor animals need to be saved.

  • Marissa Jamieson says:

    Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve hated milk!! Now that I’m pregnant with my first child, I’ve tried soy milk and I actually like it!!!!

  • Colleen says:

    Hope Chris and Christian check back to see this! You guys have to check out http://badassvegan.com This guy has the best ideas for people looking to be vegan and be in impressive shape at the same time.

  • Jayla says:

    I never really knew what the real meaning of vegetarianism and veganism was until I began educating myself, I am now a transitioning vegan and I LOVE IT! Meat is horrible, disgusting, and so cruel… GO PETA! :)

  • Jayla says:

    I never really knew what the real meaning of vegetarianism and veganism was until I began educating myself, I am now a transitioning vegan and I LOVE IT! Meat is horrible, disgusting, and so cruel… GO PETA! :)

  • Manish Kumar says:

    I saw few videos and made myself aware of what goes behind tasty looking meat dish, it is no longer tasty for me :(

    I am vegan from this moment onwards.

  • Gala says:

    I’ve been vegitarian for a couple months now and am never looking back. There are always alternatives to eating meat, and it is definately a healthier lifestyle. What helped push me along was visiting the PETA site and learning everything I possibly can.

  • Tim says:

    I have been a vegetarian now for 5 months, I thought it would be impossibe to do but it really hasnt been that hard, I even grew quite a few of my vegetables the last few months and I sometimes eat some of the morningstar faux meats and if you take them and cook them in the George Foreman qrill (I season mine with some Tony Shasheries seasoning they taste as good or better than real meat to me, especially the sausage. I love the fact that I no longer am killing animals to feed myself! I would also add growing your own vegetables is both fun/excercise and I find the fresh vegetables right out of my own garden just that much better!

  • Gautam says:

    I am an Indian and majority of Indians used to be vegetarian and so was I. After immigrating to the US I started eating meat/chicken and got health problems that are never heard of in India. And soon I realized my mistake and also realized although eating neat was my compromise to live in western world where it is so difficult to get vegan meals at fast food places but if I am so unhappy with my health issues I should be more guilty of deprving so many innocent living beings of their rights to live. If I were to die of a serious disease, I know what pain it will cause to my family and loved ones, and I never thought that even though I never killed any animal, in fact I always felt guilty if I even steped on an insect by an accident, but eating meat at restaurant I supported killing those animals. Anyway, I am back to be completely vegan and most of my untreatable health problems are disappearing as well.

  • Vendria says:

    Just recently switched to being a full veggie. After two months of transition which last time I had meat (chicken) it made me feel horrible. I have never liked pork or beef. Going Vegan will be harder for me because of having to look at all the ingredents on packages. I don’t like milk or eggs so that was never a problem. It’s pastas with milk or cake mix with eggs that are hard to cut out.

    It is also hard at family get togethers when I get made fun of. I hate to say it but my family has an ignorant point of view.

  • Leslie Janice says:

    this is my 7th month as a vegetarian and I love it! I feel great, my health, my body, I feel like I have more energy now! plus, I don’t need to kill animals to eat! A W E S O M E! I’m planning to keep it that way! thank you so much PETA, you showed me the reasons to make this wonderful decision! vegetarians rock!

  • ronda says:

    I will change the way i eat, starting today. No more meat for me!!!! I can’t believe these animals are being treated like this!!!!!! I’m sooo sad :(

  • Kristine says:

    I am a vegetarian since January 2010. My choice was made with the realization that I don’t need to kill an animal to live. My first transition week was a challenge. So many wonderful products on the market today made it easier. I was able to make my loved recipes by susbtituting soy. With the internet and library I was able to obtain recipes which opened up a new world for me. My original intent was not for my own personal health reasons. Today I am a middle aged woman who feels fantastic!

  • DragonGal259 says:

    I am just starting to be a vegetarian, my aunt is vegan and gives me tips on how to be a vegitarian. but these tips helped alot too. I love being a vegatirain because I know I am helping animals

  • Emma says:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 3 months! I love it so much! It is way easier than I could have imagined! Meat is disgusting and I feel so much lighter and healthier without it! This is a change I would encourage every one to make!

  • Christian says:

    I agree with Chris, I would love to be able to see a section in which Chris stated. Hopefully someone sees this. xD

  • Chris Froehlich says:

    Good morning,

    Would it be possible to have a section for people wanting to build muscle, lose weight, or generally are wanting to start/maintain an active lifestyle but still remain vegetarian? (i.e. which protein shakes or powders are best).

    Thank you,

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