WIAW: Being Vegetarian

So I’ve been doing this partial vegetarian thing for a while now and it’s getting easier and easier to make vegetarian choices instead of meat. I think the one thing that I’m learning is that if you want to adapt a new diet of any kind it’s important to start slow. I tell this to patients all the time when I’m giving them education about a diet appropriate for diabetes or heart disease, but I seemed to completely overlook it myself while trying to be vegetarian.

I didn’t really eat much meat to start with but I found myself wanting to eat less of it. Initially, it was hard because I was trying to just completely cut it out altogether and obviously that didn’t work that well. One of the biggest challenges for me has been making substitutions for meat that are providing me with enough protein.

I’ve heard before that the average American consumes more than the recommended amount of protein so it shouldn’t be as much of a concern…but then I’ve also read lately that maybe our recommendations are providing enough protein. Honestly, I don’t really know which is true. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out in the future that our recommendations are incorrect in someway just because nutrition is ALWAYS changing.

One thing I’ve really tried to focus on is making sure I have a satisfying breakfast that will hold me over until mid morning when I like to have a snack.


Over the weekend I made some crock pot pumpkin oatmeal that I’ve been eating for breakfast this week. I used steel cut oats which are nice and chewy and threw some chia seeds in too which thickened the oats and add some healthy omega 3 fatty acids. I’ve been topping my oatmeal which cashew butter, coconut butter, and pumpkin butter. I’ve found that if I get some whole grains and nut butter in the morning that it keeps me full until my morning snack.


For snack I had my favorite yogurt. I like Greek yogurt because it has some extra protein in it. Lately I’ve been having some problems tolerating yogurt so I’m thinking I might trade my yogurt out for 2 hard boiled eggs, which has the same amount of protein. I also don’t always feel like a sweet snack so something savory would be nice.


For lunch I had a burrito the size of a baby from the cafeteria. I debated not getting a tortilla and I basically ended up digging the insides out of the last half anyways because I didn’t want the entire tortilla. Instead of meat I just got rice and beans and all the fixings, cheese, jalapenos, salsa, guacamole, olives…so good!

This baby held me over for quite a while! I was actually at work a lot later than I usually am so when I left at 4:30 I was hungry for a snack before the gym. I didn’t really think it through and only brought an apple and crackers for a snack. No protein at all. Luckily, I still wasn’t super hungry so I wasn’t starving at the gym. I forgot to take a picture because it was raining on my way home so it wasn’t safe anyways.


When I got home from the gym I wasn’t starving so I just threw together a skillet meal of sun dried tomatoes, a couple handfuls of spinach, half a can of white kidney beans, and some parm. It was good! I’ve been trying to get myself to eat larger volumes of vegetables at dinner to fill me up more but today just wasn’t a good day to do that. As long as I make sure there is a protein source in my dinner, like beans, I’m usually not starving later.

As soon as I publish this I’m going to have a little bit of pumpkin ice cream with some milk and chocolate chips, yum! Gotta have a little sweet treat to end the day πŸ™‚


3 thoughts on “WIAW: Being Vegetarian

  1. Firstly, I love reading these WIAW’s. Secondly, as a pseudo-vegetarian myself, I try to monitor my protein intake pretty actively on days I avoid lean meats completely. However, I just finished planning hospital menus based on the carbohydrate counting system for diabetics in one of my undergrad classes and met with a quandary. Do you have any experience in carb counting for vegetarians? Beans are a starch as well as a protein, nuts don’t count as protein at all, nor do most grains; as you know, these are where a significant amount of protein comes from for a vegetarian, and I feel like if you counted beans as their full starch and protein exchange, you wouldn’t be allowed to eat anything! What is your take on this?

    1. Hey! Thank you so much for the positive feedback πŸ™‚ Sometimes I feel like my posts are a mess…As far as your question about carb counting for vegetarians, that’s really tricky and I don’t really have any experience dealing with that. The hospital I work for has a subscription to the Nutrition Care Manual and they have a handout for carb counting for vegetarians but the proteins listed on there are so minimal and it seems to completely skip over how to get enough protein. I’m assuming you use carb choices not exchanges? 15 gm of carb = 1 carb choice? If that’s the case then someone could have a cup of beans and still have 1-2 choices for that meal (depending on how many they are allowed). So some kind of grain or fruit or milk, you know the drill. Ultimately, they will probably have to eat a TON of veggies to fill up. Another thought is really utilizing seafood and eggs in vegetarian entrees, assuming it’s vegetarians who eat fish and eggs. I hope this was somewhat helpful for you and if this is all stuff you’ve already thought of then just know your not alone in finding this topic difficult! If you come up with anything genius please let me know πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks, Rita! I’m glad to hear it is a bit of a challenging topic overall and it’s not just me struggling a tad bit with it! I looked it over again after reading your response and it made more sense. If you have, say, 7 oz of protein and 8 starch choices to make for the day, you could eat three meals of 2; 2; 3 servings of beans and still have one starch left as well as one starchy veggie if you include it. I guess I’m just wondering why nuts and some grains don’t count as any sort of protein (similar to how even the “free” vegetables have a UL when it comes to counting their consumption)! I think that must be frustrating when planning a vegetarian menu long-term.

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