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Author Chelsea Legay
Chelsea Legay
Created on Jun 1st, 2023
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How to Start a Vegetarian Diet for Beginners: 7 Easy Steps to Success

Disclaimer: None of the recommendations on this list are medical recommendations. Please speak to your healthcare professional before changing your diet or making any choices based on the following information.

Starting and maintaining any diet isn’t easy, especially when starting on your own. Reasons for starting a vegetarian diet vary from humane or environmental to treating or preventing health issues. I’ve transitioned between diets several times and combined my experience with research to create a simple and easy step-by-step guide to starting the vegetarian diet for beginners.

I highly recommend starting any diet gradually so that your transition feels natural physically and psychologically and so that you can more easily manage any side effects that arise. To make your transition into the vegetarian diet easier, I include recommendations for some meal delivery services that offer high-quality vegetarian meals right to your door. 

HelloFresh is my top recommendation since it has a dedicated Veggie & Vegan plan. You can also mix and match this plan with others in the beginning stages of starting a vegetarian diet.

Read on for your step-by-step guide on how to start a vegetarian diet and for meal delivery service recommendations that will make transitioning into a vegetarian lifestyle even easier.

Quick Guide: How to Start a Vegetarian Diet in 7 Easy Steps 

  1. Choose which type of vegetarian diet you want to follow. There are several forms of the vegetarian diet, each of which centers around whether meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy are allowed.

  2. Reduce consumption of processed foods to help your body transition efficiently. Reducing processed foods will help you body transition more easily to a primarily plant-based diet.

  3. Gradually decrease your intake of animal proteins by replacing them with plant-based substitutes. You can remake your favorite meals without meat or with plant-based meat substitutes like Beyond or Impossible meats.

  4. Gradually increase whole food consumption. To ensure you’re getting enough nutrients into your body, you can eat more whole foods like green salads and grain bowls, or venture into making your own veggie burgers.

  5. Monitor nutrient intake for potential deficiencies. Vegetarians are prone to iron, B12, protein, and calcium deficiencies since those nutrients are more concentrated in animal proteins.

  6. Find hassle-free options to make meal planning easier. You can find plenty of meal delivery services with extensive vegetarian recipes as meal kits or fully prepared meals.

  7. Let your inner circle know you’re making a change. Having support during any life transition makes sticking to your new lifestyles much easier.

Introduction to the Vegetarian Diet

What is the vegetarian diet?

The vegetarian diet involves eating mostly plant-based foods while eliminating meat, poultry, and fish. People adopt a vegetarian diet for a range of reasons, including religious reasons, the environmental impact of meat production, ethical concerns for animal treatment, or as part of a transition to a vegan diet. Environmental impact concerns include the carbon emissions from meat production farms and the large number of natural resources those farms use, such as water and fossil fuels.

What are the health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet?

Commonly cited benefits of eating a plant-forward vegetarian diet include:

  • Weight loss – Those who follow the vegetarian diet tend to have a lower BMI than those who eat diets rich in animal meats and produce. While this might be directly correlated to eating a vegetarian diet, it may just be correlated with people eating more consciously to maintain health. This claim may also correlate with eating plant-based foods, which are fiber-rich, like beans. Eating fiber keeps you fuller and helps your body more efficiently digest your food.

  • Increased immunity – Eating more fruits and vegetables gives you more vitamins and minerals like C and D, which improve illness prevention and the effectiveness of your immune response when you’re ill.

  • Reduced risk of certain cancers – There’s not enough data to support any reduced cancer risk claims.

  • Stabilized blood sugar long-term – Studies are inconclusive and only cite less erratic blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

  • Increased heart health – There’s not enough data to support increased heart health claims. This may just be due to more conscious eating and less consumption of processed foods.

  • Reduced environmental impact Plant gathering and cleaning require less production and natural resources than meat, poultry, and dairy production.

  • Economical – Animal products tend to be more expensive than eating plants. However, this can often even out depending on the city or country you live in. Buying organic, local, farm-to-table produce can end up being quite expensive.

While these are commonly listed benefits of eating plant-forward, nutrient-dense foods, most are correlated with vegetarian diets and aren’t always directly resulting from a purely vegetarian diet. Medical studies citing correlations also state that cause-effect relationships between eating a vegetarian diet and achieving these benefits are inconclusive.

If you have a specific health concern, do your research and speak to your healthcare professional and a registered dietitian.

While cause-effect relationships between the above benefits and eating a vegetarian diet are inconclusive, eating more plants is still a great way to improve some biomarkers due to the number of vitamins and minerals in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

What are the potential risks of eating a vegetarian diet?

A well-rounded vegetarian diet can be nutritious if most of your diet is plant-based and includes enough protein. However, by eliminating meats, poultry, and fish, the vegetarian diet eliminates powerful sources of protein, iron, B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

These nutrients are responsible for building and repairing muscle, circulating oxygen throughout your body, building and maintaining nerve health, and much more. A deficiency in any of these nutrients may lead to fatigue, dizziness, general malaise, or more serious symptoms like bone loss and thyroid issues.

Since these nutrients are mostly found in animal meats, going cold turkey in removing these foods from your diet may be too shocking for your body. You’ll have to monitor your nutrient intake when fully transitioning into a vegetarian diet.

Without further ado, I’ll show you how to start the vegetarian diet in seven easy steps. Regardless of which form of vegetarianism you choose to follow, transitioning into the vegetarian diet follows a similar series of steps.

Step by Step Guide: How to Start a Vegetarian Diet for Beginners 

  1. Choose which type of vegetarian diet you want to follow

Each type of vegetarian diet keeps and avoids a different combination of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy. Knowing which foods you’ll be keeping and avoiding in your diet will help you manage your transition better.

You can follow several forms of the vegetarian diet depending on why you’re making the transition and what version you think is healthiest for you. The difference between each version centers around whether meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy are allowed.

Types of vegetarian diets include:

  • Lacto-ovo

  • Lacto-vegetarian

  • Ovo-vegetarian

  • Pescatarian

  • Vegan

  • Flexitarian

Table of vegetarian diet types and foods each one eliminates

There are six main variations of vegetarianism that eliminate meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy in different ways.

The pescatarian and flexitarian are the most flexible vegetarian diets. The flexitarian diet is a semi-vegetarian diet with protein mostly coming from plant sources while intermittently allowing animal meats and fish.

To start off, you might want to try a flexitarian format in which you can still eat non-vegetarian foods in moderation as you figure out which vegetarian diet type works best for you.

If you’re transitioning into the vegetarian diet on your way to being vegan, you’ll eventually follow the most strict of the vegetarian diets that exclude all animal products. You’ll also have a longer, more gradual transition process.

If you’re unsure which type you want to follow – you can figure it out on the way! Whichever route you choose, I suggest transitioning gradually to make sure the diet works for your body and your lifestyle.

Factor’s meal delivery service might be a great way to start. You can mix and match across all plans to give you a variety of meal types that aren’t just veggie. You can mix and match the Vegan & Veggie plan with the Chef’s Choice, Keto, Calorie Smart, or Protein Plus plans.

screenshot of Factor's Tomato-Goat Cheese Cavatappi Primavera with Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Factor offers several meal plans you can mix and match with the Veggie plan, which has dishes like this Tomato-Goat Cheese Cavatappi Primavera.

This Tomato-Goat Cheese Cavatappi Primavera with Roasted Garlic Green Beans is one of the options you’ll find on the Veggie and Calorie Smart menus.

  1. Reduce consumption of processed foods to help your body transition efficiently

To start the transition into plant-forward eating, I recommend first reducing all the processed stuff. Eating a vegetarian diet means mostly eating plant-based foods, regardless of which type you choose to follow.

If you’re switching to a vegetarian diet to address certain health issues or lose weight, you might find this first step gives you the results you need! But again – eliminate foods slowly and try to replace them with satisfying alternatives.

What is processed food?

Processed foods are those that have been manipulated away from their original state. They’re usually prepared by canning, drying, baking, freezing, or roasting with preservatives that chemically sustain form and flavor.

Because processed foods are far from their original state and often have added chemicals, our bodies don’t digest them efficiently. This usually leads to your body storing these chemicals in unhealthy ways that lead to inflammation, water retention, decreased metabolism, and weight gain.

How to decide if food is too processed for the vegetarian diet

A standard for determining whether a food is too processed is whether you can name the animal or plant ingredients in the product. If you can't identify the animal or plant ingredient in the product, the food is too processed.

One great habit to start when transitioning to a vegetarian diet is reading nutrition labels. Since I started my own health journey years ago, I've become a nutrition label-reading nerd. If you don't know the ingredients in the product – don't eat them.

I was surprised to find how many additives there are in the standard foods I ate, like breads, yogurts, and cereals, and even in some veggie burger brands!

Eliminating processed foods will allow your body to work more naturally, absorb nutrients more easily, and maintain your weight in a healthier way. Start thinking about getting your calories from whole foods with natural plant ingredients you can easily identify.

This means replacing processed foods you might typically eat with more whole foods. Instead of reaching for cereal or a muffin – have a bowl of oatmeal with some walnuts, pecans, and almonds. You can even sprinkle with flaxseed meal, chia, or hemp seeds for added fiber and cook the oats with nut milk (without added sugar) instead of water to enhance flavor.

Processed foods to avoid on a vegetarian diet:



Wheat products

Breads, pastas, breakfast cereals, pastries (especially packaged ones)

Sugary drinks

Sodas, many juices, vitamin water, energy drinks, sports drinks

Sugary snacks

Candy, cookies, ice cream, granola bars, premade smoothies, dried fruits

Premade salty snacks

Chips, pretzels; flavored, coated or roasted nuts

Most dairy

Yogurts, cheeses, butters; check the labels for preservatives and avoid pasteurization


Mostly wine and beer since they usually have added sugar and preservatives

Premade sauces and dressings

Check nutrition labels

Cooking oils

Hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, margarine


Sodium nitrates, sodium nitrites, BHA, potassium bromate, hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup


Maltitol, aspartame, saccharin, sorbitol, sucralose, Splenda, xylitol

Green Chef is an excellent meal kit delivery service that’s USDA-certified and CCOF-certified organic. Organic means there are zero preservatives and artificial flavors used to enhance produce shelf life. Food might spoil sooner, but you’ll find the high-quality foods you need to start your transition off in a healthy, easy way.

Green Chef’s recipes are all well-balanced between veggies, complex carbs, and proteins, which you’ll find in each of its Vegetarian, Vegan, and Mediterranean plans. The below Green Pea Fritters with Za’atar and Tahini is available in Green Chef’s Vegan, Vegetarian, and Mediterranean plans.

screenshot of Green Chef's Vegan and Mediterranean Green Pea Fritters with Za'atar and Tahini

You can try a Vegetarian meal plan from the 100% organic meal kit delivery service Green Chef that offers recipes like this Green Pea Fritters with Za'atar and Tahini recipe.

  1. Gradually decrease your intake of animal proteins by replacing them with plant-based substitutes

After eliminating most processed foods from your diet, you can start decreasing your meat, poultry, fish, egg, and dairy consumption, depending on which type of vegetarianism you choose.

Reducing meat and animal products you eat daily can be a big physical and psychological change. If you eat some form of chicken or egg every day, slowly replace those foods for just a few days per week and monitor your physical and emotional response to the change.

Red meat and fish are particularly hard to replace if you love their flavors and textures. When there’s a food that you love and eat regularly that you need to eliminate in order to follow the vegetarian diet – do so gradually!

Instead of immediately removing all animal product ingredients that you eat daily, you can replace them with others that you find satisfying, that give you the protein you need, and that don’t leave you feeling deprived.

You might want to start with vegetarian-friendly meat alternatives to ease your transition into more whole food, vegetarian-friendly protein sources.

Transitional vegetarian meat alternatives:

  • Organic tempeh is a great transitional soy-based meat substitute since it contains protein and fiber.

  • Organic tofu is another soy-based meat substitute similar to tempeh but with a softer texture, plus it absorbs most flavors added to it. However, it’s usually highly processed and has more preservatives added. If you just can’t live without the texture of meaty foods, using organic tofu is a good transitional option.

  • Branded meat alternatives like Beyond and Impossible are most comparable in nutrient density and flavor to regular meats. Both companies typically add nutrients like B12 and folate. While I would classify Impossible meats as very processed foods, they’re good transitional options when first reducing meat intake and transitioning to eating more whole foods. If you can find a 100% veggie burger with zero additives – have at it!

The Home Chef meal kit delivery service offers the option to swap proteins in some of its recipes for Impossible Burger options.

Screenshot of Home Chef's protein swap for Impossible Burger protein.

For some Home Chef recipes, you can swap animal meat and fish ingredients for Impossible Burgers to make your dish vegetarian-friendly.

Fresh N Lean offers fully prepared microwave-ready meals and has Standard Vegan and Low Carb Vegan plans that incorporate Beyond brand meat alternatives. The vegan diet is a sub-diet of vegetarianism, so the Standard Vegan and Low Carb Vegan meals will work just fine for you.

The below dish is Fresh N Lean’s Lentil Power-Bowl with Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Plant-Based Beyond Meatballs. While there is some plant-based meat substitute, most of the dish is veggie-packed and includes lentils as a natural source of protein.

Screenshot of Fresh N Lean's vegetarian-friendly Lentil Power-Bowl with Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Plant-Based Beyond Meatballs.

The Lentil Power-Bowl with Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Plant-Based Meatballs is one of the many vegan meals from Fresh N Lean

Fresh N Lean’s Mediterranean plan is also great for pescatarians and flexitarians! Plus, Fresh N Lean publishes a blog with tips for nutrition, meal planning, and prep for various diets including vegetarian and vegan.

For a 100% non-GMO veggie-made meat alternative, you can also check out Purple Carrot’s Plantry add-on item Black Bean Burgers. Purple Carrot offers 100% plant-based meals, including extras where you’ll find these Black Bean Burgers. Check out the ingredients – they’re only veggies and natural seasonings.

screenshot of Purple Carrot's black bean burger add-on

Purple Carrot offers 100% plant-based meals and add-ons like this Black Bean Burger that you can whip up into one of your burger recipe favorites.

  1. Gradually increase whole food consumption

Once you’ve successfully reduced or eliminated animal proteins according to the type of vegetarian diet you chose, I recommend shifting away from meat substitutes and continuing to replace animal proteins with more whole foods.

Tempeh, tofu, Impossible, and Beyond alternatives are all plant-based and vegetarian-friendly substitutes but tend to be high in sodium and aren’t as whole as other natural protein alternatives.

Instead of sticking to these processed options, you can venture into making your veggie burgers or meat alternatives with ingredients like beans, quinoa, mushrooms, and more.

To make meal planning and grocery shopping easier, you can check out a few online cookbooks like Home Chef’s online cookbook with 250+ recipes for vegetarian culinary inspiration! You can choose from recipes like the below White Bean and Butternut Squash Stew packed with whole foods like tomatoes, kale, white beans, and squash.

Screenshot of White Bean and Butternut Squash Stew from Home Chef

Vegetarians can enjoy meals like White Bean and Butternut Squash Stew with Pepitas and Toasted Ciabatta from the Home Chef cookbook

After you make your first order, Home Chef even offers a Shopping List feature in your account that creates a grocery list of ingredients from recipes you’d like to try. You’ll find great recipes in the cookbook like the above pictured White Bean and Butternut Squash Stew with Pepitas and Toasted Ciabatta.

Foods to eat on a vegetarian diet



Avocados, olives, berries, apples, bananas, oranges, plums, etc.


Leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula, bok choy, romaine lettuce), bell peppers, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, squashes, potato, sweet potato, tomatoes, carrots, etc.


Beans and Legumes

Black, chickpea, kidney, lentils, snow peas, string beans

Nuts – Butters and Milks (Preferably raw)

Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, nut milks

Seeds and Seed Butters (Preferably raw)

Flaxseed, flaxseed meal, chia, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame

Tofu and Tempeh

Preferably organic and with minimal additives

Dairy (optional)

Cheeses, butters, Greek yogurt

Try to find grass-fed, non-GMO, organic, unpasteurized, whole-fat

Eggs (optional)

Try to find cage-free, organic, fed without fillers, antibiotics, or hormones

Fish and Shellfish (optional)

Salmon, cod, tilapia, tuna, sardines, shrimp, scallops, etc.

Try to find wild-caught.

Grains and Pantry Staples


Brown rice, quinoa


Almond, coconut, organic whole grain

Tofu and Tempeh

Preferably organic and with minimal additives

Dairy (optional)

Cheeses, butters, Greek yogurt

Try to find grass-fed, non-GMO, organic, unpasteurized, whole-fat

Eggs (optional)

Try to find cage-free, organic, fed without fillers, antibiotics, or hormones

Fish and Shellfish (optional)

Salmon, cod, tilapia, tuna, sardines, shrimp, scallops, etc.

Try to find wild-caught.

You can find plenty of well-balanced vegetarian meals with such ingredients on Green Chef’s menu, like the Peruvian-Style Honey Roasted Carrots with Quinoa, Bell Peppers, Kale, Corn, Pepitas, Onions, and Cotija.

screenshot of Green Chef's Peruvian-Style Honey Roasted Carrots

Green Chef makes all its vegetarian recipes with 100% non-GMO ingredients that you'll find in the lists above.

Foods to avoid

Each type of vegetarianism avoids different animal products in different combinations. A vegan diet is the most restrictive of vegetarian diets as it excludes all animal products including all dairy. Some vegans additionally exclude honey since it's a product of bees. The least restrictive is the pescatarian diet, which is a normal diet minus meat and poultry.

It’s very easy to eat a lot of vegetarian-friendly foods that aren’t quite healthy. A diet of pasta, meat alternatives, and canned sauces for every meal might be 100% vegetarian and very tasty, but might also lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health issues.

Sticking to the whole foods listed above is your best bet for successfully transitioning into a vegetarian lifestyle in a healthy way.

  1. Monitor nutrient intake for potential deficiencies

Speaking to a healthcare professional and working with a registered dietitian is the best way to ensure you’re starting and maintaining your vegetarian diet in a healthy way. Several meal delivery services that offer vegetarian meal plans also offer free dietitian consultations when you order from their service.

After you order BistroMD’s Vegetarian plan or Freshology Vegetarian plan, you can consult with a registered dietitian for free to help manage your meal plan. Factor and Trifecta also offer vegetarian plans and free consultations with their registered dietitians even before you subscribe.

When you eat a vegetarian diet, you’re excluding a variety of animal products that are also great sources of protein, iron, B12, and calcium. You’ll have to ensure you’re getting a sufficient amount of each nutrient in order to remain healthy.

  • Protein – Excluding meat and poultry means excluding a common source of protein, which is responsible for many functions, including building and repairing muscle. You’ll want to ensure you’re getting 50 g – 60 g of protein per day from sources listed above, like beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Depending on your type of vegetarianism, you can include eggs, dairy, and fish.

  • Iron – Iron enables blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body and helps convert blood sugar to energy. Without enough iron, you may start to feel symptoms of fatigue. The best way to ensure you’re eating and absorbing iron is to combine leafy greens with vitamin C. On average, men 18 and older need 8.7 mg per day, while women 50 and under need 14.8 mg. Plant-based sources of iron include

    • Lentils, chickpeas, beans

    • Cashew, chia, ground linseed

    • Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens

    • Dried apricots and figs

  • Vitamin B12 – B12 is crucial for red blood cell production and nerve development and deficiency of this vitamin can lead to fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and unwanted weight loss. On average, you need about 2.4 micrograms per day. It’s commonly found in red meat, salmon, sardines, and tuna. Plant-based sources of B12 include

    • Nutritional yeast

    • Mushrooms

    • Some algae products

    • Nutritional vitamin supplements

  • Calcium – Calcium is crucial for maintaining bone health, transmitting nerve signals, helping blood vessel function, and more. Women age 50 and younger and men age 70 and younger need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Plant-based sources of calcium include

    • Figs

    • Kale

    • Soybeans

    • Bok Choy

  1. Find hassle-free options to make meal planning easier

Starting a new diet that’s mostly plant-based may require you to brush up on your cooking skills. One way to make meal planning and cooking super easy is by starting with the easiest, most familiar recipes that you already know how to cook and shop for, and replacing the meat with all the above-mentioned options.

You can jazz up familiar recipes with sauces, dressings, and dips. Guacamole and hummus are great, easy additions you can buy fresh or make at home and add to any veggie meal as a tasty, healthy side or dip.

To make transitioning into a vegetarian diet even easier, I recommend trying a meal delivery service so that you won’t have to meal plan or grocery shop. You can fill your fridge with meals for the whole week so that you don’t have to think about what you’re eating each time you open the fridge or pantry.

You can choose from several meal delivery services that offer kits and microwave-ready meals for some or all of your weekly meals. My colleague researched and wrote a full review of the 10 Best Vegetarian Meal Delivery Services of 2023. I’ve included a few highlights throughout this article and will include one more below.

Purple Carrot is #7 on the above list, but it's actually one of my favorite plant-based meal delivery services. It offers 12 kits and 10 fully-prepared microwave-ready vegetarian-friendly meals each week. International cuisines inspire all recipes and the entire menu rotates weekly so that you have plenty of new recipes and flavors to try.

Screenshot of a Purple Carrot meal kit and prepared meal

Purple Carrot offers plant-based vegetarian-friendly meal kits and prepared meals like this Black Bean Burger kit and Gochujang Fried Rice prepared meal.

All you need to do for meal kits is choose the recipes for which you want to receive ingredients. You’ll receive pre-portioned ingredients and a detailed recipe booklet with pictures of how your meals should look at each step. You can choose to receive each recipe in two or four portions for two to three days each week.

Purple Carrot also offers microwave-ready vegetarian-friendly meals that are ready within 2 – 5 minutes of heating – zero prep, zero cooking, zero cleanup, and zero hassle.

All Purple Carrot’s vegetarian recipes are exemplary in how they feature veggies, herbs, and spices as the main flavors of each dish. The service only provides plant-based vegan dishes and uses zero preservatives or additives. Any processed foods included in dishes like tofu or tempeh are 100% non-GMO organic.

For a gradual transition into vegetarianism, you can order a minimum of 4 meal kits per week and incorporate them into your weekly menu. This is a great, gradual way to explore vegetarian cooking without the hassle of grocery shopping and planning.

You can even choose a High Protein option that ensures each recipe includes a minimum of 20 g of protein per portion to ensure you’re getting the protein you need.

screenshot of Purple Carrot's three meal plan prefernces

Purple Carrot offers three meal plan preferences including Quick & Easy meals that take 30 minutes or less to prep.

  1. Let your inner circle know you’re making a change

Starting and maintaining a new diet is best done with support! Starting a new diet can be difficult to manage since a lot of socializing happens around food. So – let your closest friends and family know that you’re making this change. You might feel less alone and more empowered to continue your journey to vegetarianism.

Fortunately, vegetarianism has become increasingly common and accommodated in restaurants. Finding vegetarian options should be pretty easy! If you’re uncertain whether a restaurant can accommodate your type of vegetarianism, see if you can peruse the menu ahead of time so you can more easily make informed meal choices.

You may have to ask the kitchen to mix and match a few things on the menu, but you might also find there are actually quite a lot of vegetarian options wherever you go.

3 Best Vegetarian Meal Delivery Services for Transitioning to the Vegetarian Diet

When considering a meal delivery service to transition into the vegetarian diet, I recommend finding one that offers quick and easy vegetarian recipes and delivers fresh ingredients. You may also want options for non-vegetarian meals so your transition isn’t completely cold turkey. 

The below three services offer each of these features and are great options for making your vegetarian diet transition as convenient as possible.

  1. HelloFresh – Great Vegetarian Meal Kits

    screenshot of HelloFresh's Zucchini and Snap Pea Bibimbap Bowl with Sweet Sesame Sauce

    HelloFresh's vegetarian recipes include international cuisine inspiration like this Zucchini and Snap Pea Bibimbap Bowl with Sweet Sesame Sauce. 

I haven’t yet mentioned HelloFresh in this guide, but HelloFresh is the gold standard for meal kits, and it's one of the most popular meal kit delivery services in the country.

You’ll find a dedicated Veggie plan with easy vegetarian recipes and fresh ingredients at an affordable price – starting at $3.32 per serving, making it an ideal service for an easy diet transition. Our tested HelloFresh review  has the full scoop on why it’s so popular across the US.

The above-pictured Zucchini and Snap Pea Bibimbap Bowl with Sweet Sesame Sauce takes about 30 minutes to prep, mostly due to waiting for the rice to cook. 

You can mix and match meal plans so that you can include meals with animal protein as you incorporate more plant-based proteins into your diet.

  1. Green Chef – USDA-Certified Organic Vegetarian Meal Kits

    screenshot of Green Chef's Creamy Pesto Farfalle Bowl with tomatoes, peas, butternut squash, and mozzarella.

    Green Chef's organic produce make all its recipes super high-quality, like this Creamy Pesto Farfalle Bowl with tomatoes, peas, butternut squash, and mozzarella.

Green Chef’s Vegetarian plan includes a range of USDA-certified organic vegetarian meal kits filled with plant-based proteins and whole food sides. Recipes can be prepared in about 30 minutes. You can mix and match meals from Vegan, Veggie, and non-veggie plans to ease your transition.

Our reviewer really tasted the high quality of Green Chef’s organic produce when they tested out the service.

What’s easy about Green Chef’s service is that ingredients arrive perfectly portioned and many of its sauces and marinades are premixed. Recipe cards are super easy to follow since they include simple language and pictures for each step of the prep process.

  1. Purple Carrot – Plant-Based Kits and Microwave-Ready Meal Delivery

As mentioned, Purple Carrot offers 100% plant-based meals, including extras where you’ll find Black Bean Burgers. Check out the ingredients – they’re only veggies and natural seasonings.

You’ll find 2 breakfast, 2 lunch, 6 dinner meal kits, 6 to 8 Plantry add-ons, plus 9 prepared meals that are great for lunch or dinner. All meals are plant-forward and make natural veggie flavors the star of each recipe. You can find out what our review thought of Purple Carrot’s plant-based vegetarian recipes when he tried out the service.

You can even choose the High Protein option that ensures 20 g or more of protein per serving. This is a great option if you’re concerned about protein deficiency.

Starting the Vegetarian Diet for Beginners: The Final Reminders

Whether you’re a beginner or using vegetarianism to transition into a familiar form of veganism, transitioning into a vegetarian diet for the first time should be a discovery process.

Start gradually, monitor your nutrient intake, and treat your transition with curiosity and compassion for your body. You can experiment with different types of vegetarianism by including or excluding dairy, eggs, and fish depending on what works best for your budget and lifestyle.

Compared to most diets, vegetarianism is relatively flexible and inclusive. There's no need to tally carbohydrates, calories, or macros. Your main objective will be to abstain from animal products while embracing a diet rich in plants and whole foods.

To make your transition as supported as possible – let your inner circle know that you’re making a change. You can also try a meal delivery service for the ultimate level of convenience in meal planning, prep, and cleanup. Green Chef, Factor, Trifecta, and Purple Carrot are all excellent meal delivery services that offer vegetarian-friendly meal plans.


What’s the best way to measure macronutrients on the vegetarian diet?

The best way to measure your macronutrients is through a tracking app like MyFitnessPal or Trifecta. You can also use the website Nutritionix.com to search for the macronutrients of specific foods. It’s the most extensive and updated resource on food nutrition tracking available online – and it's free!

Do I need to count my calories on the vegetarian diet?

Counting calories isn’t necessary on the vegetarian diet. However, if you’re new to vegetarianism, counting your calories might be helpful because it’ll give you a good idea of how to balance the new foods you might be incorporating into your weekly recipes. Once you get the hang of what your veggie meals will consist of, you don’t need to count calories.

Some meal delivery services like Fresh N Lean, Trifecta, Green Chef, and Factor will count macros and net carbs for you. They also provide fully prepared, individually packaged meals with complete nutrient labels.

How do you start a vegetarian diet to lose weight?

Everyone loses weight differently, and eating a vegetarian diet can lead to weight loss if you decrease your intake of processed foods and increase eating more whole foods with healthy proteins, fats, and complex carbs.

On average, vegetarians have a lower BMI than most people. While a lower BMI is correlated with eating, it’s not guaranteed and a cause-effect relationship between weight loss and vegetarianism is inconclusive. What eating a vegetarian diet can do is increase your own awareness of what you’re eating, which can lead to weight loss should you start choosing healthier foods.

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