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Written by: Mirela Niculae on Nov 22nd, 2022

How to Start a Vegetarian Diet

In the history of mankind, it has never been easier to make the switch to a veggie-based diet. We have easy access to a wide range of fresh vegetables and most restaurants and food establishments have at least several vegetarian options on the menu. Plus, we have the support of a growing, thriving community.

So if you’re pondering the idea of a vegetarian lifestyle, now is the best time to make the first step. Plus, a vegetarian diet (even a partial one) promotes weight loss, has tremendous health benefits, and is good for the environment – what more could you ask for?

I’m also grateful for the wide range of good food delivery services that carry vegetarian and vegan dishes. These services make the switch to a vegetarian diet a lot easier since you don’t have to go crazy while looking for fresh, responsibly-sourced ingredients. 

I think all beginner vegetarians need to find a reliable food delivery service that works for their needs. Until then, let’s see how to make sure you start this veggie-filled journey with the right foot forward.

What is the Vegetarian Diet? 

As the name suggests, the vegetarian diet is based on plants and eliminates the consumption of meat, fish, and poultry. Depending on the culinary restrictions, you can identify several types of vegetarian diets, such as:

  • Vegetarian: veggies and animal-derived products. This diet is split in three – lacto-ovo-vegetarians (eggs and dairy products), lacto-vegetarians (only dairy), and ovo-vegetarians (only eggs).

  • Pescatarian: fish is OK and sometimes eggs and dairy products

  • Flexitarian (or Semi-Vegetarian): a mostly vegetarian diet with occasional meat, fish, or poultry

  • Vegan: by far the most restrictive, this diet eliminates any animal-derived products (even honey)

People who choose a vegetarian diet do so for health benefits (including weight loss), but also for ethical and environmental reasons. After all, livestock production is one of the largest polluters on the globe.

From a health benefits perspective, studies show vegetarians are more careful about their food choices (as opposed to meat-eaters) and have a higher intake of fiber, Vitamins C and E, and more.

How to Start the Vegetarian Diet

The best thing you can do when switching from meat to veggies is to take it slow. If you jump from eating meat every day to removing any animal-derived products from your diet, you are going to have a tough time. In fact, this is the safest way to fail!

I started with a lacto-ovo-vegetarian regime because it made the transition easier, and up until now, I love the results! However, you have to expect a bit of disturbance in the force at first. For me, because plants have a higher content of fiber, it meant more bathroom visits, some bloating, and some cravings here and there.  

Once you get used to the new diet (maybe a few weeks into it), you’ll start feeling the benefits and you’ll congratulate yourself for sticking with it. To make things a bit easier and make sure you’ll be successful, here are the most important steps to take: 

1. Take Small Steps

As I already mentioned, it’s important to start small and build up towards the vegetarian diet you want to follow. Start by analyzing your current diet and see where you can cut off meat consumption. 

If you’re a big meat-eater, try cutting out one type of meat first. I gave up red meat and fish during my first two weeks of becoming a vegetarian and then I cut out the poultry. Not going to lie, giving up fried chicken was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.

If you feel the change to complete vegetarianism is too much, try part-time vegetarianism. This way,  you only give up on meat a few days a week and avoid shocking your organism. It’s important to give yourself permission to experiment in order to identify what works and what doesn’t.

When you cut out one big part of your regular diet (meat, in this case), you need to find a different source of nutrients to counterbalance the change. This process takes time to learn, which is why it helps to use a meal delivery service like Purple Carrot.

Purple Carrot’s menu. is entirely plant-based and can teach beginner vegetarians how to integrate plants into their diet. Plus, the company offers vegan versions of traditional meals like Mac and Cheese, which can help deal with the cravings during the first stages of the transition. 

2. Learn What Works for You (Be Adventurous)

Following a vegetarian diet is a lot more than eating broccoli and tofu. In fact, there are entire cultures that turned plan-based cooking into an art form. Yet, if you’re not aware of the huge diversity of plant-based foods out there, it can feel limiting. 

So don’t be afraid to experiment with new cuisines and try new vegetarian foods whenever you have the chance! Look for foods inspired by some of the greatest cultures that have an inclination towards a vegetarian diet like Middle Eastern, Chinese, Caribbean, Indian, or Thai. You’ll discover new flavors and textures, and introduce new nutrients into your diet.

If you feel you’ve run out of ideas, try a meal delivery service like Home Chef. The menu includes several vegetarian and pescatarian menus inspired by cuisines from all over the world.

The advantage of a meal delivery service is that it allows you to try different foods prepared by professional chefs. This way, you get to test the taste and flavors and learn what you like without investing too much effort into it.

3. Find Your Protein Sources

Meat and animal-derived products are important sources of protein and fats so when you cut them out of your diet, you need to find proper replacements. Nuts and beans are a great option, but your menu can easily get boring if there is no diversity.

Here is a list of great protein sources for people on a veggie-based diet:

  • Seitan (made from gluten) – 25g of protein/100g

  • Tofu, tempeh, and edamame (soybeans-based foods) – 12 to 20g of protein/100g

  • Lentils – 18g of protein/cup

  • Nutritional yeast – 8g of protein/half an ounce

  • Hemp seeds – 9g of protein/30g

  • Green peas – 9g of proteins/cup

  • Spirulina – 8g of protein/14g

  • Quinoa –  8-9g of protein/cup

  • Soy milk – 6g of proteins/cup

Try to keep things interesting by finding plant-based replacements to the foods you used to enjoy before making the switch. For instance, seitan is a great meat replacement if you don’t have a gluten intolerance. The same is true for soybean-based foods, but make sure to check the label. Sometimes, vegetarian food products can contain more salt and sugar in an effort to make them tastier.

If you are gluten-intolerant, Splendid Spoon has a diverse offer of gluten-free plant-based foods such as smoothies, soups, noodles, and grain bowls. You can use the service to add diversity to your current diet or use it as the main source of vegetarian foods in your life. The menu is diverse and there are plenty of options for everyone.

4. Connect with the Community

Just because you don’t eat meat and dairy products anymore, it doesn’t mean your diet is healthy. If you don’t know what foods are rich in essential nutrients (protein, fats, carbs) and vitamins, you can easily develop an unhealthy lifestyle. 

This is why it’s important to do the research and ask for help when you have doubts. Luckily, the vegetarian community is strong and there is plenty of information online. Still, it takes a bit of work to discern the helpful information from the crazy ones. 

Make sure to follow nutritionists and other specialists on social media or other online channels. Also, find reliable online communities where people talk about a vegetarian lifestyle. You can also get inspiration from meal delivery services like Hello Fresh.  

Hello Fresh not only has an entire meal plan dedicated to plant-based foods but it also has a section dedicated to sharing all sorts of recipes, including vegetarian ones. This way, when you get bored of your current menu, you can browse their recipes and find inspiration. Or, you can place an order and let Hello Fresh think about menu diversity! 

The Bottom Line on Starting a Vegetarian Diet

Change is never easy, but the world is more vegetarian-friendly these days. You have lots of options and, as long as you pay attention to your protein and vitamins intake, the diet has a wide range of health benefits.

So whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve your health, or want to contribute to saving the planet, switching to a vegetarian diet is a good option. And if you feel your options are limited, have a look at our list of the best vegetarian meal delivery services and their offer for vegetarians.

I’ve been a vegetarian for about three years now and I’ve never regretted my choice. It can be difficult at times, but it’s also a way to discover a whole new world of flavors from different cuisines around the globe!

About The Author

Mirela Niculae
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Mirela is passionate about eating healthy and well-balanced meals that promote weight loss and a good life. She's been writing online content for about 6 years with a focus on technology and personal development. She lives in Romania and loves exploring new cultures through food and conversation.
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