When I was a teenager I had the desire to be vegetarian, but I thought it would be too hard and inconvenient for those around me. My first real foray into not eating meat was when I lived alone at uni – easy. I’m now married and have been living with my husband for nearly 10 years.
He is most definitely a meat-eater.
How do we prepare meals that satisfy us both?
I’m going to share a few tips.
Cook some things that satisfy everyone
There’s a common misconception among those who do eat meat that the alternatives are boring. This couldn’t be further from the truth – there are so many delicious options and in today’s connected world there’s no excuse not to find tasty, hearty, gorgeous meals that are vegetarian and satisfy the meat-eater. I think the most challenging part is convincing them to try it (it helps if you don’t tell them up front!)
Check out a few of my favourite sources at the moment:
Substitute vegetarian alternatives
Living with a meat-eater, this is a tactic we use regularly and has become invaluable – prepare two versions of the same meal, one with meat and one without. Trust me, it sounds like more work than it actually is. You’ll be using mostly the same ingredients anyway, just substitute one vegetarian version for meat.
A couple of examples:
- Burritos/ Tacos – make one pot of meat plus one pot of kidney beans
- Meat + Vegetables – cook a piece of meat steak/ sausages/ chicken plus vegetarian sausages/ vegetarian kiev
- Spaghetti Bolognese – cook one pot of meat mince plus one pot of vegetarian mince (which you can find in your supermarket)
- Stir fry – fry one pan with chicken & vegies plus one pan with tofu & vegies
These are our most common go-to’s for mid-week dinners and very easy to manage. It may seem like a lot more work, but try it a few times – once you’re in the groove of preparing the 2 versions you won’t even think about it. In fact, you may even find your family wants to try your version which could open a whole new world of possibilities! ?
Realistically, changing your diet in a household with meat-eaters is going present some initial challenges.
Recently I’ve become a big fan of meal-planning and, while I’m already vegetarian, I can see how it would help someone who is just starting out and needs to accommodate two diets. I recommend taking a little time on the weekend to look up some recipes (try your local supermarket’s free mag – that’s my go-to!), pick some meals that will satisfy both diets, and plan some meals where you’ll make 2 versions (see above). Then do your grocery shopping to accommodate your meal plan – not only does this alleviate stress relating to your new diet but it helps streamline your weekly routine as well!
I know it can be challenging to adapt your diet when you live in a home with others who don’t share your motivation. Trust me – with a little organisation and knowledge you’ll soon be looking back and wishing you’d made the switch in your diet sooner!