Healthful Vegetarian Meal Ideas

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March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.

A healthy vegetarian diet includes a wide variety of foods from all the food groups. Be creative in planning menus and trying new foods. Here are some healthful, vegetarian meal ideas to get you started.

Breakfast 

  • Instant oatmeal made with low-fat or fat-free milk* with nuts and dried cranberries  
  • Low-fat yogurt layered with crunchy cereal and blueberries for a breakfast parfait
  • Spread almond butter on a whole-grain toasted bagel and top with apple slices.

Lunch 

  • Vegetable sandwich: Sliced tomato, pepper, onion, avocado (with or without cheese*) stuffed in a whole-grain pita
  • Main dish salad with your choice of vegetables, beans or tofu, fruit and nuts.
  • Vegetable burger or falafel with cheese*, mushrooms and tomato on a whole-grain bun
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole-wheat bread with carrot and celery sticks
  • Chili made with beans and textured vegetable protein plus shredded cheese* and cornbread

Dinner 

  • Tofu and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
  • Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce plus vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and onions)
  • Tacos or burritos filled with beans, textured vegetable protein, tofu or tempeh
  • Pizza with or without cheese* and topped with vegetables and tofu or meat substitute

Snacks 

  • Trail mix
  • Popcorn
  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt*
  • Smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen berries and a banana
  • Hummus and pita wedges
  • Bagel with nut butter
  • Tomato soup and whole-grain crackers

*Soymilk, soy cheese and yogurt if vegan

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