We constantly hear about the impact of meat production on the environment and how unethical it is. However, completely dropping meat from your diet can be a bit tough sometimes. Reducing meat consumption is already a big step towards contributing to a more sustainable future.

I first started eating vegetarian food in middle school back in Finland, and I remember how I needed to ask for permission from the school nurse to get vegetarian options in the cafeteria. This seemed ridiculous to me. Later in high school, we always had vegetarian options next to the daily lunch and you didn’t have to sign up for plant-based meals. Up until my first year of college, I tried to eat mostly plant-based but moving in with my boyfriend, I noticed how much the people you surround yourself with affect your diet and especially if your significant other is not vegetarian at all.

So, join me in my journey of trying to become a vegetarian again, in an effort to be more sustainable. To make the journey easier here are my collected top tips to help add more vegetarian based meals to your diet:

Company makes it fun

Back when I first started eating vegetarian, my best friend joined in with me, and it made the switch so much easier. At first, we challenged each other for a vegetarian month, but after experimenting with different meals, it became a norm to eat more plant-based. So, find a friend that you would like to challenge and cook some vegetarian meals together to support each other.

Find your values

As mentioned in the introduction, meat products are harmful to the climate and many times unethically produced. If you are still struggling with adding more vegetarian options to your diet, sometimes it is good to sit down and think about your own values, and maybe that will help you with trying something new. In addition to that, you can get great health benefits from reducing your red meat consumption in your diet, since it is harmful to your health in many ways.

Swap the meat

The often-shown stereotype about being vegetarian is eating only vegetables and greens. However, you can prepare your favorite meals, such as pasta, burgers, or pizzas by just replacing the meat with great vegetarian alternatives. These veggie options often taste great and there are more and more options nowadays. If you go to your preferred local stores, such as Jumbo or Albert Heijn, they often have a separate section for vegetarian or vegan alternatives.

Since tomorrow, on the 16th of October, we are celebrating World Food Day, I challenge you to try something new and eat one week without meat. If one week feels like a big step, I recommend trying with one vegetarian day a week. Challenge your friends and have a small cookout with them.

In case you are still not sure how to start, I have included a quick recipe below with an amazing vegetarian tofu soup. The recipe is great because you don’t always have to follow it exactly. If you want to switch some ingredients around, it is always possible. This recipe is also for 4 people, so invite your friends and prepare it together. This meal is especially perfect in this season of coldness and rain.