There's a push to encourage families to eat vegetarian at least once a week. Each group has their own reason why from cost to environment. Eating vegetarian once a week can stretch your budget a little more if done right. The problem is that vegetarian cooking can actually cost more than your average American meat based meal if you start to substitute like for like.
It's very difficult to give up a food you like. Whether your reason is economical, health or any other. When you have to give up a food, you begin to crave it. You want it or something like it. I felt this way when our family went gluten free. We worked hard to include gluten free breads, pastas and other grain based foods into our diet but we were not satisfied. We spend a great deal of money trying to preserve a diet we could no longer eat.
When I started to learn how to change our minds, things improved. There were still meals I wanted and would try to re-create but I found more success in creating new dishes.
The same goes for eating your vegetarian meal of the week. The idea is to find an inexpensive alternate dish not a vegetarian substitute for a favorite meal. For the purpose of stretching the almighty food budget, a good vegetarian meal can help. Meals that use beans or legumes as the focus instead of more expensive meat. I have shared a few since the beginning of this blog and more will likely follow.
Don't get stuck in a rut, try new things and remember that new doesn't have to mean expensive and inexpensive doesn't mean suffering. My family has recently discovered the joy of cooking lentils. So far, they've been without meat.
Brainstorm and see what you can find. Tomorrow I'll share a few vegetarian resources. It's never a bad thing to learn how to cook differently.