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15 Ways To Cut Down On Eating Meat, From People Who Have Actually Done It

Whether you want to just eat a little less meat, or stop having it altogether.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their best tips for how to cut down on eating meat. Here are some of their responses!

1. To start off, try to order vegetarian when you get takeout or go to a restaurant.

"First step I think is to try to order veggie when you eat out if you can. So on pizza try a veggie option for example. You’ll have the ritual of getting takeout but avoiding meat."– manasvinib
Flickr: penguincakes / Creative Commons

"First step I think is to try to order veggie when you eat out if you can. So on pizza try a veggie option for example. You’ll have the ritual of getting takeout but avoiding meat."

manasvinib

2. Or conversely, try to avoid buying meat when you go to the grocery store, so that you're only having meat when you're not at home.

"What I found helpful was not buying meat at the grocery store. So that forced me to buy other things to replace meat and figure out how to change my diet. Then when I got used to that, I stopped buying meat at restaurants and would only eat meat when I was given it at a dinner party for example. After I was at that stage for a bit, it really wasn't hard to make that jump to completely veggie. "Importantly, don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you slip up don't worry because if you beat yourself up about it and make yourself miserable, you won't be happy and won't stick to it."– kellyt33
Flickr: fanofretail / Creative Commons

"What I found helpful was not buying meat at the grocery store. So that forced me to buy other things to replace meat and figure out how to change my diet. Then when I got used to that, I stopped buying meat at restaurants and would only eat meat when I was given it at a dinner party for example. After I was at that stage for a bit, it really wasn't hard to make that jump to completely veggie.

"Importantly, don't put too much pressure on yourself. If you slip up don't worry because if you beat yourself up about it and make yourself miserable, you won't be happy and won't stick to it."

kellyt33

3. Head to Pinterest and explore all the options out there.

"Becoming inspired and motivated helps so much because you feel like this is your own personal choice and not a rule. Creating Pinterest boards with recipes you're really excited about, trying out vegan restaurants or just doing your research will teach you aren't missing out on anything. There are soo many meatless recipes/options to explore and just be a little adventurous."– Laura Melega
Pinterest

"Becoming inspired and motivated helps so much because you feel like this is your own personal choice and not a rule. Creating Pinterest boards with recipes you're really excited about, trying out vegan restaurants or just doing your research will teach you aren't missing out on anything. There are soo many meatless recipes/options to explore and just be a little adventurous."

Laura Melega

4. Take your time figuring out which foods you like.

CBS

"Take your time. Find out what you like and don't like and do not push yourself to eat something you know you don't like just because its meat-free. Once you start to really acquire a taste for all these new food options, it will become easier for you to substitute the meat you used to eat. Theres sooooo much choice when it comes to vegetarian/vegan food, so many different flavours, textures, etc!"

ooophelia

5. Don't think you have to give up all your comfort foods.

"Definitely don't give up for comfort foods!!! People go vegan or vegetarian for many reasons. Some for health, and comfort foods don't have the biggest rep for being healthy. But it's easy to experiment and try new methods. I love mac and cheese and used to make it often. I still do with vegan cheese or a carrot/potato cheese blend or butternut squash mac and cheese. Just need to find what works for you!"– NewYearsEve
Flickr: foodstories

"Definitely don't give up for comfort foods!!! People go vegan or vegetarian for many reasons. Some for health, and comfort foods don't have the biggest rep for being healthy. But it's easy to experiment and try new methods. I love mac and cheese and used to make it often. I still do with vegan cheese or a carrot/potato cheese blend or butternut squash mac and cheese. Just need to find what works for you!"

NewYearsEve

6. Find a filling source of protein that works for you.

"Most importantly, make sure that your vegetarian choices are foods that still provide you with plenty of protein! Otherwise you’ll just keep craving meat. It makes it so much easier to make the switch when you make sure you are still getting the nutrition you need. Tofu and legumes are great options, and there are many tasty meat substitutes available as well."– katieh4ebc716e9
Flickr: kipbot

"Most importantly, make sure that your vegetarian choices are foods that still provide you with plenty of protein! Otherwise you’ll just keep craving meat. It makes it so much easier to make the switch when you make sure you are still getting the nutrition you need. Tofu and legumes are great options, and there are many tasty meat substitutes available as well."

katieh4ebc716e9

7. Bear in mind that you might not miss the taste of meat, but rather the sauces and seasonings you put on it.

"What really helped me was realising that, for the most part, it wasn't the flavour of meat I actually liked but the seasoning, sauces, and other add-ons you typically eat it with. When I have cravings for typically meat dishes, I just substitute out the meat. Buffalo wings craving? Buffalo cauliflower! Burger craving? Substitute for a veggie pattie and load it up with your favourite burger toppings! You don't notice the meat missing among the other ingredients."– kjensen17
Comedy Central

"What really helped me was realising that, for the most part, it wasn't the flavour of meat I actually liked but the seasoning, sauces, and other add-ons you typically eat it with. When I have cravings for typically meat dishes, I just substitute out the meat. Buffalo wings craving? Buffalo cauliflower! Burger craving? Substitute for a veggie pattie and load it up with your favourite burger toppings! You don't notice the meat missing among the other ingredients."

kjensen17

8. Cut out meats gradually, and start by having a few meatless days in the week.

Fox

"Start by cutting out just one meat. I stopped eating chicken over two years before becoming vegetarian. Cut meat out of meals that are fine without it, such as pizza. Find some go-to eating out options. And try limiting yourself to, say, three days a week that you eat meat. That’s actually how I wound up vegetarian – it was too much trouble to keep track of what days I was going to be eating meat, so I just stopped entirely."

lizzzzz

9. Add foods to your diet before taking any away.

"Add foods before you subtract foods. Start adding in more vegetables. Learn to prepare them well and try vegetables you’ve never had before."– saidthelion
Flickr: hong_enxu

"Add foods before you subtract foods. Start adding in more vegetables. Learn to prepare them well and try vegetables you’ve never had before."

saidthelion

10. Treat meat as a side rather than the main event.

"Between that and some completely meatless meals, I’ve been able to cut my meat consumption way back. I find that I am a far more adventurous eater now. There are just so many interesting flavours you can get from plant-based foods."– UnconstructiveComment
Flickr: shibuya246

"Between that and some completely meatless meals, I’ve been able to cut my meat consumption way back. I find that I am a far more adventurous eater now. There are just so many interesting flavours you can get from plant-based foods."

UnconstructiveComment

11. Find some swaps that you actually like, whether that involves meat substitutes or vegetables.

"It helped to replace meat with substitutions. Hamburgers, sausage, ground 'meat', chicken fingers, beef tips...it's all pretty good and sometimes I honestly can't taste or tell the difference. I also found some super good restaurants that specialise in vegan food that actually is flavourful and doesn't feel like a plate of veggies. "And if you're not into the fake meat thing, some veggies make great substitutions like mushrooms or cauliflower. Just throw a giant-ass portobello on a bun to replace a burger, but cook it of course...."– Sara Heinemeyer via Facebook
Flickr: chefcooke

"It helped to replace meat with substitutions. Hamburgers, sausage, ground 'meat', chicken fingers, beef tips...it's all pretty good and sometimes I honestly can't taste or tell the difference. I also found some super good restaurants that specialise in vegan food that actually is flavourful and doesn't feel like a plate of veggies.

"And if you're not into the fake meat thing, some veggies make great substitutions like mushrooms or cauliflower. Just throw a giant-ass portobello on a bun to replace a burger, but cook it of course...."

– Sara Heinemeyer via Facebook

12. Try to have one completely vegetarian meal a day.

"I prefer mine to be lunch because it can be a ton simpler than dinner, and I don’t feel like I’m cheating by making it breakfast."Also, there’s nothing wrong with being a pescatarian, if you just can’t make the complete jump from meat eater to vegetarian right now. Don’t let anybody tell you the way you do your diet is wrong, so you shouldn’t put in the effort. It’s a big thing to jump into, and will take time to get used to. You got this!"– abbif2
Flickr: graasland

"I prefer mine to be lunch because it can be a ton simpler than dinner, and I don’t feel like I’m cheating by making it breakfast.

"Also, there’s nothing wrong with being a pescatarian, if you just can’t make the complete jump from meat eater to vegetarian right now. Don’t let anybody tell you the way you do your diet is wrong, so you shouldn’t put in the effort. It’s a big thing to jump into, and will take time to get used to. You got this!"

abbif2

13. Make sure to keep trying new recipes.

ABC

"Tap into your adventurous side and try a couple of new recipes every week. If certain dishes don’t make you feel like a rockstar, then move on and try something else! Progression is always better than immediate perfection. Above all have FUN with it!"

bjc4d52a9c89

14. When eating out, try cuisines where there's a lot of vegetarian options like Indian or Mexican food.

"Eating out can be the hardest unless you have friends willing to go to vegan restaurants all the time. Best go-to restaurants are Japanese (skip the tempura veggies), Mexican, Indian and some African cuisines. Ask questions in a kind way and the servers are usually very helpful."– christir46e592a53
Flickr: kake_pugh

"Eating out can be the hardest unless you have friends willing to go to vegan restaurants all the time. Best go-to restaurants are Japanese (skip the tempura veggies), Mexican, Indian and some African cuisines. Ask questions in a kind way and the servers are usually very helpful."

christir46e592a53

15. Do some online research so that you're not just eating your regular meals minus the meat.

Marvel Studios

"You HAVE to do your research. Seriously, I've seen so many videos on YouTube of actual scientists that decided to go vegetarian for 30 days only eat eggs and potato chips."

cozettej921

Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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