5 habits of vegetarians you should steal | Fox News

By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD. Published March 24 2015

More and more of my clients consider themselves to be “part-time” vegetarians. While they may not want to give up meat altogether, they enjoy plenty of meatless meals or take part in ongoing movements, like Meatless Mondays. Today is another formal campaign focused on leaving meat off your plate: It’s the Great American Meat-Out, and getting on board can be a great opportunity to improve your health.

Even semi-vegetarians weigh less, and have lower risks of high blood pressure and diabetes. Plus, taking the focus off meat can be a simple way to boost your intake of plant-based foods you may not be eating enough of.

Here are five healthy veg-based habits you can adopt, even if you aren’t interested in embracing a total vegetarian lifestyle.

Make veggies the main attraction

When I ask most of my omnivore clients what they had for dinner last night, they typically reply with meat first (e.g. “I had chicken with…”). Veggies are often an afterthought. Obviously my vegetarian and vegan clients don’t eat meat, but I advise everyone—including omnivores—to think about veggies first and build the rest of their meals around them. It’s key, because eating more veggies is one of the most impactful dietary changes you can make, but about 75 percent of adults fall short of the minimum recommended three daily servings.

Fitting in just one additional portion per day can slash your risk of heart disease by as much as 11%, and making veggies the star of your plate can lead to a myriad of benefits. From today on, when choosing what’s for lunch or dinner, select your veggies to start, then add lean protein, good fat, and healthy starch to round out your meal.

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