Janel, a Registered Dietitian who follows a vegetarian diet, promotes no-nonsense, plant-based cooking so that eating is both healthful and enjoyable. Janel has a masterís degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University in Boston.

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Janel's Vegetarian Kitchen

by Janel Ovrut, MS, RD, LDN

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Do you feel like your mundane meal plan could use a makeover? With a few simple meal and snack substitutions, you can spice up your daily diet by enjoying favorite foods that can fit in your calorie guidelines.

Think of ways to substitute categories of food to add more variety in your diet.

Meal Makeovers to spice up your dietFor example, if you are bored with standard sandwiches on whole wheat bread, try whole wheat English muffins, whole wheat tortillas, or even whole wheat crackers to make mini sandwiches.

If you are sick of chicken for dinner each night, mix in salmon to your stir fry, grill turkey burgers instead of beef burgers, or try tofu for a tasty protein choice.

There are so many fruits and vegetables on the market to choose from that you should never be bored with your produce! How you prepare your produce will give you lots of variety. You can enjoy fresh fruit cut up, in a smoothie, frozen (like snacking on frozen grapes) or even added to entrees. Once I made stir fry with peaches and figs and it was incredible! Veggies can be grilled, baked, stir fried or eaten raw, and each cooking method brings out different flavors.

Below is a sample 1,200 calorie meal plan. If there are foods you don't care for, see what you can swap out and replace with a more favorable food!

If you're at a higher calorie intake, you can just increase serving sizes or add to the snacks. For example, have an apple with peanut butter, or veggies with a granola bar. Play around and swap in menu items that you do enjoy to reap the benefits of a varied and nutritious diet.

Breakfast: Yogurt parfait
6oz fat free yogurt: 80
1/2 cup blueberries: 45
1 cup Cheerios: 100
8 oz. water
Total: 225

Medium banana: 100

Lunch: Hummus wrap
Joseph's tortilla wrap: 70
2 Tbsp hummus: 60
Lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts: 20
1 apple: 80
8 Rold Gold Honey Wheat pretzels: 110
Total: 340

Light string cheese: 60

Dinner: Veggie chicken stir fry
4 oz. chicken breast: 130
1 cup mixed veggies: 90
1/2 cup cooked brown rice: 100
Soy sauce: 0
1 cup side salad with 1 Tbsp lite vinaigrette dressing: 50
Total: 370

Dessert: fruit smoothie (put in blender)
1 cup frozen fruit (mangoes, berries): 70
1/2 cup lite vanilla soy milk: 45
Total: 115

Your grand total is just 1,210 calories!

If you hunger for great meatless recipes, be sure to check out the 700+ vegetarian recipes served up daily right here at Diet.com!

Janel Ovrut, MS RD LDN is a Registered Dietitian who follows a vegetarian diet. She promotes no-nonsense, plant-based cooking so that eating is both healthful and enjoyable. Janel has a master’s degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University in Boston, MA. You can read many more of her blog posts at Eat Well With Janel.

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