"I rely on an internal database when I cook, but with vegetarian meals, I'm lost." - Jane Boutelle: Age: 50, Business Resources Manager, Madison, Wis.


Jane hasn't attempted a vegetarian diet in 25 years, so she feels a bit behind. "I know it's not all tofu and seitan, but if it's not that, what is it?" Jane saw her 50th birthday as a reason to gear up her fitness effort—she's lost 18 pounds—and she sees adding vegetarian meals as another step in her all-around wellness crusade. Jane's husband is not a fan of vegetables ("He generally likes food you'd describe as 'kid-friendly.' "), but she's determined to expand the horizons of their three children.


Creating a list of delicious go-to meals will help this family enjoy going vegetarian once a week and get them on their way toward their wellness goals. Start with dishes and flavor profiles that your family enjoys. Mexican food, Italian food, and many good old American favorites are all candidates for a meatless makeover.

Dinnertime ...

  • Embrace the egg. This low-calorie, protein-rich food is the simplest way to explore meatless meals without arousing the family's suspicions. Load up frittatas and quiches with fresh produce; try our Summer Vegetable Frittata or Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda Quiche.
  • Pile veggies on pizza. Nothing says comfort food like deep-dish pizza. Line a casserole dish with pizza dough, and pour in a roasted vegetable mixture of your liking. Top with marinara sauce and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until the cheese bubbles.
  • Give soy crumbles a try. The application is everything here. Try soy crumbles in place of ground beef in a burger, and everyone will instantly recognize the difference. But when the crumbles are mixed with rice and veggies inside a stuffed roasted pepper, they may never be the wiser.

Lunchtime ...

  • Embrace the egg again. Try egg salad for packable lunchtime sandwiches, reheated leftover strata, or quick and easy scrambled eggs cooked in the microwave—whisk one or two eggs in a small bowl, and heat in 20-second intervals, stirring in between. Top with a sprinkle of green onions and salt and pepper.
  • Master a meatless sandwich. Grill your favorite veggies to add a smoky (i.e., somewhat meaty) quality, and top with cheese on a substantial bread that's sure to fill you up, like ciabatta rolls or a hearty whole-grain loaf.