My kids grew up with a vegetarian mom and a dad who ate what I cooked, and they did likewise. If we had hamburger for tacos, fine - they browned the hamburger, put the taco seasoning in it, voila, tacos. If they wanted a hamburger they took a frozen pattie out of the freezer, thaw, cook. Hotdogs, similar. Sausage, just fine. Bacon - of course. Chicken - fine, in fact, I'll fry/broil/stir-fry/grill it. Turkey - I'll roast it/crockpot it. I'm fine with that, I just really don't partake, but I'm not going to push my eating habits onto someone else, not even my kids. So my children seldom ate meat, at home. They understand that eating vegetarian is no big deal, and that cooking vegetarian is easy, not complicated.
In fact - I'd rather pick out the meat than tell a host, or caregiver, to cook me something special. And if you want meat, OK, I have no desire to set up a kosher kitchen, it just isn't that big of a deal.
Being a vegetarian is very simple. Think of it as this - 3/4 of the plate is filled with fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and 1/4 of the plate filled with protein. Think - eat lower on the food chain - if cows eat grass, wouldn't it be best if we ate the grass rather than the cow?! Let's put that to work, easy recipes:
Sauteed vegetables, whole wheat flour tortilla, beans and brown rice, salsa.
Sauteed vegetables, whole grain pasta - or lightly steamed sliced cauliflower or cabbage, with a marinara sauce.
Sauteed vegetables, brown rice, peanuts/cashews, teriyaki/soy/thai sauce, and egg rolls.
Nice tossed salad, bowl with nuts, bowl with rice/noodles, bowl with beans, other toppings, whole grain roll or slice of whole grain bread.
Soup - any of the above with some vegetable, or chicken, broth, some added seasonings, and there you go. Add a slice of bread, perhaps some jam, yum.
Last night for dinner we had - Eggplant Parmesan - kinda. Zucchini patties from Costco, Chicken patty for Scott. Whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce, salad. Easy - both pleased.
If you're interested in cooking vegetarian, just remove the meat, add a few more vegetables, add some extra seasonings, spices, herbs, and there you have it, vegetarian - add some cheese; vegan - leave it be.
Don't replace meat with extra refined carbs or extra cheesy sauces, or even tofu, just let it be. And think color - if the meal is full of color, it's probably healthy! All white, probably gonna kill you - some day!
Not sure if I agree with the Whole Grains group - too much for me,
should swap places with the Dairy and Legumes section.