Not Ready to Go All the Way? Try These Tasty Meat-Free Dishes.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Flexitarian" is a term describing people who are mostly vegetarian: They minimize meat, fish and poultry but don't cut it out completely. Here are 10 starter tips from Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of "The Flexitarian Diet":

1. Grill a veggie burger and enjoy it with all the classic toppings such as ketchup, mustard and pickles.

2. Enjoy hummus as a dip for veggies or as a sandwich spread in place of mayonnaise; it adds flavor with fewer calories and less fat.

3. Toss canned white beans (rinsed and drained) into your favorite pasta dishes for extra protein and fiber.

4. Make a fast and flavorful burrito with canned low-fat refried beans, lettuce, tomato and guacamole.

5. Start your day right by pouring low-fat milk over muesli made by mixing uncooked rolled oats and your favorite chopped nuts and diced fresh fruit.

6. Heat canned vegetarian chili and pour it on a baked potato for a healthful meal in a hurry.

7. Make a speedy stir-fry with frozen veggies, frozen precooked brown rice, frozen edamame or tofu and teriyaki sauce combined in a hot wok or pan.

8. For a quick brown-bag lunch, toss canned lentils (rinsed & drained), shredded carrots, chopped cucumber and sliced red bell pepper together with some Italian dressing and stuff it into a whole-grain pita.

9. Stash a 150-calorie emergency snack in your purse or desk drawer for times when hunger hits: Combine a quarter-cup of soy nuts with a tablespoon of raisins.

10. Mix together canned black beans (rinsed and drained) with jarred salsa for a satisfying tortilla chip dip.

-- Jennifer LaRue Huget

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