How do vegetarians stay sated?
June 5, 2017 12:54 PM   Subscribe

I recently became a vegetarian as well as started working from home. Now I'm always hungry and always eating and help.

When I was eating meat, I'd have a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast and not feel full until lunch. Now without the bacon or sausage in the morning, I'm hungry a few hours later and start snacking. Ditto with lunch. It feels like without a fatty protein for lunch, I'm snacking all afternoon, never feeling totally full. How do vegetarians eat such that they feel full and don't gain a bunch of weight from eating non-stop carbs or get a heart attack from eating non-stop cashews?
posted by coffee and minarets to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Fatty protein: eggs + avocado! They work well together in so many ways. Perhaps you could try scrambled eggs with salsa and guacamole, or add hard boiled eggs with sliced avocado to a big crunchy salad.

Orrrrr beans/fake ground meat and avocado! Tacos, burritos, etc.

And cheese, don't forget the fat and protein in cheese!
posted by joan_holloway at 1:00 PM on June 5, 2017 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Without meat, the food you eat is less calorie dense, so you do actually need to eat more volume to get the same number of calories as before. So you can either eat more or more often (I do this :)) or eat high density foods containing fats (peanut butter, olive oil, chips, etc). Don't forget MSG for a feeling of satiation: tomatoes, fried mushrooms, soy sauce.
posted by starfishprime at 1:03 PM on June 5, 2017 [3 favorites]


oats, banana, peanut butter, almond milk

Lunch or dinner:

salad greens, beans, corn, rice, salsa, caramelized onions, etc
posted by Ms Vegetable at 1:05 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe try a breakfast burrito in the morning: whole wheat tortilla, scrambled eggs, cheese, black beans, guacamole, potatoes (I like cut up hash browns in mine ).
posted by JenMarie at 1:11 PM on June 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Agree with the above suggestions! Fatty (vegetarian) proteins are your friends. If you like fake meat, the Morningstar veggie sausage patties could replace the meat version in your breakfast sandwich. You could also try longer lasting carbs, like the oatmeal suggestion. Steel cut oats with fruit and milk will keep me pretty full for a while. You might also try a full-fat or greek yogurt with a granola-type cereal and fruit and nuts.
posted by LKWorking at 1:13 PM on June 5, 2017

Fiber takes longer to digest. Eating an apple or adding apple slices to your meals will help you feel full. Also nuts. Add them to your meals or have a handful now or then to keep hunger at bay.
posted by xammerboy at 1:13 PM on June 5, 2017

Best answer: Since you're working from home, can you devote a little more time to meal prep and eating? I think of an egg sandwich as a commuting meal. The protein and fat from the egg and cheese are good but the bread itself is a lot of carbs for basically no satiety. It's also totally devoid of fruits and vegetables which are kind of a huge part of being vegetarian (I eat F&V at every meal and snack and it goes a long way to keeping me full, beyond the health benefits).

Ideally you would be rethinking what you eat from scratch, not just deleting meat from your usual rotation. So breakfast might be oats cooked in milk with some fresh strawberries mixed in, or you can do eggs but as an omelet with a lot of vegetables, and maybe some roasted potatoes on the side (potatoes get a bad rap but they're really high on the satiety index or whatever it's called). A Greek yogurt parfait with some fruit and granola is quick to prepare but you can take your time eating it--I also find that helps me stay fuller longer.
posted by mama casserole at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: That's what greek yogurt is for. The full fat stuff.
posted by The Toad at 1:20 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

A simple small thing: you could add another egg to your sandwich, which would be pretty comparable to 1-2 pieces of bacon in terms of both calories and fats (I'd never made the connection before, but my husband usually has one egg and I have two, and the difference is that he also has some bacon). It sounds like you removed a bunch of calories, not just fats, and are surprised that you're hungry now. Nuts are no less healthy than the fatty meats that you're comparing them to, so I'm not sure why those say "heart attack" for you in a way that bacon doesn't.

I think it's just something you get used to, really. More eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, beans or tofu with some fats. More vegetables; I find roasted veggies to be a pleasant snack in a way that a dish full of celery sticks isn't.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:22 PM on June 5, 2017

Best answer: N'thing Greek yogurt. Personally, I also eat a lot of veggie Tex-Mex stuff, such as huevos rancheros and black bean enchiladas (Joanne Eats Well With Others is a good resource if you like that kind of thing), as well as meals that combine beans and lentils (like chili). Red beans and rice is another fulfilling, nutritious meal.

I also find that, with nuts, I need to eat a few and then wait for them to hit my stomach to see if I'm really still hungry; otherwise, I can pound almonds way beyond what I really needed to be satisfied.
posted by neushoorn at 1:30 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, you need more fibre there to keep you full. You could put your sandwich on some crazy fibre-enriched brown bread and add a sliced apple on the side, or you could change it up entirely.

Oats are a good suggestion -- I'm a savoury breakfast person, so I do a savoury version: oats cooked with cherry tomatoes and garlic, topped with sliced avocado and a poached egg. You could also do peanut butter and chopped apples for sweet and extra-filling (seriously, pb+oats+apples will keep me full long past lunch). You might also try legumes, like refried beans into something resembling huevo rancheros.
posted by AmandaA at 1:34 PM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Nthing all the advice about fat and protein. In addition, try a large spinach salad (or other bulky green) - aim for two cups of lightly packed greens. If the mood strikes you, you can add some bell pepper or whatever, but the important thing is the giant heap of greens.

For vinaigrette, I use 1:1:1:.5 ratio of oil/water/vinegar/mustard.
posted by Frowner at 1:34 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also consider nuts. High in protein and fat, usually salty even if you don't buy them salted. Can also be added to any number of dishes.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:39 PM on June 5, 2017

Eggs, beans, nuts, tofu, cheese, yogurt. Full fat dairy is your friend. You can stir-fry up the whole produce department with some tofu and put that over a half cup of rice and be quite full. You are not going to get a heart attack from eating vegetarian fats unless you are a french fry-atarian.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:46 PM on June 5, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for all these excellent suggestions! Looks like I'm definitely going to switch to a breakfast burrito in the morning. Also, I didn't realize that fiber helped with feeling full, interesting.
posted by coffee and minarets at 1:51 PM on June 5, 2017

Nuts + Legumes

Roast chickpeas until browned/crunchy for a high protean lower fat snack (toss with spice like curry powder/salt/pepper or whatever you like).

Roast them for slightly less time as a topping on a salad.

Real refried beans (with olive oil) (black/pinto/whatever) from scratch. Use it as a spread or dip or for tacos/burritos. (If you've never made refried beans from scratch, do this asap)

Almond butter + toast/english muffin/celery.

High protein/fiber whole grains (Quinoa, Bulger, Kamut, sprout your whole-grain barley!)

Hard boiled egg for snacks.
posted by czytm at 2:02 PM on June 5, 2017

Just a heads up, oats by themselves are not filling. It's like eating plain bread or something. I basically have to bury the oats under trail mix or other ingredients (such as those suggested above).
posted by aniola at 2:11 PM on June 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Fiber makes you feel full by adding bulk to foods. It literally takes up more space in your digestive system.
posted by aniola at 2:14 PM on June 5, 2017

Yessss, fiber. Beans make me feel full (and I love them).
posted by stoneandstar at 2:33 PM on June 5, 2017

Best answer: (Hi, vegan for 25 years and epidemiologist/toxicologist for 15). An even better summary of the "fiber makes you feel full" situation is "fiber plus water makes you feel full". Part of the fiber picture is soluble, and takes up a huge amount of water in the process of becoming a bulky mass that triggers nerves in your gut to send the message to your brain that the assembly line is at capacity so stop shoveling in raw materials for a while. Keep that in mind with your meals--maybe have a second glass of water when you normally have just one.

My absolute favorite source of fiber to keep around to tamp down the munchies are ridiculously easy to make flaxseed crackers (there are many variations on this very basic recipe if you'd like to poke around a bit). I make a double batch every weekend and keep them around during the workday. I usually eat them plain or dunk them in hummus.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:45 PM on June 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

If you are open to the idea of weaning yourself off of meat rather than going cold turkey to give your body a chance to adjust to the new normal, I found that mixing in just a little meat into dishes helped sate the "feed me" cravings I'd get.
posted by Candleman at 2:48 PM on June 5, 2017

Best answer: A very filling breakfast for me is a poached egg, steamed spinach, and a slice of whole-grain bread or maybe grits, and a slice of avocado.

All cooked greens can be very, very filling. I steam mine in a little water with salt and pepper.

Give your body time to adjust, too. When I stopped eating meat I found myself craving peanut butter. I was also hungry all the time. Eventually I found the right foods to stand in for meat and haven't had hunger like that since.

Nthing beans. To avoid gas, at least from canned beans, try rinsing the liquid off first. Apparently the liquid, not the beans themselves, cause most of the gas. Once I started doing this beans became my favorite protein source.
posted by Crystal Fox at 3:00 PM on June 5, 2017

My favorite fatty protein breakfast: whole milk yogurt + fruit + almond or peanut butter. Long-lasting!
posted by the_blizz at 3:11 PM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Not true that vegetarian fats can't lead to heart disease. The fat in dairy and eggs is no better for you than the fat in meat. Olive oil also damages your arteries. Google brachial artery tourniquet test. Not saying you should never eat these things, but in excess, they are not good for you.

Nthing fiber plus water and just generally more volume. When I have a salad for dinner, it is huge and includes beans and sometimes avocado. I add a cashew-based dressing. I use a mixing bowl instead of a salad bowl. There's nothing wrong with eating two or three bananas. It just seems like a lot if you're used to getting lots of calories from meat.

I used to eat a can of sardines packed in olive oil for breakfast every day. I thought I needed all that fat and protein to make it until lunch. Now I eat steel cut oats with a half cup of blueberries and some almond milk, and I do fine.

Above all, be patient with yourself. There is a learning curve, and you will ultimately figure it out by experimentating and seeing what works for you.
posted by FencingGal at 3:14 PM on June 5, 2017

Most Sundays, I make-ahead crustless quiche that I fill with roasted vegetables, thawed frozen spinach, beans (black beans, I believe, are the highest-fiber, though they do make the final dish kinda murky), cheese (usually shredded cheese plus some cottage cheese), and for me some meat but you could use more vegetables or Beyond Beef crumbles or chopped up chik'n/quorn/gardenburger or rice/quinoa/other grain.

My ratio for a 9x12 casserole dish is 8 eggs, 1-1.5C milk/half&half/cream (can be non-dairy too, if you prefer), as much stuff as I can get in there as far as fillings (easily 3 cups of stuff, maybe 4 with cottage cheese). Big big pinch of salt, shake of nutmeg, big shake of red pepper flakes. This will feed 2 people 3-4 breakfasts, but the more sides you put with it the longer it'll stretch, or half the recipe for one person. It does not freeze very well, it comes back out pretty wet.

I usually eat it with avocado, cottage cheese, a tortilla, or a piece of gnarly fiber bread toast.

Beans are pretty magic, so I would say upping your bean intake would help more than any other one thing you could do.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:21 PM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Meat substitutes may also help with this:

Chinese dougan (literally "bean dry") is a version of tofu with a lot of it's water content removed. It's denser, more protein packed, and chewier than regular tofu.

Seitan is often used as a meat substitute and sometimes shaped into something resembling meat. It's made from wheat gluten. One of my favorite dishes made from it is Hong Shao Kao Fu (braised wheat gluten with mushrooms).
posted by FJT at 4:01 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Without meat, the food you eat is less calorie dense

FWIW, this is not necessarily true. Bread/pasta/rice/oils are much more calorie dense than protein. Be careful if calorie overconsumption is a concern.

You can get used to feeling less full, if you want, and that's not a bad thing. You'll feel lighter and more energetic if your body is not working so hard to digest its food.
posted by amtho at 4:08 PM on June 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding seitan. I find it to be by far the vegetarian thing that feels most like meat to me in terms of mouthfeel and satiety.
It's expensive to buy it pre-made but very inexpensive and easy to make at home. Here are instructions from real scratch (using only flour and liquid), but skip a step by starting with wheat gluten. I also and add in some onion and garlic powders, soy sauce, some flax or chia, and some oil. I can give anyone my detailed recipe if you're interested. Lots of ways to cook it, I like to simmer it in water for about an hour then use it throughout the week for meals.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:35 PM on June 5, 2017

I'm a big fan of veggie chilis for lunch or dinner with main ingredients being sweet potatos, black beans, and lentils, lots of fibre and protein in there. Add some smoked cheese on top and it's very satisfying.

Another filling lunch or dinner is rice with dahl (spiced lentils) on top, plus side salad or raita, so good and simple.

I make brown rice once in a while with my instant pot and it's incredibly filling, you can use it whenever you use rice and make a mexican-style rice bowl with black beans, corn, etc. for lunch or dinner.

Try tempeh 'bacon' as a bacon replacement, it's easy to make yourself. Tempeh is fermented soybeans, I'm not a huge tofu fan but I like tempeh. Great in sandwiches or crumbled in salads. The key is slicing the tempeh nice and thin and marinating it overnight, I use liquid smoke but some people prefer soy sauce or bragg's aminos instead.

For breakfast lately I pre-make a crisp with seasonable fruits, coconut oil instead of butter, maple syrup or no sugar, it keeps me full til lunch.

Also don't feel bad if you do have a snack like a babybell or nuts or fruit, not the worst thing especially if you eat later in the evening.
posted by lafemma at 5:41 PM on June 5, 2017

Try tempeh 'bacon' as a bacon replacement, it's easy to make yourself.

See also Tofurkey's Sesame-Garlic tempeh either for its own merits or as a model for your own variations.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:06 PM on June 5, 2017

I experience the same thing, and the three vegetarian things that keep me full are (surprisingly)

1.) lentils,
2.) soba noodles, and
3.) bulgur wheat.

The bulgur seems to be the grain that keeps me full for the longest time. They are deceptively light and fluffy, but amazingly filling and good with pretty much any veggie. You can substitute bulgur for quinoa or brown rice most of the time.

For breakfast, this brown rice bowl with edamame is really good, especially with a soft boiled egg.

For lunch, try Dan Dan Noodles (but use soba instead of the wheat noodles).

As an aside, tonight I discovered the addictive deliciousness that is.... roasted cauliflower. YUM. Not at all filling, but delicious.
posted by onecircleaday at 9:58 PM on June 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

I just address the "always eating" issue with tasty, low-cal liquids like tea and seltzer. YMMV.
posted by R a c h e l at 8:37 AM on June 6, 2017

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