People become vegetarians for all sorts of reasons, whether it's a love for animals, a general interest in eating healthier or a desire to help the environment. The American Dietetic Association says that, compared to meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans overall have lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure and are less likely to die of heart disease and cancer. They also live six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.
But there's another benefit of vegetarianism. Your bank account will also get a little healthier if you stop buying meat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fresh fruit costs 71 cents per pound, and fresh vegetables are 64 cents a pound. Compare that to an average of $4.15 for a pound of beef and $2.93 for a pound of pork, and it's easy to see how going meatless could save you a fair amount of cash. Things start getting pricey -- and sodium-heavy-- for vegetarians when they rely too much on prepackaged meat substitutes, so it's best to stick to the basics when cooking vegetarian.
So, with both your health and your wallet in mind, here are five cheap, healthy (and easy!) vegetarian meals to get you started. We promise you won't miss the meat.