As mentioned in earlier posts, limiting your intake of meat is a wonderful way to start eating a more nutritional diet. Average Americans consume 8 oz. of meat a day, which is 45% higher than the amount recommended by the USDA. In general, eating less meat can help you reduce your risk of PREVENTABLE diseases such as, cancer, cardiovascular disease, as well as obesity which often leads to diabetes. If you are not ready to go vegetarian completely, Meatless Mondays is a great place to start incorporating more plant based foods into your diet. Meatless Mondays is an international movement aiming to help people reduce their meat consumption by 15% in order to improve their personal health, but to also improve the health of the planet. From the environmental perspective, production of meat-based diets requires 3 times the water, 13 times the fertilizer, and 1.5 times the .pesticide than production of vegetarian diets. Additionally, the land required to produce meat protein is 10 times that required for producing plant protein.
Starting the week off meatless also allows you to start the week focusing on your health. Why Monday? According to, the Monday campaigns, It’s the January of the week, the perfect time for a fresh start. People are more likely to begin exercising, start a diet or quit smoking on Monday than any other day. It’s a call to action built into every calendar – 52 chances a year to live a longer, healthier life! Visit the Meatless Monday website, to sign the Meatless Monday pledge and access additional recipes and resources. I don’t expect everyone will become a vegetarian & personally I enjoy meat, but committing to one day a week of not eating meat is a realistic way to start making better nutritional choices for you and your family.
If you would like to figure out how much protein is recommended for you to have a day, multiply your weight ( in pounds) by .36 grams, the answer will be the amount of protein (in grams) you require each day. Plant sources of protein that provide 4-6 grams of protein include, cooked beans, peas, or lentils ( 1/2 cup), tofu or tempeh ( 1/2 cup), nut butter ( 2 Tbsp.), nuts (1/4 cup), tahini (2 tbsp. ), or meat analogue (soy, 1 oz.).
Suggestions for Planning Vegetarian Meals:
- Choose a variety of foods, including whole grains, veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and if desired, eggs, and/or dairy products.
- Minimize intake of processed foods that are high in refined sugar, white flour and fat.
- Eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies.
- Use dairy and eggs in moderation.
Questions? Have you already gone meatless? Leave a comment!