Meatless Mondays have become a popular event for shoppers of health food stores. Even those who consume a standard American diet choose to take this path for a number of reasons. In fact, some stores even offer discounts on Meatless Monday just to help promote the cause.
Health Benefits of Adopting a Meatless Monday Lifestyle
Cutting out meat, even if it's just once a week, can dramatically decrease your risk of heart disease by up to 19% according to a Harvard University study. The consumption of red and other processed meats have been shown in scientific studies to increase the risk of diabetes. Cutting back on the consumption of these meats can reduce this risk, and can also help to curb obesity. Some studies have associated eating meat to the number of colon cancer incidents as well.
In addition to the health benefits you gain from going meatless from time to time, there are numerous benefits for the earth, including the reduction of fossil fuel and water that's used to raise livestock for food.
Going Meatless Isn't Enough
Cutting out meat alone won't offer any substantial health benefits. What you replace the meat with is just as important. Nuts, seeds and beans along with an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables will provide a well balanced meal plan on the days you go meatless. Not to mention, those added greens and citrus fruits will pack a big punch to your immune system and overall health.
Meal Ideas for Meatless Mondays
There are tons of ways you can incorporate alternatives to meat in your meal plans. One way is to use healthy meat replacement products you'll find in the health food section of your local grocery store. Look for veggie burgers, hot dogs and even sausages that do not use any artificial flavors or additives. Choose a product that is made of organic ingredients whenever possible.
Try a veggie chili either from a can, or make your favorite recipe at home replacing the meat you'd normally use with a mock ground meat product, or some cooked lentils. Of course, you can make it easy on yourself and simply use extra beans in place of the meat.
There are plenty of meals you can create that don't require the substitution of meat. Spaghetti with a pesto or marinara sauce is tasty served with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and topped with fresh basil. Consider stuffing mushrooms or bell peppers with roasted corn, brown rice, cheddar cheese, and olives for a south of the border indulgence.
For breakfast, cereal or oatmeal with fresh fruit are great options. Pancakes, omelets and even quiche are also good choices. Lunch can be made filling with a huge salad topped with nuts, fresh veggies, croutons and your favorite dressing paired with an avocado or egg salad sandwich on the side. You can even find meatless frozen meals, such as Amy's burritos and pizzas, at the grocery store.