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Tips and Recipes for Your Weekly Plant-Based Meatless Monday

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Tips and Recipes for Your Weekly Plant-Based Meatless Monday

“Meatless Monday” is a growing movement that includes its own website and plenty of informative articles, resources and recipes. The message behind Meatless Monday is to gradually move towards incorporating more plant-foods and protein sources from plants and to take the first step by going meatless one day a week. There are also environmental health benefits such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing water usage and helping reduce fossil fuel dependence.

Why Mondays you ask? Monday is a great day to restart your healthy intentions after the weekend. With a little planning and grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday, you can make this intention a reality.

Meatless Health Benefits

Going meatless one day a week can bring you closer to this vision of better health. It may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and increase longevity. Hundreds of studies support that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of cancer. There’s research that suggests replacing saturated, fat-rich foods found in high fat meat and dairy with unsaturated fats in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils may cut risk of cardiovascular disease. Data has also linked high intakes of red and processed meats with increasing risk of type 2 diabetes. Other studies have found a vegetarian or “lesser” meat diet is associated with lower body weight and slowing down long-term weight gain. Recently published research found that vegetarians experienced a longer life span than meat-eaters because of fewer deaths from heart disease.

Multiple Meatless Proteins

If you’re concerned you will not be getting enough protein, check out how much is in various meat-free protein sources (note: this list includes dairy and eggs):

  • Lentils, 1 cup cooked - 18 grams
  • Black Beans, 1 cup cooked - 15 grams
  • Edamame, 1/2 cup cooked - 15 grams
  • Greek Yogurt, 6 ounces - 14 grams
  • Meat Alternative Burger - 13 grams
  • Pinto Beans or Chickpeas, 1 cup cooked - 12 grams
  • Tofu, 4 ounces, firm - 11 grams
  • Quinoa or Peas, 1 cup cooked - 9 grams
  • Peanuts or Almonds, 1/4 cup - 8 grams
  • Peanut Butter, 2 Tbsp. - 8 grams
  • Fat-Free Milk, 1 cup - 8 grams
  • Low-Fat Cheese, 1 ounce - 8 grams
  • Soy Milk, 1 cup - 7 grams
  • Egg, 1 or Egg Whites, 2 - 7 grams

Meatless Monday Meal Planning

When you’re preparing a meatless meal, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 15 grams of protein. A quick way to create your lean vegetarian plate is to fill half with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli or yellow squash. Fill a quarter with a wholegrain or starchy vegetable, such as wholewheat pasta or corn. The final quarter of your plate includes a meat-free protein. Your calorie level will determine how many servings you need to eat. Meet with a registered dietitian to help you with your meal planning goals.

A Month of Meatless Meal Ideas

Week 1: Soup and Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups of black bean soup
  • 1 ounce Baked Tostitos Scoops
  • 2 cups mixed green salad with 2 Tbsp. light dressing
  • 1 cup of mixed berries

Week 2: Meatless Burger

  • 1 MorningStar Farms® Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger patty on a whole grain bun
  • Lettuce, tomatoes and onions
  • 1 cup of raw baby carrots and broccoli florets with 2 Tbsp. light Ranch dip
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple chucks

Week 3: Egg Scramble

  • 1 egg and 2 egg whites, scrambled
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 Mini Babybel® Light Cheese
  • 2 pieces wholewheat toast
  • 3 tomato slices
  • 1/2 cup melon balls

Week 4: Entree Salad with Edamame:

  • 3 cups of mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup steamed edamame with 1 Tbsp. sweet chile sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown rice and 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup peach slices with 2 ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt

So start this Monday with a meatless meal and one day may lead to another.

Article provided by Elana Paddock, RD, LD, CDE, Registered Dietitian of the Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department.