As the year comes to an end, consider adding one more resolution to your list: Meatless Monday.
I know many of you may be thinking that dinner is not dinner without meat, or that you won’t know what to cook (more on that later), but I hope you will see that the benefits of going a day without meat far outweigh any inconveniences.
By cutting out meat just one day a week you will:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes. Basically, less meat = better health. If you want to learn more about the health benefits of choosing veggies over steak check out this article by ABC News, in conjunctuon with Health.com. Or, if you’re more of a visual learner, I highly recommend the documentary What the Health on Netflix!
- Help the environment. By cutting down on your meat consumption, you will also be reducing greenhouse gases and your water use. According to EarthDay.org, “If you eat one less burger a week, it would be the equivalent to taking your car off the road for 320 miles.” So, by skipping meat you can feel less guilty about driving to the CVS around the block when you could have walked.
- Minimize your grocery bill. Of course, this depends on what you replace meat with. You won’t see a significant difference if you choose to go out to eat every Monday or if you replace it with fake meat.
- Save animals. If the demand for meat lowers, less animals will need to die for our food.
OK, so maybe you’re sold on cutting down on meat, but you’re still worried about what to eat instead. Thankfully there are tons of recipes online. If you’re in the mood for a specific dish, a quick Google search can tell you how to make it vegan/vegetarian. Another useful resource for recipes is YouTube; I find that the recipes tend to be much more user-friendly than what you would find elsewhere. I recommend watching some of Caitlin Shoemaker’s videos. She has a playlist of 74 vegan recipe videos – some of which are so easy that they can be made in a dorm room!
However, if you’re not up for searching, I have a few meal ideas to share with you here. I have to warn you – I hate cooking, so these are very simple recipes and they may not satisfy the hard-to-please!
- Taco Night! If you usually do Taco Tuesday, switch it to Monday and take out the meat. This is my favorite thing to make and eat because it’s cheap, but still so filling and delicious! Here’s what I usually have:
- Corn and Wheat Tortillas from Trader Joe’s
- Black beans (canned)
- Pico de Gallo (also from Trader Joe’s, but if I don’t want to spend the $$ I just chop up some tomatoes #broke)
- White rice
- *If you find you’re really missing beef on taco night, I recommend Trader Joe’s Beef-less Crumbles. The crumbles do look a bit unappetizing at first, but once they’re cooked they taste great!
- *The taco kits that you can buy in the supermarket come with taco shells and seasoning (all completely vegan). Just add the seasoning to the beans or the beef-less crumble and you’re halfway there!
- Fake Meat. I go through phases with fake meat. I either don’t touch it for years or I eat it once a week. Lately, it’s been the latter and I have been really into all of Gardien’s products, which can be found in most grocery stores. Specifically, I really like their Crispy Tenders and their Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n. Cook any of these fake meats, then add some rice and veggies and you have a quick + easy meatless meal!
- Pasta. This is my go-to meal when I’m feeling lazy. It requires a long list of ingredients, so get ready! You will need:
- Pasta (I try to buy a “healthier” pasta when I can, like gluten free or brown rice pasta)
- Jarred sauce (be sure to check that there’s no meat in it)
- A fresh baguette so that you don’t feel too lame.
- Vegan Parmesan cheese (or regular if you’re not trying to cut out dairy).
- Stir fry. Start with a base of rice and a protein (beans, tofu, or my personal favorite -seitan) and then go where you want with it! Add in some veggies and then add any kind of flavor, like soy sauce or an Indian simmer sauce (I love the goan coconut one that I discovered from Thrive Market).
- Pizza. If you’re okay with dairy, you can order pizza from your local pizza place and as long as you skip pepperoni or sausage it’s meatless! So easy, right? However, if you want to save some money and opt for the dairy-free option, here’s what you’ll need:
- Pizza crust (Almost all grocery stores carry pizza crusts, but I prefer the ones from Trader Joe’s.)
- Jarred sauce (Don’t forget to check the label for milk or meat.)
- Vegan cheese (There’s a bunch of different kinds, but my favorite is Daiya cheese, which can be found at Whole Food’s.)
- Fresh basil (If you want to mix things up and get a little fancy.)
I hope this helps! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need help with your resolution or if you have questions about something written here.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!
For more information on Meatless Monday, visit Meatlessmonday.com