A new movement has surfaced encouraging consumers to forgo the meat one day each week. Why? Simply put, in America we are eating too much meat, more then what is healthy for our bodies. Meatless Monday, an initiative started in association with Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Syracuse University, encourages people to go meatless for one day each week — Monday — aiming to reduce meat consumption by 15%. Their goal? Better health through reduced meat consumption in an easily-implementable way, by encouraging consumers to change their diets only one day each week.
While nutrition experts agree that a balanced diet is important, eating more servings of meat than are recommended — which many of us do — is associated with numerous health problems from high cholesterol to diabetes risk, even alzheimers.
Celebrities, cities, schools, and even restaurants have joined the effort. Celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Katie Lee, and music exec Simon Cowell have gone meatless one day each week. The city of San Francisco and schools across the country from Kentucky to East Hampton, New York support the movement too. And the list keeps growing!
Ready to give it a try? Here’s what you can do:
- Change what’s on your plate. Research has shown that adding more veggies not only increases your vegetable consumption (that’s a no-brainer!), but when used as a meat or grain replacement will leave you just as satisfied. And replacing servings of meat with complex carbohydrates has been linked to lower cholesterol.
- Be sure to keep it balanced. A vegetarian diet has been liked to lower BMI, less heart disease and diabetes risk, and even lower occurrences of cancer. But when you’re going meatless, take care to include plenty of important vitamins and minerals, including B-12 (found in dairy, eggs, fortified cereals and nutritional yeast), Iron (beans and lentils), and Zinc (whole grains, nuts, and seeds).
- Choose enticing recipes. Meatless does not have to be boring! There are a number of sources for vegetarian recipes that are so delicious you won’t miss the meat! Recipes like stir-frys loaded with vegetables, variations on traditional pizza recipes, and many, many more will keep your Monday menu varied, healthy, and exciting.