Meatless Monday is a movement “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet”. This movement has been gaining momentum with supporters ranging from large scale hospitals to Mario Batali.
Eating less meat, or animal products, may help to reduce your risk of obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Also, by eating less meat, you would replace it with plant proteins that are low in cholesterol and fat (especially saturated fat) while high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that animal products may not have.
From a weight standpoint, research does show that individuals that reduce meat consumption have lower body weights and body mass indices than those who eat more meat. Some may worry about not getting enough protein, but most Americans get more than double the amount of protein than they actually need. And while I do feel protein is important and should be included at each meal or snack, it doesn’t always have to be meat. Looking at the plate (1/2 fruits and vegetables, 1/4 whole grain and 1/4 lean protein) the protein could be beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, eggs and soy products. Some examples would be:
- Stir fry with lots of veggies, brown rice and edamame (soy beans)
- Lentil soup
- Large salad with cottage cheese and whole wheat pita
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich
- Egg salad sandwich
From an environmental standpoint, it can help reduce the carbon footprint in production and transportation. Just reducing meat once a week can make a huge impact if done consistently. Click Here for a great article with more information.
I am not pushing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, unless of course that is something you think would suit you. I do, however, think we have become too dependent on meat and am pushing for a better balance between animal products and plant products. So what do you say? Will you join the Meatless Monday Movement?
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD