Before you exit the screen because you are a steak-loving gal (or guy) just stay with me for a second. I’m not saying all of April needs to be meatless. We are all about moderation here, and big changes in health can come from small changes. Like eating meatless at least once a week. (see, not every day!)
So for this month’s healthy resolution that is all there is to it. While meal planning and grocery shopping for upcoming weeks, plan in a meal that doesn’t include chicken or turkey or beef or pork. Instead, find your protein in other sources. Like beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
There are tons of reasons to go meatless – it is a healthy alternative to meat, it helps save money, and it provides variety in our diet which in turn gives our body different nutrients than we might get from a slab of meat.
Here are just a few of the health benefits of going meatless:
– Limit Your Cancer Risk: Red meat and processed meats are associated with colon cancer, and a diet higher in fruits and vegetables is associated with reducing cancer risk. Other research has linked meat consumption to prostate, pancreatic, and gastric cancers as well.
– Reduce Heart Disease: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
– Improve Your Diet: Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
– Fight Diabetes: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
– It Helps You “Go Green”: Raising cattle for beef and milk spews more greenhouse gases into the air than all of the cars currently on the road. That stat came from a 2006 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report. Eating a plant-based meal for lunch instead of a burger saves 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 133 gallons of water, and 24 square feet of land, according to the people over at the PB&J Campaign.
My husband and I enjoy beans for dinner as our protein source at least once a week – and we LOVE it! Here are a few meatless meal options to get you started.
Black Bean & Mango Quesadillas
Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos
Black Bean Burgers
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Avocado & Feta Sandwich
Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas (<–not a meal, but a yummy snack!)
Have an awesome meatless April!