January is always a good time for a fresh start. As the name says, Meatless Monday is simply a day when you choose you don’t eat meat. Its roots go back to World War I when its purpose was to avoid shortages. It was relaunched in 2003 in attempt to improve health of people across the globe and help the planet.
1. Meatless Monday and the Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
Adding Meatless Mondays to your diet schedule will provide you with various benefits.
Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating more fruits and vegetables helps your body protect itself from cardiovascular diseases.
Lower cancer risk
A diet with less red meat and more vegetables can lower your risk of cancer.
Prevent Type 2 diabetes
A well-balanced diet is key in avoiding diabetes.
A greener diet can make it a lot easier to maintain your desired weight.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are actually cheaper compared to meat-based ones.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Food production accounts for one third of CO2 emissions and livestock as well its use of land, and supply chains account for a big part of that. Skipping on meat for at least that one day actually helps tackle climate change.
2. Meatless Monday Recipes and Ideas
Let’s begin with what you can actually eat on Meatless Mondays. Along with fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, milk, dairy, honey and nuts are also allowed. The good news is that you can turn any meat-based meal such as a burrito into a meatless one. Chickpea pot pie is super easy to make and is just as tasty. Make a sticky garlic cauliflower instead of chicken or air-fried cauliflower buffalo wings.
You can replace chicken nuggets with almond crusted baked tofu. You can make a snack of vegan nachos with cashew-based ‘cheese’ sauce. Eastern cuisine is filled with a variety of meatless options such as or Thai Vegetarian Curry, Kimchi or Tikka Masala, not to mention sushi.
You can even enjoy a vegetarian version of Mexican food with Enchilada Quinoa Stuffed Peppers as after all, their cuisine has avocados, beans and a ton of ingredients that you can eat. If you are afraid of all those exotic and unfamiliar ingredients, you can keep it simple and delicious with an easy mushroom risotto or a goat cheese and mushroom pizza. When it comes to vegetarian cuisine, you’re in for a true culinary adventure.
3. Tips for New Vegetarians
To begin with, there are many vegetarian products that imitate meat, including minced meat, chicken nuggets and burgers. The only way to see if they truly live up to their promise is to try them out and see for yourself. Becoming a vegetarian does not have to be that hard.
Make yourself comfortable
Your vegetarian diet is far more likely to stick if you’re feeling comfortable with the changes.
Chances are you already have one vegetarian meal you like such as Margherita pizza or a vegetable pasta so start form that to make the transition easier.
Don’t go all or nothing
The ‘all or nothing’ attitude can sometimes actually get in the way of making any progress at all. Make small steps by starting with just one vegetarian meal if it’s easier.
Benefit from kitchen gadgets
Useful gadgets such as the air fryer, which is a healthier way to “fry” your food, gives food a great flavor and texture. It is easier to clean and uses less energy than your oven which can benefit your Toledo Edison costs.
Beware of hidden ingredients
Did you know that some brands of Parmesan cheese contain animal rennet? There are traditional puddings which have animal suet in them and even chips that come with animal-derived flavorings. Make sure you read the label.
For a lot of people, Meatless Mondays can lead to giving up meat entirely and becoming a vegetarian but there’s no need to pressure yourself into labels.
Sometimes it can seem like a bit of a big step, and not everyone finds it easy. If you’re used to eating meat all the time, it will require a bit of a mental shift so do it at your own pace. But at the end of the day, it will be worth it as it will benefit both your health and the planet. Just go easy on yourself and take it easy.