Healthy Living

What is Meatless Monday?

What is Meatless Monday?

As you know if you follow this blog, we view healthy living through the lens of food. It all starts there for us. So, it makes sense that, being green parents and foodies, this is the kind of topic that would pop up around Modern Kids Design.  You may have heard of “Meatless Mondays” and wondered what it's about. Well, we were curious, looked into it, and set it as our intention to try it out for a month. Here is what we found after digging deeper. The goal is two-fold. While Meatless Monday is about reducing how much meat we eat, the goal focus is on the environment AND our health. If you’re thinking about eating healthier, consider trying a Meatless Monday or sprinkling some meat-free meals throughout your meal plan.

Why Meatless?

Cows grazing in a field may be a lovely pastoral sight, however, they have a large impact on our environment. The way livestock is bred contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution. Current estimates say that animal agriculture may be responsible for up to 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, in addition to the animal waste that may make its way into surrounding streams and the water cycle, fertilizers and pesticides used to cultivate the grain for livestock feed also runs off into local water systems. Add to this the sheer amount of water and grain it takes to produce saleable meat, and the impact of burgers for dinner can become a little more alarming. Proponents of Meatless Mondays believe that by reducing meat consumption, we can curb some of the negative consequences animal agriculture has on the environment.

In addition to the Earth-friendly benefits, eating less meat may be better for your body as well. Red meat is linked with increased rates of some cancers and diets heavy in animal protein have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes.

Whether you’re just interested in adding different foods to your diet or you want to curb your meat habit to reduce your carbon footprint, we have some yummy protein rich alternatives for you to incorporate into your next meal.

Popular Meat Alternatives

There are other ways to get your protein than from a nice chicken breast or steak. Consider adding some of these to your next dish.

Eggs: not just for breakfast! Eggs have been spotted in salads, in sandwiches, and even on rice. A frittata, quiche, or omelet can make a great meat-free dinner.

Freekeh: A whole grain, freekeh has grown in popularity, thanks in part to its protein content. Freekeh can be used in soups, salads, casseroles, and more!

Nuts and nut butters: Nuts can provide a protein boost to your next salad while a nut butter can enhance your smoothie or sandwich!

Legumes: Beans, peas, and hummus (made from garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas) can all boost the protein content of your meal, plus they’re versatile. Beans can be used to fashion burgers, can be a standalone dish, or can be added to another dish.

Quinoa: This seed is popular thanks to how much protein it has! Quinoa salad with some cranberries and mandarin oranges would make a refreshing lunch or light dinner this summer.

Tempeh and Tofu: Tempeh and tofu are both soy products. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, while tofu is made from curdled soy milk. Both can be incorporated into a variety of dishes from stir fries to soups and salads.

Edamame: Soy beans can be a fun snack or side and they pack a protein punch!

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are popular in granola and granola bars. They can also be added to your yogurt or smoothies.

Seitan: Often used a chicken substitute, seitan is made from wheat gluten so be aware of any sensitivities. It can easily be stirfried into your next dish.

Meatless Recipes For Your Grill

If you’re ready to add some meatless meals to your menu this week, here are some interesting options for your grill:

Cajun Grilled Tofu

Cheesy Portabello Burgers

Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers

Grilled Portabello Steaks

Spicy Jerk Vegetables With Yogurt Scallion Sauce

Also be sure to check out our book Foodies - Your Guide to Healthy Living! It is a beautiful coffee table style book with lovely pictures and well over 50 recipes. It comes as a bundle which includes iBooks and Kindle versions.  While this is definitely a book for omnivores, there are quite a few great vegetarian recipes to enjoy! And, did we mention it is part of one of our fundraising campaigns? Check it out :-)

What do you think of the Meatless Monday revolution? Let us know at healthyliving@modernkidsdesign.com. We love hearing what you think  and, of course, we love your suggestions. If you are curious about the picture this week, we took it as inspiration for a DIY Vitamin-infused water beverage :-) As always, thanks for reading!