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Meatless Monday is an opportunity for us to recognize that our eating impacts the environment and our health.
The Meatless Monday movement is about eating less meat and adding variety to our meals. Plant foods such as beans, legumes, and whole grains are nutrient dense and delicious!
Going meatless once or twice a week can boost our health and help our planet. Raising and preparing livestock for human consumption relates to higher water utilization, green house gas emissions, and fossil fuel expenditure than plant foods. In addition to helping our environment, consuming more plant foods can translate to reduced grocery costs and meals with more nutrients.
Beans and legumes are great sources of protein but also provide healthy carbohydrates, fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and are cholesterol and saturated fat free unlike meat. Whole grains also contribute complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Here are ideas for how you can incorporate these foods for more variety while maximizing flavor, texture, and the low-cost benefits of meatless meals:
- Prepare whole grains like oats, buckwheat, hominy, brown rice, bulgur, and millet with your favorite vegetables and spices for savory dishes like this Hearty Bean and Millet Soup (http://www.meatlessmonday.com/recipes/hearty-white-bean-millet-soup/)
- Whole grains are great with fruit, dairy/dairy alternatives, and healthy fats for breakfast like this Make-Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal (http://ohsheglows.com/2011/09/20/make-ahead-steel-cut-oatmeal-4-new-oatmeal-recipes/)
- Replace meat, poultry, pork, and fish in your favorite recipes with any type of bean or legume like these Chickpea Tacos (http://www.meatlessmonday.com/recipes/chickpea-tacos/)
- Add bean based spreads to 100% whole grain breads like this Chickpea & Avocado Sandwich (http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/smashed-chickpea-avocado-salad-sandwich/)
Visit the Meatless Monday website (link: http://www.meatlessmonday.com) to learn more about the Meatless Monday movement and find exciting recipes to add variety to your meals!
By Emiyann Kinlaw, Bastyr University, 2017 Bastyr Dietetic Intern