5 Reasons for Meatless Monday

Happy Monday!  If you’ve been following TTB, you’re probably aware that every Monday I dish out a vegetarian recipe as part of the Meatless Monday movement.  Today, I’m going to share with you five reasons I go meatless:

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WEIGHT MANAGEMENT – A vegetarian diet is usually low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber.  Fiber makes you feel full, which means you’ll be less prone to overeating.  When I go through periods with lots of opportunity for volume eating (especially around holidays), a day of meatless eating helps me get back on track and reset my normal eating habits.  Also, meat packs more calories than vegetables or fruits, volume for volume.  For example, one cup of cooked kale contains 35 calories while one cup of cooked ground turkey contains 296 calories!  More food for fewer calories?  Sign me up!

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GOOD FOR YOUR BODY –  Reducing the intake of meat products even just once a week may reduce the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  Your body will thank you for it!

IT’S EASY TO DO –  Even though I’d never be able to give up meat entirely (I love a good piece of steak from time to time!) I still want to achieve the health benefits that vegetarians enjoy.  Eating meatless one day a week is an easy thing to do, and it’s a “diet” that can easily develop into a habit.  It doesn’t have to be Monday, either.  If I’m dining out with friends at a barbecue joint, I’m not going to insist on going meatless.  Just pick one day each week that works for you.

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EXPAND YOUR TASTE BUDS – Vegetarian meals can be diverse, colorful, and flavorful!  By eliminating meat, I’ve learned to become more creative when cooking with vegetables.  I recently tried adding turnip to my mashed potatoes and was surprised by how much I enjoyed the texture and flavors.

GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT – Producing meat uses a lot more natural resources – water, fossil fuel, land — than growing vegetables.  While giving up meat for just a day won’t change the world, every vegetarian meal that you have saves a bit of the environment. We have to start somewhere, right?

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Are you thinking about going meatless once a week?  I say give it a try!  For those who are vegetarians or doing Meatless Monday, what do you think is the biggest challenge?  For me, going meatless in winter is a huge obstacle.  I tend to crave hearty, meat-centric comfort dishes like chicken pot pie and beef chili, and find it really difficult to resort to lighter fares like salads and soups.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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