As a women who grew up with every meal having meat, it was hard for me to not eat meat with my meals. It wasn't until I went to school to become a Holistic Health Coach and started experimenting with different foods did I understand that it is ok not to have meat with every meal. As people we develop the habits and traditions that were taught to us and we teach our kids as well. In those habits and traditions food plays a part. The foods that we learned growing up, are good but not necessarily healthy for us. Going Meatless on Mondays are a great way for you and your family to get creative and try new ideas and recipes for your meals if you are used to eating meat everyday. What is Meatless Monday you ask? It is a movement to help people reduce their meat consumption by 15% to improve personal health and the health of the planet.
Why meatless you ask? Research has shown that reducing meat intake may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. The occasional meatless meal can also help cut your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
What is so special about Monday? Multiple studies have shown that periodic health prompts lead to positive behavior change. Monday is the beginning of the work & school week, making it the perfect time to reevaluate our choices and set our intentions for the coming days. With a Meatless Monday, you have a scheduled, recurring reminder to start your week off on a nutritious note. And if this Monday passes you by, next week is another opportunity to focus on health!
Here’s an idea to freshen up your summertime grilling menu: Instead of the typical meat-focused BBQ fare, why not cook up some grilled veggies instead? Vegetables are amazing on the grill, plus meatless grilling is an easy way to add vitamin-packed, healthy seasonal produce to your diet, which can help reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases.
So get grilling and take a break from meat with these 10 easy summer grilling tips:
1. Many vegetables can be thrown right on the grill with just a light brushing of olive oil (with delicious results)! Fresh corn, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash, bell peppers and jalapenos are just a few to try.
2. Kabobs are a BBQ staple that make the perfect meatless entree. Add tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted potatoes or just about any other vegetable that strikes your fancy.
3. Grilled fruit is amazing too. For a sweet side dish or dessert, try peach halves, pineapples, plums, melon, kiwi, bananas, pears or figs with a touch of honey marinade.
4. Swap a hamburger for a portobello mushroom burger or grilled eggplant slices. Put the BBQ’d veggies on a bun and add your favorite toppings, like avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers or an olive spread.
5. Try a veggie burger recipe that celebrates hearty ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa and chickpeas. You can also find healthy pre-made patties at supermarkets and natural food stores.
6. Make a delicious, smoky pizza pie right on the grill — all you need is pizza dough, sauce and your favorite vegetables thinly sliced or pre-grilled.
7. Use your favorite marinade recipe to add flavor to extra firm tofu cubes. Grill them up and add them to a salad, serve them with veggies or enjoy them on their own.
8. Add grilled vegetables to a filling summer salad. Garnish fresh lettuces with a bit of fruit, feta cheese and olive oil to complete the dish; or think beyond lettuce and whip up a bean or grain salad.
9. Consider your sides when planning a meatless BBQ. Pasta salads, raw vegetables and hummus dip are great ways to turn your plant-based dishes into a full meal.
10. End the meal on a healthy note with a tray of fresh fruit, a parfait or homemade smoothies.