Adopting more meatless meals
Health benefits, tips and other facts for introducing your family to meatless or vegetarian type meals.
March 9, 2016 - Author: Kris Swartzendruber, Michigan State University Extension and Lisa Kalbfleisch, Central Michigan University Intern
There are many known benefits of adopting more meatless or vegetarian meals into our diets, but many people do not know how to begin. Eating meatless just one day of the week, such as adapting “Meatless Mondays” into your family’s diet can have a significant impact on your overall health. Some of the known benefits of introducing more vegetarian type meals include:
- Reducing saturated fat intake
- Decreasing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease
- Lowering “bad” or LDL cholesterol
- Increasing fiber intake
- Cost-saving sources of protein
Making the switch to meatless meals can be easy and delicious for you and your family. For additional help or to get a head start, Michigan State University Extension offers nutrition programs and classes for community members to learn about adopting a healthier diet for all ages. Many individuals find it easy to create hearty meatless dishes with beans, lentils or soy-based products, such as tofu. Cooking a meatless recipe can be done easily by replacing the meat ingredient with a plant-based ingredient. Some examples are bean tacos or burritos, portabella mushroom burgers or by using tofu in a vegetable stir-fry instead of beef or chicken.
Meatless meals will not only cut down on the amount of saturated fat from your meals, but also add an excellent source of fiber that is not offered through meat-based protein sources. Fiber helps curb our appetite between meals and promotes healthy regularity in our bodies. Using plant-based protein sources can also be very cost-effective. By purchasing dried beans or lentils and preparing them as instructed can offer multiple servings for your entire family that are full of protein and other key nutrients our bodies need, such as potassium and fiber.
Introducing your family to meatless meals can offer an easy, cost-saving opportunity that provides a variety of health benefits. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website for more information or recipes to get you started.