Reducing Your Meat Consumption

Today I have a real treat – I have a guest blogger!!! I love it – This post comes from nutrition consultant Karen Gilman – all about reducing your meat consumption (which is healthy and also environmentally friendly)

Take it away Karen (not me Karen, her Karen – confused yet?)

Guest blogger Karen Gilman on reducing your meat consumption:

Have you ever considered reducing the amount of meat you eat and substituting protein-rich legumes such as beans and lentils? These plant-based foods may not be top of mind when you think about protein, but they are excellent sources of this essential nutrient, and contain less fat and fewer calories.

So, why should you consider eating less meat? :

Vegetarian proteins may reduce your risk of heart disease by helping you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and lowering your blood pressure. In addition, studies have shown that plant-based foods may cut your risk for Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and their high-fibre content helps keep you regular – a plus for both digestive and general health.

Eliminating meat just one a day a week from your diet offers more than just health benefits: it’s good for the environment, and meatless meals usually cost less.

However, eating less animal protein shouldn’t mean switching to store-bought highly processed faux meat like veggie burgers and veggie dogs, which are loaded with salt and hard-to-pronounce ingredients.  

Here are 3 tips on how to reduce your meat intake:

  • Choose 1 day a week to eat completely meatless. Consider joining the Meatless Monday movement and eliminate meat completely on Mondays.  Instead of adding chicken to your lunch-time salad add a cup of chickpeas or instead of making a beef stir fry for dinner use tofu.
  • Have beans and lentils in the house. They can be canned or dry – though canned will make life a little easier. Beans are nutritional powerhouses. They are high in protein and fiber, and depending on the variety, are a good source of iron, calcium and B vitamins.  They are a good way to make a meal a little heartier.

Add beans to soups, salads, stews or chili. Make black bean tacos instead of chicken tacos or have lentil Sloppy Joes instead of ground beef Sloppy Joes.

  • Make grains and vegetables the focus of your meals. Prepare a quinoa pilaf with loads of veggies, curry paste and coconut milk. Cook up some rice with spinach, fresh tomatoes and feta cheese.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to meatless meals. Experiment with different beans and grains until you find what you like.

Here are a few easy recipes to help you out:

About Karen Gilman:

Karen Gilman is a Certified Holistic Nutritional ConsultantTM and mom to two teenage (yikes!) girls, one vegetarian, one not. For Karen, preparing vegetarian meals for the past 30 years coupled with the Diploma in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, has provided her with the insight and tools to provide help to families whose children are vegetarian.

If you have a vegetarian in your household you can check out her website or grab a copy of her FREE e-book Vegetarian Teen Basics For Busy Parents here