You don’t have to be a hard-core vegan or vegetarian to be doing something good for your health. Studies show that going meatless even just one day a week reduces risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It’s also good for the earth: meat-free days reduce your carbon footprint and save water and fossil fuel.
What is Meatless Monday?
Meatless Monday is an international campaign to encourage people not to eat on Mondays. The idea behind the campaign: going meatless once per week is good for your health and good for the planet.
Meatless Monday began in 2003, launched in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In May, 2009, Ghent, Belgium, became the first non-U.S. city to go meatless. Shortly thereafter, Paul McCartney introduced the U.K. to Meat-Free Mondays.
Meatless Monday is now active in 34 countries and growing because every nation can bring its unique culture, customs and cuisine to the table in meat free and vegetarian dishes.
If you are still on the fence, here are some tips from Diana Rice, registered dietitian of the Meatless Monday campaign. She works full-time with The Monday Campaigns to promote The Kids Cook Monday and Meatless Monday. These organizations have also recently partnered with CookingPlanit to encourage kids to start cooking.
5 Reasons to Start Meatless Monday:
1. You’ll Lower Your Weekly Calorie Intake
Designating one day a week to go meatless provides a manageable framework for reducing your overall caloric intake. Plant-based options like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains tend to be lower in fat and calories than meat, and they’re also chock-full of satiating fiber. Going Meatless Monday will allow you to confidently enjoy the occasions when you do consume meat, and you’ll likely discover some new vegetarian favorites that you can incorporate into your everyday diet.
2. You’ll Save Money
Meatless Monday helps you save on your food budget. With the high cost of meat, which require extra production costs such as feed and transportation, take advantage of inexpensive whole grains, legumes, and beans. They are definitely cheaper than processed and packaged foods. When you buy them in bulk, they can cost just pennies per meal.
3. You’ll Expand Your Eating Horizons
Meatless Monday is a wonderful way to explore and enjoy beans in international dishes such as Mexican, Greek, and Indian. Rich in protein, fiber, iron, potassium, B vitamins, and phytonutrients, beans of all types are nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive.
4. You’ll Discover the Joy of Eating Food that’s ‘In Season’
Meatless Mondays are great for summer’s bounty. Use fresh basil and juicy ripe tomatoes in pasta dishes. Many vegetables can be thrown right on the grill (with delicious results)! Try fresh corn, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash or bell peppers. You can also add fruit to the grill for a sweet side or dessert. Try peach halves, pineapples, melon, kiwi or figs with a touch of honey marinade.
5. You’ll Love it So Much, You’ll Want to Promote the Cause
With Meatless Monday, you can help introduce your die-hard meat-loving friends to plant-based dishes. Explain that it’s only once a week. Trying deliciously prepared meat-free dishes may open their eyes and palates to the exciting variety of vegetables and fruits. Plus remind them that they’ll be doing something good for their health and the health of our planet.