Have you ever considered going meatless as a way to improve your health? I’m not suggesting a full-fledged vegan lifestyle. I’m talking about taking meat off the dinner table one night a week – Mondays for example. There are many health benefits associated with substituting plants for animal products.

According to the Meatless Campaign, going meatless once a week can have the following health benefits:

  1. LIMIT CANCER RISK. Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
  1. REDUCE HEART DISEASE. Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, olive oil, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19 %.
  1. FIGHT DIABETES. Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  1. CURB OBESITY. Epidemiologic studies indicate that vegetarian diets are associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and a lower prevalence of obesity in adults and children.
  1. INCREASE LIFE EXPECTANCY. Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality.
  1. IMPROVE DIET QUALITY. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intake of saturated fat and total fat.
  1. SAVE MONEY. Meatless meals are built around beans, lentils, vegetables and whole grains. These plant-based proteins tend to be less expensive and offer more health benefits than meat.

This is (by far) the best veggie burger I’ve ever had.  The taste is superb, and the texture is just perfect.


Here are some other ideas for Meatless Monday plant-based meals –

  • Tacos or burritos filled with beans, textured vegetable protein, or tofu rather than meat
  • Salad topped with beans in place of chicken or beef
  • Pizza with or without cheese and topped with vegetables, tofu or soy crumbles
  • Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce plus vegetables including mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and onions
  • Breakfast for dinner – oatmeal with fruit and walnuts, whole grain cereal with soymilk (or low-fat milk), or whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana
  • Chili with beans, textured vegetable protein and (soy or rice) cheese
  • Vegetable burger with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole on whole-grain bun

Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD

If it’s finally time to start eating healthier, check out Nourished.Healthy.Happy.  Join our group and receive healthy eating tips, delicious recipes, and daily support to live your best life.  Everyone is welcome!

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