Benefits of Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday is more than just a catchy slogan and an excuse to make a quick pasta for dinner. Cutting meat from your diet can have a positive impact on the environment—and it may be much easier than you think. While the slow-smoked ribs that you dream about each night may taste really good, it’s worth considering the relationship between your meals and how the food on your plate is produced. The average vegetarian meal can save up to 133 gallons of water; at a rate of three meals, once a week, that number adds up to 20,748 gallons of water saved per year. One day of plant-forward eating also can reduce your carbon footprint by eight pounds.
Incorporating Meatless Mondays Into Your Life
Whether you’re making dinner at home or eating out with your friends and family, dishes without meat are more cost efficient than a steak, burger, or salmon meal. Instead of making an elaborate meal, you can choose a vegetarian option that can cut your time in the kitchen in half. When you’re out at a restaurant, more likely than not, there are several dishes on the menu that are vegetarian and cheaper. With an increasing number of customers that are vegetarian, vegan, or just prefer to not eat meat that they didn’t make, more restaurants are incorporating a whole section of options that you can choose from. Eating meatless meals don’t have to occur on Mondays or even for a full day, but it has been proven to be a financial and environmental addition to your everyday life.
Letting Alternatives Shine
From the Beyond Burger to Tofurky, there are plenty of substitutes on the market that have been made to look and taste like your carnivorous favorites. While these alternatives are more eco-friendly options, they can be quite expensive, especially for full-time students. Meatless Monday is a great opportunity to focus on more traditional vegetarian and vegan staples in their purest forms. Appreciating the flavors and textures of beans, tofu, tempeh, and seitan in dishes (and not trying to trick yourself into thinking your air-fried tofu is a chicken nugget) gives these ingredients their deserved opportunity to shine. Get creative with your spices and herbs, and really take the time to layer flavors as you would with a dish centering meat. As an added bonus, these alternatives are much kinder to your wallet than than most meat products.
Where to Start
If you’re unsure of where to start, look to our Mucho Gusto recipes for some inspiration! Combine Meatless Mondays and Pizza Fridays with these amazing pizza recipes, most of which are meatless. For the colder months, there are some delectable recipes for soups and pasta. Some highlights include a recipe for Veggie Bolognese and another for Sweet Potato Chili.While these are a good starting point, try to step out of your comfort zone and sample some new dishes with meat alternatives or try a new restaurant that features vegetarian and vegan options. A fully vegan restaurant that paved the way for popularity in the meat alternatives business is byChloe., recently rebranded as Beatnic. Take time to explore and slowly incorporate some of these amazing vegetarian dishes into your everyday life.
Meatless Monday is inclusive; you can do as much or as little as you want. This may mean going entirely plant-based and eating a vegan diet once a week. It could mean that you cut out beef, pork, and poultry and instead opt for fish. There is no right or wrong way to limit your meat consumption, so experiment with a few different options to find what best works for you. Regardless of how meatless your Monday really is, making a small effort yields serious benefits.